From the preceding
findings, we drew the following conclusions:
United States would benefit from development of national drought
policy with preparedness as its core.
measures, particularly comprehensive drought planning and
proactive mitigation measures, can lessen the impact of drought on
individuals, communities, and the environment. They can also
reduce the need for future emergency financial and other relief.
drought plans should have clearly identified objectives and
performance standards and a clear exposition of the vulnerability
of a region to drought, given current and expected water resources
infrastructure and water uses. They should be flexible to avoid a
"one size fits all" approach and allow for social,
cultural, and religious differences. For both urban and rural
communities, they should consider the location of alternate or
supplemental sources of water, how this water can be conveyed to
the point of need, and whether additional treatment is needed.
They should also be based on cost and performance.
plans should evaluate drought programs to determine whether they
identify and address priority environmental impacts and improve
proactive mitigation of drought’s impacts on the environment
through training, incentives, technical assistance, research, and
public education. Effective plans should consider the allocation
of water to meet the need to protect the environment and to meet
immediate human needs.
people and entities that are likely to receive the greatest share
of federal emergency assistance because of drought often have the
fewest personnel, information, and financial resources to prepare
for and reduce the potential impacts of drought.
businesses, local/county/state governments, tribes, and
nongovernmental organizations with an interest in or
responsibilities for drought management would benefit from
training and technical assistance to plan for and reduce the
impacts of drought.
are a number of success stories in drought preparedness and
proactive mitigation at the individual, local, state, regional,
and federal levels that would make excellent models for use in
training and technical assistance. Among those cited in this
report are the nonprofit TreePeople’s "Second Nature"
program in Los Angeles, the Metropolitan Water District of
Southern California’s "Integrated Resource" and
"Water Surplus and Demand Management" plans, Kentucky’s
drought management plan, the Georgia Water Management Campaign,
the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Drought Program, the Army Corps
of Engineers’ simulated drought exercises, and the small
watersheds assistance offered by the U.S. Department of
among nonfederal governments, the federal government, and private
interests can go far in developing the tools and strategies for
formulating and carrying out appropriate drought preparedness
mitigation activities such as water conservation, science-based
forest management, reuse of wastewater, desalination, pricing
strategies, and the identification of back-up water supplies—when
initiated before an emergency—can reduce vulnerability to
some parts of the country, there is insufficient area coverage or
recorded history for stream gage and climate data.
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