Water and Climate Program
Products and Services Briefing Book
Western Governors Drought Council
Droughts are a natural part of shaping the landscape in the West. In
order to cope with the activities associated with droughts, the Western
State Governors met to develop a joint approach to the future management
of drought impacts.. In February 1997, numerous state and federal agencies
signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to formally establish a more
comprehensive, integrated response to drought emergencies and
cooperatively plan for future droughts. The United States Department of
Agriculture was designated as the lead agency for the Monitoring,
Assessment, and Prediction Working Group.
The MOU has established a Western Drought Coordination Council to
implement a program of action. To date, a work plan for the Council has
been developed, a Steering Body has been formed and four Working Groups
established. The Council is Co-Chaired by the Governor of New Mexico and
the Secretary of Agriculture. The Work Group Co-Chair selections were
limited to those agencies (State, Federal, Tribal) that signed the
original MOU. One Co-Chair is from the State and the other from the
Federal side. The four working groups and charge are:
- Preparedness and Mitigation Working Group: will
review and analyze existing drought plans, inventory and assess
mitigation options, identify a model to conduct vulnerability
assessments, develop an information clearinghouse, and conduct drought
- The Monitoring, Assessment and Prediction Working Group:
will develop a drought monitoring system that provides timely
recognition of drought, and a quarterly report assessing and
predicting potential drought areas is to be delivered to the WGDC.
- The Response Working Group: will concentrate on
enhancing response capability of states, promoting regional drought
response mutual aid, strengthening intergovernmental response
partnerships, and improving overall drought response management.
- The Communications Working Group: will prepare a
communications strategy, a drought-related program and organizational
directory, and develop a generic drought media briefing package. The
Monitoring, Assessment, and Prediction Working Group is Co-Chaired by
a representative from the National Water and Climate Center (NWCC).
The NWCC plans an active role in all areas of this working groups'
mission. Numerous NWCC products will be made available to meet the
needs of the WGDC. Many of the monitoring and assessment products
needed by the WGDC will come directly from the NWCC functional areas
of assessing snow pack conditions, surface water supply indexes (SWSI),
and forecasting seasonal volume flows.
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