U.S. Drought Portal



California Drought Forum

Making Decisions in Dry Times:
Science and Strategies for Dealing with Drought


May 15-16, 2014

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, 2001 Point West Way, Sacramento, CA

This event is free of charge and open to the public. Register HERE

This forum will provide information on drought conditions, forecasts, and other drought-related science, bringing together stakeholders from public and private sectors to understand the extent of recent and current drought impacts, to discuss drought information uses and needs for decision-making, and to learn from efforts underway to strengthen long-term preparedness and resilience.

By bringing together a range of California stakeholders, we hope to promote discussion that will result in recommendations to further improve the state’s drought readiness. We hope that participants will take away actionable information to help them through the current and future droughts.


  • Provide information on current and forecasted drought conditions, and the extent of drought impacts in agriculture, water resources, recreation, wildfire management, and other sectors.
  • Explore key elements of drought planning and response, and develop recommendations for building on existing private, local, state, tribal, and federal drought monitoring and forecasting.
  • Identify the partnerships and support, ongoing and needed, to ensure coordination and integration across public and private sectors for improving drought preparedness and response.
  • Consider the role and improvement of present capabilities, including NIDIS and the Drought Monitor, to develop relevant information and mechanisms for delivering and using drought information in California.

Sponsors: National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) and California partners

For a draft of the agenda, click here.


Welcome to the newly reauthorized National Integrated Drought Information System!


Drought is one of the most costly natural disasters affecting the U.S. Since 2006, NIDIS has promoted collaboration among government agencies regarding information about drought, and worked to provide the nation with a drought early warning system. On Thursday, March 6, 2014, President Obama signed into law the bipartisan legislation reauthorizing NIDIS through 2018.

NIDIS continues to pursue its goals of:

  • Leadership and networking for drought monitoring and forecasting
  • Research on risk assessment, forecasting, and management
  • Creating “early warning systems” for drought
  • Developing interactive systems to support these goals
  • Providing educational resources about droughts

Here on drought.gov, you will find a clearinghouse of drought-related materials including maps, tools, and information to help prepare for and mitigate the effects of drought.


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Just how bad is the drought? New tool lets you compare present and past


The National Drought Mitigation Center’s Drought Risk Atlas is a web-based tool that provides visualizations of historic drought data for specific locations. Users can find the station closest to their area of interest or a cluster of stations with similar precipitation attributes. The stations with the longest and most complete records, a minimum of 40 years, were used to compute drought indices.

Why a drought atlas? Every time there is a drought, people ask, “How does this drought compare … ?” and the comparisons are usually to the last drought, the drought of record for an area, or a significant historical drought that may even be from a different area. The answers to their questions, up to this point, have not been readily available for precise geographic locations.

Developers of the drought atlas recognize that not every drought index is ideal for every location. By providing several different indices with multiple time steps, the Drought Risk Atlas gives users a vast menu of options. They can decide which indicators and time steps are ideal for their location. Understanding drought history helps put current droughts and drought risk into perspective.

Explore the Drought Risk Atlas here.


Photo credit: Andrew Williams

Nov 15, 2013 - As part of the President’s Climate Action Plan, the Administration is launching a National Drought Resilience Partnership (the Partnership). The Partnership will make it easier for communities to access the drought assistance they need by promoting strong partnership and information sharing at all levels of government. It will also build on existing efforts to provide States, Tribes and local communities risk-informed decision making tools for drought preparedness planning. The Partnership aims to align Federal drought polices across the government and help communities manage the impact of drought by linking information (monitoring, forecasts, outlooks, and early warnings) with drought preparedness and long-term resilience strategies in critical sectors such as agriculture, municipal water systems, energy, recreation, tourism and transportation.




New report documents changes in Navajo Nation lands, offers hope for resilience


Considerations for Climate Change and Variability Adaption on the Navajo Nation reportIn the Southwest, the decade of 2001-10 has been warmer than any of the previous 10 decades of the 20th century, with greater temperature increases during spring and summer, decreases in number of cold waves, and increases in number of heat waves.Since 1994, there has been an overall drought coupled with brief periods of wetness. During the past 2,000 years, there have been droughts more severe and longer than droughts in modern times. It is possible that the relative wetness of the previous century could have been an anomaly.

Rising temperatures, prolonged drought, increases in extreme weather events, and ecosystem changes have the potential to significantly alter the 27,000 square miles of Navajo Nation reservation lands. More than 170,000 people live in this arid region about the size of West Virginia.

The new report Considerations for Climate Change and Variability Adaptation on the Navajo Nation provides foundational information for planning for anticipated and proven challenges from climatic shifts on the Navajo Reservation. The report highlights potential and actual climate changes occurring in the Southwest and Four Corners region and presents an example of an adaptation planning and implementation process, applicable to any group facing disruption.


Read the report here. (pdf)



Local Drought Snapshot