U.S. Drought Portal



U.S. Drought Portal

The National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) grew out of a number of activities.  The National Drought Policy Act of 1998 gave rise to a National Drought Policy Commission which ensured collaboration between government agencies on drought related issues.  The Commission’s groundbreaking report, Preparing for Drought in the 21st Century laid the groundwork for drought early warning in the U.S. through a series of recommendations to Congress.   Following the Commission’s recommendations, NIDIS was envisioned in a 2004 report from the Western Governors’ Association.  The NIDIS Act was signed into law in 2006.  The NIDIS Act was reauthorized in 2014

Implementing NIDIS

The NIDIS Implementation team has conducted workshops and meetings with federal, state and local agencies, academic researchers, and other stakeholders. A national conference was sponsored by the Geological Society of America (GSA) and twenty other scientific and technical organizations in Longmont, CO, in September 2006. The conference organizers presented their recommendations to the U.S. Congress in July 2007, along with a fact sheet and report. We have developed an Implementation Plan based on input from these meetings.

The NIDIS Implementation Plan outlines how to: 

  • Develop the leadership and networks to implement an integrated drought monitoring and forecasting system at federal, state, and local levels
  • Foster and support a research environment focusing on risk assessment, forecasting, and management
  • Create an "early warning system" for drought to provide accurate, timely, and integrated information
  • Develop interactive systems, such as the Web Portal, as part of the early warning system
  • Provide a framework for public awareness and education about droughts

The Road Ahead

As we embark on implementing NIDIS, the initial focus will be on: 

  • Developing the U.S. Drought Portal
  • Integrating and fostering coping strategies through research, preparedness, education and public awareness
  • Integrating data and predictions
  • Developing pilot programs for design and implementation of early warning systems in selected locations

The U.S. Drought Portal

The U.S. Drought Portal is part of the interactive system to: 

  • Provide early warning about emerging and anticipated droughts
  • Assimilate and quality control data about droughts and models
  • Provide information about risk and impact of droughts to different agencies and stakeholders
  • Provide information about past droughts for comparison and to understand current conditions
  • Explain how to plan for and manage the impacts of droughts
  • Provide a forum for different stakeholders to discuss drought-related issues