Drought Prediction and Water Availability: A Report on the 2022 USGS-NIDIS National Listening Session Series
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and NOAA’s National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) hosted a series of listening sessions in 2022 to seek input on priorities and needs related to predicting water availability changes under drought conditions at national and regional scales. These listening sessions provided an opportunity for community members to share perspectives and potential guidance for drought program planning, drought program orientation, and drought early warning activities within both USGS and NOAA/NIDIS, as well as to support other national drought efforts. The primary goal of the engagement was to understand what useful model/product output should look like, including what hydrologic variables are needed for drought-oriented decisions, what scales (spatial and temporal) are important, and what format is ideal for communicating such information.
The series started with a February 2022 kick-off meeting, followed by listening sessions focused on streamflow (March 3, 2022), groundwater (May 5, 2022), water use (July 14, 2022), and water availability prediction for ecosystems (September 8, 2022). Each of the four listening sessions included break-out discussions related to participants’ current use of hydrologic data, as well as research priorities for developing or improving products and information at the national and/or regional scales to support drought decision-making. A final webinar, held October 20, 2022, included an overview and synthesis of key takeaways from the series of listening sessions, discussion of next steps, and time for Q&A and participant feedback.
This report captures the structure and key takeaways from these listening sessions with the intention that this information will be useful and inform future projects and products within the USGS and NOAA, and may also be utilized by other federal agencies and organizations that are working to build resilience to drought.