One of the challenges facing drought preparedness is how to refine linkages between drought indicators and drought impacts across multiple sectors and identify triggers and thresholds for drought response. This is particularly challenging in the western United States, where extensive water storage and conveyance systems help mitigate local drought conditions. In these settings, current indicators of drought hazard—which focus on local supply conditions—may have limited connection with actual water scarcity.
This project seeks to develop a methodology for evaluating impacts in water and land-use sectors in regions that have extensive water storage and conveyance systems. There are four linked scientific objectives: (1) incorporate the capability and condition of water storage and conveyance systems into drought hazard indicators; (2) develop sector-specific drought hazard indicators for urban, agricultural, and rural communities, along with indicators for freshwater ecosystems; (3) link drought hazard indicators with exposure and vulnerability metrics to profile drought impact risk in each sector in each region; and (4) use a collaborative process to develop readily updatable map-based decision support tools building on current NIDIS platforms.