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Drought Prediction: A Focus on Streamflow - End User Listening Session

Event Date
March 3, 2022
Event Time
12:00 pm - 2:30 pm

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and NOAA’s National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) are holding a series of listening sessions on Drought Prediction and Water Availability to seek input on priorities and needs related to predicting water availability changes under drought conditions at national and regional scales. This input will be used to guide USGS Drought Program planning and orientation, as well as to inform other national drought programs.

This first listening session, focused on streamflow, was held on March 3, 2022, and included a short introduction to streamflow drought prediction products, followed by guided discussions with participants on research priorities for product development or improvement at the national or regional scale.


Introduction and Welcome

Speakers: Brian Clark, USGS Drought Science Program and Water Availability and Use Science Program; John Hammond, USGS Regional Drought Project Manager

  • Overview of today’s session
  • Mission of USGS and NIDIS
  • Register for the upcoming listening sessions



USGS National Streamflow Drought Research in Support of Prediction

Speaker: Stacey Archfield, USGS National Drought Project Manager

Watch this presentation

  • Properties of a National Drought Prediction System
  • End user input needed
  • Current USGS drought research



Streamflow Forecasting for Drought in the U.S.: Strong Capabilities and Compelling Opportunities for Advancement

Speaker: Andy Wood, National Center for Atmospheric Research Climate and Global Dynamics

Watch this presentation

  • Background on current capabilities
  • A growing need for improved understanding of watershed sensitivities
  • Opportunities to advance our prediction capability
  • Recommendations



Colorado River Basin Ensemble-Based Operational Forecasting Methodologies to Determine Risk and Uncertainty During Drought

Speaker: Heather Patno, Bureau of Reclamation, Hydropower and Reservoir Operations

Watch this presentation

  • Colorado River Basin hydrology
  • Colorado River drought
  • Lake Powell elevations



Prep for Breakout Groups

Speakers: John Hammond and Brian Clark



End of Plenary Recording


Breakout Discussions

After the plenary, small breakout groups were held for approximately 50 minutes to discuss:

  • How do you use streamflow information in your applications to anticipate changes related to drought conditions?
  • Based on your organization, what are challenges, special considerations, or common uncertainties for predicting streamflow changes related to drought?
  • What hydrologic drought prediction products or indices do you currently use to predict streamflow changes in your area?
  • What improvements to streamflow information and prediction would help you the most (e.g. timescale, resolution, specific locations, etc.)?

All participants briefly rejoined the larger session after the breakouts to look at takeaways from the last topic of improvements to streamflow information and prediction. A quick poll was taken of key ideas; these provide a preliminary sense of priorities from the session, to be further analyzed over time. These very preliminary results are provided here.

Preliminary results from breakout poll, asking "what improvements to streamflow prediction would help you the most?" The highest ranking result was "A watershed forecasting approach that communicates forecasts based on key contributing factors for each area"

This series of listening sessions will continue over the next several months. Links and registration information can be found at: 

Register for the upcoming listening sessions.