Drought Planning in the Southeast United States: An Assessment of State Approaches, Planning Needs and Gaps, and Opportunities for the Southeast Drought Early Warning System

Kirsten Lackstrom
Posted on: 3/14/2023 - Updated on: 3/14/2023

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Despite being a humid region, droughts pose a serious threat to the southeastern United States. Recent events, including flash droughts, have caused substantial impacts to agriculture, forestry, water resources, and other sectors and stakeholders. The drought planning literature cites reduced fragmentation and increased coordination as critical needs to improving drought preparedness and response. However, few efforts have investigated precisely what types of drought plans and policies are in place and what mechanisms might facilitate cooperation and collaboration, particularly in the Southeast region. 

This project documented, compared, and assessed drought response and preparedness planning in the Southeast United States, with the overall goal of helping to clarify the following items for drought coordinators and other drought decision makers across the region: 

  • When and how different states monitor, respond to, and plan for drought events
  • Effective strategies and “best practices” for drought planning
  • Mechanisms and opportunities for collaboration and coordination around drought planning and preparedness, given that droughts are often regional in extent and cross political boundaries.

Furthermore, this project is intended to provide a baseline understanding of the drought planning landscape in the southeastern United States and inform planning-related activities of the National Integrated Drought Information (NIDIS) Southeast Drought Early Warning System (DEWS) network and partnering organizations. 

Affiliated Organizations

The Carolinas Integrated Sciences & Assessments (CISA) team conducts applied research in North Carolina and South Carolina that incorporates climate information into water, health and coastal management and decision making. CISA is one of NOAA's Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments teams. In its core activities, CISA seeks to:

Among America’s oldest and most comprehensive public universities, the University of South Carolina's mission includes hte responsibility to state and society to promote the dissemination of knowledge, cultural enrichment, and an enhanced quality of life.

NOAA is an agency that enriches life through science. Our reach goes from the surface of the sun to the depths of the ocean floor as we work to keep citizens informed of the changing environment around them. From daily weather forecasts, severe storm warnings and climate monitoring to fisheries management, coastal restoration and supporting marine commerce, NOAA’s products and services support economic vitality and affect more than one-third of America’s gross domestic product.