A comparative study of drought management in Oklahoma and Missouri

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Wednesday, 20 January 2010
Exhibit Hall B2 (GWCC)
Heather R. Campbell, Oklahoma Climatological Survey and University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK; and M. A. Shafer and K. C. Crawford

Drought is a rather universal natural hazard, yet when looking at state drought plans, each response to drought differs significantly. These differences extend even to definitions of what a drought is. Unlike tornadoes or hurricanes, it is difficult to detect onset and recovery during drought, much less assessing the extent of the damage. To help states and others cope with drought, organizations such as the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) and National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) have developed.

According to the NDMC, the number of states with drought plans has grown from only three in 1980 to 41 as of 2006. Many of these plans were developed during or immediately following a severe drought. The study that will be presented examines the process of drought plan development in two states - Oklahoma and Missouri. Major droughts were the impetus for planning activities in both cases.

The study design addresses what information was used in designing drought plans, how other plans and strategies influenced the state plan design, and the extent to which communication occurred between various local and state agencies, national centers such as NDMC, and decision makers. Findings from interviews are used to test different policy process models to determine similarities and differences between the two states. A survey has been distributed at the community level in each state in order to compare local and state-level practices. Preliminary results from the survey will be presented. Through identifying ‘best' policy process models, this research aims help the NDMC and NIDIS work more effectively with other states in developing or revising their plans.