92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Tuesday, 24 January 2012: 5:15 PM
Investigating the Experiences of Watersheds and Hydrologic Basins to Improve Drought Planning in the U.S
Room 350/351 (New Orleans Convention Center )
Crystal J. Bergman, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE; and M. J. Hayes, D. J. Bathke, C. L. Knutson, and Z. Tang

Environmental planning for trans-boundary watersheds and hydrologic basins can be very challenging because many water users from multiple political jurisdictions and sectors are likely to be involved. Coordination and collaboration are key aspects of successful environmental planning at this level. Planning for watersheds and basins is often further complicated when drought is present because dwindling water supplies must be allocated among competing users. Drought planning is occurring at many levels in the United States, including at the level of watersheds and basins. Planning for drought at this level is unique because the planning region's boundaries are natural instead of political. It is also common that drought plans at various levels overlap each other spatially, which could cause confusion among both the public and the agencies involved in planning activities if there is conflicting information among the plans. The purpose of this study is to gather information from a sample of watershed- and basin-level drought plans and their responsible agencies that would offer some insight into how to best approach drought planning at this level. The following are examples of questions that are being addressed by the agencies responsible for each of the sampled drought plans: 1) What reason(s) was a drought plan created for the watershed or basin? 2) Have conflicts arisen as a result of the watershed or basin plan overlapping with other drought plans, and if so, what are those conflicts? 3) Has coordination with agencies responsible for the overlapping drought plans occurred to ensure consistency among the plans, and if so, what methods have been employed? Data for this study are being collected mostly through in-depth, semi-structured interviews. Webinars may also be conducted as a substitute for in-person interactions. It is expected that the results of this study will reveal best practices and lessons learned for drought planning for watersheds and hydrologic basins, including how to best approach coordination of watershed- or basin-level drought plans with overlapping drought plans.

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