Drought: Strategies To Ensure Adequate Water Resources For Future Generations

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Sponsored by Senators Ben Nelson, Ted Stevens, Mary Landrieu and Jim DeMint and Representatives Jo Bonner, Wayne Gilchrest, Dennis Moore and Zoe Lofgren, Co-chairs of the Congressional Hazards Caucus

Drought-related impacts can be expected to increase in intensity in the twenty-first century as vulnerability increases because of population growth and other factors. Recently, the Geological Society of America held a meeting to focus on identifying successful strategies for drought and water scarcity management and on developing a clear and decisive action plan. Key lessons learned will form the basis of a scientifically informed roadmap for implementing necessary changes in policy and practice to ensure adequate water resources for future generations. The briefing will discuss the roadmap and effective approaches to alleviate the impacts of drought throughout the nation.

Opening Remarks:

The Honorable Ben Nelson (Nebraska)


Jack Hess, Executive Director, Geological Society of America, Boulder, Colorado
Introduction to the Briefing


Stephen Wells, President of the Desert Research Institute, Nevada System of Higher Education, and President of the Geological Society of America
Drought and Humanity: A National and Global Challenge for Improving the Prediction, Planning, and Management of Water Scarcity

Donald Wilhite, Director of the National Drought Mitigation Center, University of Nebraska, Lincoln 
Drought: Moving from Crisis to Risk Management

Hope Mizzell, State Climatologist, South Carolina
Drought Impacts and Vulnerability in South Carolina

Dr. Stephen Wells, President of the Desert Research Institute (DRI) in the Nevada System of Higher Education, oversees multidisciplinary environmental research organizations with about 500 scientists and staff that serve the State of Nevada and every continent in the world. He is also a faculty member in the Hydrologic Sciences Program and Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Nevada, Reno. He has published over 60 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters as well as edited six volumes, focusing primarily upon the geomorphology and Quaternary geology of arid and semiarid regions and the geomorphic and hydrologic responses to Quaternary climate change.

Dr. Donald Wilhite directs the National Drought Mitigation Center, which he founded in1995. The NDMC maintains a very active international program, working closely with foreign governments, international organizations such as a number of agencies of the United Nations, and regional organizations. Dr. Wilhite is a professor in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he has been on the faculty since 1977. His research centers on drought management, monitoring, and preparedness, the policy implications of climate variability and climate change, and the effects of climate on society and societal responses to extreme climate events, particularly drought. In conjunction with this research, he has conducted training seminars and workshops in developing and developed countries to help governments create drought preparedness plans. Wilhite received his master's degree in geography from Arizona State University and his doctorate degree in climatology and water resources from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln.

Ms. Hope Mizzell is the State Climatologist for South Carolina, located within the Department of Natural Resources. She serves as drought program coordinator for South Carolina's Drought Response Program. Mizzell has 14 years of experience working with the water resource community and the South Carolina legislature as well as advanced research training. Her research on state and local drought indicators serves as a reference for how drought indicators can be integrated between public and private water systems, power-generating facilities, industries and state level plans to yield a seamless drought response. She has assisted over 300 water systems and 3 major power companies with the development of their drought plans and ordinances. Mizzell received her Masters degree and is pursuing her Ph.D. in Geography (Climatology) from the University of South Carolina.

This briefing was sponsored by the following members of the Hazards Caucus Alliance:

Geological Society of America