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A New and Interactive Web Site Tracks Drought

November 01, 2007
by John Weisheit

On November 1, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) unveiled a new web site (www.drought.gov) for the public and for water managers nationwide to help them monitor and assess drought conditions instantaneously. This site was specifically created in response to the severe and extended drought conditions of the past decade.

The site is designed to be a clearinghouse for accessing resources and information about drought conditions as they develop or persist. The web site is call the "US Drought Portal" and was developed for the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), which is led by NOAA, and with collaboration with numerous federal agencies and several state governments.

The web site provides forecasts, how drought may impact individual communities, and what kinds of mitigation measures might exist for them.

Considering the recent and intense wildfire conditions that have prevailed in most of the western states this year, as well as the serious water shortages happening right now in the southeastern United States, this inaugural portal is a bit late, but nonetheless much appreciated.

Hopefully, the Congress and the President will act more swiftly in the future, since the concept of developing a national policy on water scarcity was first proposed in 1973, which never gained any traction even after the drought of 1976-1977, nor after the drought of 1988-1992.




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