Planning and Drought

“Planning and Drought” (PAS Report No. 574) presents best practices and case studies in drought planning.  The report offers a comprehensive guide for citizens, planners, and communities to explore what drought is, how to track it, its impacts, and how planners and communities can prepare to mitigate its effects. This publication is the result of a partnership between the American Planning Association (APA), the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS). 

This guide links drought and land-use planning, water management, public health, and the local economy. The report includes eight case studies illustrating the range of drought's consequences and how different organizations have prepared for and responded to them.  The field's top researchers demonstrate how drought leaves communities vulnerable to wildfires, soil erosion, air pollution, and more.

Chapter 3: “Drought: How Planners Can Address the Issue” and Ch. 4 “Drought Planning in Practice” provide strategies for addressing drought and other impacts of climate change.  The introductory climate change section describes recent (since 2011) extreme drought experience in the U.S., and general climate impacts on the West coast.

A “Planners’ Toolbox” is provided with details on national drought mitigation and monitoring resources.  Example tools include the Drought Risk Atlas (, the U.S. Drought Monitor (, and the U.S. Drought Portal ( 

The report is offered in electronic form as a free download by the American Planning Association, and is also available for sale in printed form from APA.

Publication Date: January 2014

Authors or Affiliated Users:

  • James Schwab
  • Jeff Brislawn
  • Marilyn Hall
  • Cody Knutson
  • Marsha Prillwitz
  • Kelly Redmond
  • Mark Svoboda

Related Organizations:


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Planning guides


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