See more from this Session: General Climatology & Modeling: II
Monday, October 17, 2011
Henry Gonzalez Convention Center, Hall C, Street Level
Severe drought is a recurring event in the Southeast USA, including the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin (ACF). The ACF covers 19,600 sq miles in three states – Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. The headwaters of the Chattahoochee River are north of Atlanta, GA; the Flint River begins just south of Atlanta. They merge near the Georgia-Florida border and become the Apalachicola River. The increasing water demands of rapidly growing populations of North Georgia have exacerbated water shortages that arise from natural variation in annual and seasonal precipitation and resulted in interstate litigation to assure down river access to water for human use and natural ecosystems. The National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) was an initiative of the Western Governors’ Association with its strategic plan issued in June of 2004. In December 2006 the US Congress passed the NIDIS Act, which formally established the program. The first steps of NIDIS have been to start pilot projects for regions where drought is important, one of which is in the ACF. Through series of workshop that assembled representatives from diverse stakeholder groups, including environmental NGOs, municipal, regional, state, and federal resource managers, representatives from state and federal regulatory and monitoring agencies, as well as scientists from universities, a Southeast NIDIS pilot was established for the ACF. In December 2010 the pilot project entered a new phase – namely, the development of an early warning drought information dissemination system. This system has two principal components – webinar briefings to alert resource managers of the pending likelihood of drought and an education and outreach effort that is designed to educate and help a broad range of stakeholders plan for drought. In response to strong La Niña conditions that developed in 2010, we began conducting briefings at two-week intervals in January 2011. The education and outreach effort has produced a series of fact sheets and news updates that were distributed to stakeholders and made available on-line through AgroClimate [http://AgroClimate.org], a web-based decision support system.