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Nevada state drought response plan revised

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UNR NEWS RELEASE

Updated approach gives state, local agencies and public easier process to follow

A network of rain gauge reporting stations throughout Nevada keeps the Nevada State Climate Office at the University of Nevada, Reno and other state agencies apprised of precipitation totals used in part in the Nevada Drought Repsonse plan to evaluate drought conditions. Photo by Jeff Thompson, University of Nevada, Reno.
A network of rain gauge reporting stations throughout Nevada keeps the Nevada State Climate Office at the University of Nevada, Reno and other state agencies apprised of precipitation totals used in part in the Nevada Drought Repsonse plan to evaluate drought conditions. Photo by Jeff Thompson, University of Nevada, Reno.

The Nevada State Climate Office, Division of Emergency Management and Division of Water Resources have updated the plan responsible for state agency communication and coordination on drought monitoring, response and mitigation.

“The plan clarifies and updates the approach to interagency coordination in responding to drought in the state,” acting Nevada State Climatologist Kate Berry of the University of Nevada, Reno, said. Berry spearheaded the initiative to update the Nevada State Drought Response Plan, which had not been revised since 2003.

The new plan sets guidelines for types of drought considerations and for actions on a county level, while also standardizing the process statewide.

“It’s an important step in facilitating the work of various interests in the state that respond to drought conditions,” Berry said. “Following Nevada’s dry winter, much of the state is currently facing drought conditions and the plan offers a fresh approach to analyzing and responding to these dry conditions across the state.”

The revised Nevada State Drought Response Plan:

  • Identifies a system to use in monitoring the magnitude, severity and extent of drought within the state on a county-by-county basis.
  • Establishes a framework of actions based on three stages of drought response: Drought Watch (Stage 1), Drought Alert (Stage 2) and Drought Emergency (Stage 3).
  • Establishes a Drought Response Committee to implement the plan, report to the governor and assemble task forces (as needed) to serve as experts in drought-affected regions, as liaisons to local or federal government and as sources of data and information.
  • Outlines the significance of drought and types of drought encountered in Nevada.

Under the new response plan, the Drought Response Committee makes a recommendation for official drought declaration to the governor when affected areas enter the Drought Emergency Stage (Stage 3).  The Governor may then activate the State Emergency Operations Center, overseen by the chief of the Division of Emergency Management. The Division of Emergency Management, in cooperation with the University of Nevada, Reno Nevada State Climate Office and the State Engineer of the Division of Water Resources, would then coordinate state resources and response efforts, as well as request support and resources from federal agencies, in order to carry out the governor’s policies.

The revised Nevada State Drought Plan can be found on the University of Nevada, Reno’s Nevada State Climate Office website: www.climate.unr.edu. The Nevada State Climate Office is a public service department in the University’s College of Science.

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