The National Drought Mitigation Center conducts a basic review of each state drought plan. Based on this review, state drought plans are classified into two primary groups: plans emphasizing response and plans emphasizing mitigation. The first state drought plans developed in the 1980s emphasized response, but since the mid-1990s there has been a trend towards plans emphasizing drought mitigation.
The criteria for each type of drought plan are listed below:
||A response plan is focused on short-term actions or guidelines to help reduce the immediate threat of drought. Common elements of a response plan might include provisions for drought monitoring, potential impacts expected during the drought, agency responsibilities, and triggers that initiate responses during drought. Actions, programs, or policies intended to increase preparedness before a drought occurs (mitigation) are not discussed within the plan.
||Mitigation plans are based on a philosophy that drought risk needs to be addressed before a drought occurs in order to reduce future drought impacts. The plan acknowledges and identifies short- and long-term actions, programs, and policies that should be implemented to promote preparedness. Common elements within a mitigation plan might include, promoting the development of mitigation activities, identifying parties responsible for drought risk reduction, listing specific mitigation actions and polices, and drought impact assessment and monitoring. Most mitigation plans also include a substantial drought response component to help reduce impacts during a drought.
These definitions have been developed by the National Drought Mitigation Center and are used when creating the annual "Status of State Drought Plans" maps. In addition to the two primary types of plans, states may fall into other categories described below:
||Applies to states that do not currently have a plan but are in the process of developing a plan, OR states that have a response plan and are in the process of creating a mitigation plan.
|Delegates to local authorities
||An official drought plan document is not available or does not exist, AND there is evidence that drought planning is delegated to local authorities. Evidence includes legislation, official documents or verbal communication from state officials to the NDMC.
||An official drought plan document is not available or does not exist, OR drought is mentioned as a potential hazard within an all-hazards plan (or equivalent) but drought-specific preparedness and/or response protocols are not specified.