About the WDCC

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Council?

The Western Drought Coordination Council (Council) is an intergovernmental forum that focuses on drought preparedness in the Western United States.

Why did the Council form?

Drought experiences in the West and Southwest in 1996 highlighted the need for long-term, region-wide drought planning and for streamlined access to government services.

Drought is a pervasive social, economic, and environmental issue that touches every aspect of life in affected areas. Help is available for individuals, water suppliers and communities, but negotiating the maze of relief programs available from different agencies and organizations is difficult, especially under the pressures of an ongoing drought.

Who formed the Council?

The Western Governors' Association spearheaded formation of the Council in early 1997 through a Memorandum of Understanding with representatives of federal, tribal and local governments.

Who is on the Council?

  • Gary E. Johnson, Governor of New Mexico, Council Co-Chair
  • Richard Rominger, Deputy Secretary, US Department of Agriculture, Council Co-Chair
  • Rupert Alden, San Carlos Apache Tribal Council
  • Michael Armstrong, Associate Director, Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • John Baker, Commissioner, Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission
  • Charles H. Blackwell, Chickasaw Ambassador to the United States, Chickasaw Nation
  • Ronald W. Cattany, Deputy Director, Colorado Department of Natural Resources
  • Ron Christensen, Supervisor, Gila County, National Association of Counties
  • William M. Daley, Secretary, US Department of Commerce
  • Michael L. Davis, Deputy Assistant Secretary (Civil Works), US Department of the Army
  • Bernard Kulik, Associate Administrator, Small Business Administration
  • Eluid L. Martinez, Commissioner, Bureau of Reclamation, US Department of the Interior
  • Ron Speakthunder, Fort Belknap Community Council

What does the Council hope to achieve?

The Council's purpose is to reduce the effects of future droughts in the western United States. Specifically, its goals are to:

  • foster better intergovernmental coordination and communication on drought planning;
  • help state, local and tribal governments develop drought preparedness and mitigation plans;
  • contribute to an efficient drought monitoring and information delivery system so that decision makers learn about low water supplies and drought prospects as soon as possible;
  • heighten awareness of drought management issues and promote efficient use of water.

For more information, please refer to the work plan.

What has the Council done so far?

The products of the Council's first year make significant contributions to the information available to assist planners in preparing for and recovering from drought. They include:

  • Western Climate and Water Status, a quarterly report that funnels information on water supply, snowfall and other climate-related issues from scientists and technicians to policy-makers.
  • The Catalog of Federal Drought Assistance Programs, first compiled by FEMA, now enhanced and republished on the World Wide Web.
  • How to Reduce Drought Risk, a vulnerability assessment guide for state, regional and community drought planners, was developed by the Council and the National Drought Mitigation Center.

How does the Council do its work?

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) serves as the lead federal agency, and a Steering Group implements the Council's work plan. The Steering Group oversees four working groups: Monitoring, Assessment and Prediction; Preparedness and Mitigation; Response; and Communications. The working groups are staffed by volunteer professionals from federal, state, local and tribal entities.

Is working group membership open?

Yes. If you are interested in joining a working group, please contact one of its co-chairs. For contact information, please refer to the lists of working group members.

Updated May 27, 1998

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