National Drought Mitigation Center

Post Event

Impacts of Decade-long Drought and Wet Periods on Urban Water Security in the Missouri River Basin

November 16-17, 2010
Lincoln, NE

The NDMC and Center for Research on the Changing Earth System (CRCES) conducted a workshop for water systems managers in Lincoln that discussed impacts in the Missouri River Basin (MRB). Vikram Mehta of CRCES is the lead investigator on a project to better understand the potential applications of long-term climate outlooks based on decadal climate patterns. This was the third of three workshops, following one in Kansas City, Missouri on April 27-28, 2009 and in Helena, Montana on June 24-25, 2009.

The purposes of this workshop were:

  • for researchers to demonstrate to stakeholders that climatic events on the decadal scale have major effects in the MRB, including major droughts and wet periods.
  • to gather information from stakeholders about the effects of droughts in the 1980s and the most recent drought period during the 2000s, as well as the prolonged wet period of the 1990s on urban water security in the MRB.
  • to explore the potential for developing future decadal climate outlooks and potential management options that would ensure urban water security through droughts and wet periods.

Approximately 20 stakeholders and policymakers representing federal, state, and local governments, universities, and private sector organizations in the Basin participated in the workshop. Vikram Mehta and Norm Rosenberg gave presentations regarding the current and future potential of decadal climate outlooks for the basin. Rolf Olsen from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers presented the impacts of historical floods and drought in the basin, and Doug Kluck of NOAA Climate Services gave an overview of what data and information are available from this newly created program within NOAA.

The researchers used a variety of public participation techniques to explore historic recollections of the three specific flood and drought periods, to document the effects of decadal climate variability (DCV) on supply and demand, and to discuss how DCV outlooks may help in future water-related decision making.