National Drought Mitigation Center


Drought Center to help with Central and South American drought planning

December 3, 2019

Earlier this decade, Brazil experienced its worst drought in 80 years, during which record-low rainfall contributed to straining key water sources like the Jaguari Reservoir, pictured in 2014. In May, the National Drought Mitigation Center will team with the Drought Information System for southern South America to help create plans to increase drought resilience. NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey

South America is a region that mainly relies on rainfall to propel agricultural production, generate hydropower, maintain navigable waterways and provide homes and industry with water. When a drought hits there, impacts are widespread. In May, the National Drought Mitigation Center will team with the South American Drought Information System (or SISSA, for its Spanish acronym) to help create plans to increase drought resilience.

SISSA will host a workshop in 2020 in Montevideo, Uruguay, May 18-22, to begin designing national drought policies and preparedness plans for the six SISSA members (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay) as well as other countries of South and Central America. The workshop’s guiding framework will be the 10-step drought planning process developed by NDMC founding director Donald A. Wilhite. Workshop participants and leaders will assess the current capabilities of each country represented at the meeting in regards to the three pillars of drought policy -- monitoring and early warning, vulnerability and impact assessment, and mitigation and response. In South America, as in many other regions, responses to drought are often reactive, which can be inefficient and unnecessarily expensive. Proactive, risk-based national policies and preparedness plans aimed at reducing societal vulnerability and increasing resilience to drought are a better alternative. 
The National Drought Mitigation Center, housed at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s School of Natural Resources, welcomes collaborations with partners at local, state, tribal, national and international levels to build better drought resilience throughout the world, and will provide support during the Uruguay workshop.  
Major funding for the first SISSA workshop on national drought policies will be provided by the Regional Public Goods program of the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB). SISSA is contacting representatives of relevant institutions and stakeholders to attend the May workshop. Questions regarding the workshop should be emailed to

-- NDMC Communications