National Drought Mitigation Center


American Planning Association starts drought mitigation project

September 25, 2012

Drought is a slow-onset disaster that can impact the economy, health and public safety of a community. To combat the financial and safety implications of droughts, the American Planning Association (APA) is embarking on a 13-month drought mitigation project. The goal of the project is to better integrate available drought resource materials with planning practices at the local, regional and state levels to mitigate the impacts of droughts.

APA will work with the University of Nebraska’s National Drought Mitigation Center and the National Integrated Drought Information System. At the conclusion of the project, APA’s Hazard Planning Research Center will create a report on best practices and case studies in drought mitigation planning.

The project started with a drought symposium planning session at APA’s Chicago office. Experts in drought mitigation and water management along with representatives from the National Drought Mitigation Center and National Integrated Drought Information System discussed the various impacts of droughts, how planning can proactively mitigate drought impacts, and guiding principles for addressing drought vulnerability.

“Drought is a difficult disaster to assess. It does not have a clear beginning and end date. And after the onset of a drought, it is challenging to determine how long it will last and the full scope of consequences,” said James C. Schwab, AICP, manager of APA’s Hazard Planning Research Center. “This project will help planners heed warning signs and implement mitigation plans to minimize damage.”

Schwab further discusses how planners can have a role in mitigating droughts with Kelly Smith and Mark Svoboda of the National Drought Mitigation Center in the podcast Dealing with Drought: How Planners Can Make a Difference. Find the podcast at

Follow APA’s Recovery News blog for updates on the drought mitigation project.

The American Planning Association is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the art, science and profession of good planning -- physical, economic, and social -- so as to create communities that offer better choices for where and how people work and live. Members of APA help create communities of lasting value and encourage civic leaders, business interests and citizens to play a meaningful role in creating communities that enrich people's lives. APA has offices in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, Ill. For more information, visit