Scenario Planning

One way to address drought’s complexity and planning challenges is through the use of scenarios. A scenario is a plausible event or sequence of events that provide the backdrop for exercises such as training activities or planning discussions.  Scenarios allow participants to react and plan for a plausible event so you will be better prepared to deal with what actually happens. Scenarios can be written as a story or enhanced with timelines and maps.  Whether it’s used for training or planning purposes, a scenario should be plausible and challenging.


Scenario-based exercises can help your community’s drought preparedness activities by encouraging planners, decision-makers, agency staff, and citizens to think about how a drought may unfold and what actions they could take before it happens in order to lessen its impacts or cope with its effects.


Mitigation and Response Actions

Being prepared for drought means having mitigation and response strategies in place. Mitigation actions provide your community with the steps to take ahead of time to reduce the next drought’s effects. Response actions allow your community to better cope with drought once it strikes. Scenario-based exercises help identify the relevant actions for your community.


Mitigation Examples


Response Examples

open book Educate community members about water conservation message bubbles Communicate key messages and information to the community
water spicket draining water Increase water supply with water harvesting, locating new sources, or building storage hands holding a drop of water Implement voluntary or mandatory water conservation measures
wheat crops Plant drought-resistant species and varieties to improve crop yields during drought dollar sign over water drops Apply emergency pricing to encourage water conservation
cat tails Incorporate land-use practices that preserve watersheds call center person with headphones and mic Activate hay hotlines to connect producers with hay to sell or pasture to rent
solar panels and wind farms Reduce dependencies on single resource and economic sectors sunlight shining down on shade shelter structure Monitor temperatures and open cooling shelters during periods of excessive heat
handshake	Creating mutual aid agreements with other communities to help meet response needs ticket voucher Offer vouchers for mental health service for those affected by the drought


No matter where you are in the drought planning process, scenario-based exercises can make a contribution. They can be used to kick off your community’s drought planning efforts or to help revise an existing plan.


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