Workshop Set on Drought Early-Warning System

The Department of Water Resources will co-sponsor a workshop discussion later this month on federal reauthorization of the nation’s drought early-warning system.

The Sept. 24-26 workshop in San Diego will review the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) and other federal agency drought programs from the perspective of states.

The NIDIS program was authorized by federal legislation in 2006. The authorization will sunset at the end of this year. Managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NIDIS is aimed at providing a drought early-warning system and coordinating federal research related to drought early warning.

According to DWR, water year 2012 was a dry year overall in California as well as in the Colorado River Basin, a key source of imported water for Southern California. There is no reliable way to predict what water year 2013 will bring.

On average, 75% of the state’s annual precipitation occurs between November and March, with half of it occurring between December and February, according to DWR. A few major storms can shift the balance between a wet year and a dry one. A persistent high pressure zone over California during the peak winter water production months predisposes the water year to be dry.

More on the workshop can be found here.