This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Drought Management Plans of States in the Southeastern United States: A Comprehensive Evaluation




McAleer, Christopher

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis




While the Southeast is often considered to be a region of abundant rainfall and humidity, severe droughts over the last two decades have raised awareness of the importance of proper management strategies at the state level. Both population growth and regional warming in the coming decades is expected to both intensify and prolong the duration of droughts in the area. Without effective state planning, this will increase both the economic and human cost of this natural hazard. This study presents a systematic means of critically analyzing the comprehensiveness of a state’s drought plan, for each state in the Southeast (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia). The state drought plans were evaluated utilizing a three-tiered system, according to the comprehensiveness and the level of detail of specific guidelines presented in the Colorado Drought Mitigation and Response Plan. There were 4 sections included in the analysis (Elements of Drought Management Plan, Emergency Response, Public Education and Relations, and Water Supply Augmentation) that represent strategies during the pre-drought, during-drought, and post-drought periods. The results of the study were highly varied, as some states in the Southeast had comprehensive plans, while others did not have an official state drought plan. However, the areas for improvement for each state can be seen through the quantity and quality of subcategories included in each section. This methodology is a significant first step in communicating the need for organized and comprehensive state drought planning across the Southeast in order to mitigate both modern and future drought impacts.