Drought - Fire - Flood Email Forum

re: Define drought

Jeff Brislawn (
Tue, 24 Oct 2000 12:12:09 -0600

At the state level we use several drought indicators including the
Standardized Precipitation Index, Surface Water Supply Index, and Palmer
Index as well as field observations to monitor drought conditions.
These give us a rough idea where drought is emerging, and when certain
response actions are triggered in the Drought Mitigation and Response
Plan. This year dryland farming took a hard hit due to lack of
moisture, while most municipal water supplies were sufficient to meet
demands. If we have a dry winter we will see more concerns from
municipalities next summer. Summaries of the Drought Task Force
meetings can be accessed at:

The state's plan is designed to coordinate effective assessment and
response to drought problems at a state level. It is not intended to
address local water supply and demand management issues. The Colorado
Water Conservation Board is developing new design drought parameters
based on risk analysis by river basins. A "design drought" can be used
as a planning tool to describe monthly or annual series of low flows.
Thus planning for drought can be addressed much like planning for a 100
year flood. Will the system be able to withstand droughts that occur on
a 25, 50, 100 year or longer cycle? Does anyone know how many years of
drought Boulder's water supply system could withstand?

Jeff Brislawn
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