Some of the
good work done in the preceding steps can be undone by the passage of
time. In the case of a Drought Preparedness Study (DPS),
it may be several years before another drought occurs. During that time, professional staff may change jobs, water users
may change in nature and quantity, and new laws may be passed that affect
the way the water system can be operated. The result is that the trust and familiarity developed during the
DPS will diminish, and the region’s vulnerability to drought will
solution is to exercise the plan. It
is a simple concept, used quite commonly in other areas of hazards
management from fire drills to military maneuvers.
For the DPS method, with the use of shared vision simulation models
of the system, Virtual Drought
be used in the years after a tactical drought plan had been designed to
exercise a regional drought preparedness strategy. This would let agencies
address new water uses and train new staff and stakeholders.
virtual drought was held in Tacoma, Washington, on August 4, 1993, as part
of the Cedar and Green River Basins DPS. It was well received by the
participants and can be used as a model for other regions interested in
exercising water plans.