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The goals of this meeting are to create an integrated, interactive, future-oriented forum for understanding and improving our management of drought and water scarcity in the United States and to stimulate national debate through the publication and wide distribution of a science- and policy-based discussion document.

Active participation of meeting attendees is sought in preparing recommendations for the roadmap for change.

Drought is a normal part of climate for virtually all regions of the United States. Recent episodes have highlighted the increasing vulnerability of all regions to drought-induced water shortages. In the face of mounting pressure on finite water supplies from expanding and shifting population, urbanization, environmental degradation, and many other factors, it is imperative for the United States to consider a paradigm shift to a risk-based approach to drought management. The threat of climate change and potential increases in the frequency, severity, and duration of drought episodes is further exacerbating water management issues and conflicts among users.

This meeting is designed to promote collaboration between the policy and science communities. Through a combination of plenary and invited talks, interactive roundtable and breakout group discussions, and poster presentations of case studies and innovative research and outreach efforts, participants will derive key lessons learned from national and relevant international experience and current policies and practices (e.g., factors involved in decision making, facilitators and barriers to implementing action, and treatment of underlying causes versus symptoms).