Increasing Drought Planning and Preparedness at the Regional and Local level: Using FEMA’s THIRA Process in the Platte River Basin, Nebraska

Authors: Elliot Wickham*, University Of Nebraska - Lincoln
Topics: Hazards and Vulnerability, Water Resources and Hydrology, Planning Geography
Keywords: Drought, Water Resources, THIRA, Muli-Hazard Plan, Core Capabilities, Resiliency
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 2:40 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Napoleon B1, Sheraton 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The Drought Risk Management Research Center (DRMRC), a partnership between the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) and the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) is working to increase drought planning at sub-state and local levels and to incorporate and integrate drought planning with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) multi-hazard mitigation plans. To address these goals, the NDMC, the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center and the High Plains Regional Climate Center conducted a pilot study in the Platte River Basin of Nebraska to develop and implement a decision-support model for drought planning using the Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA) process. THIRA is a FEMA-mandated risk assessment process designed to help communities identify threats and develop targets for the 32 core capabilities identified in the National Preparedness Goal. Due to drought’s unique temporal and spatial characteristics, the THIRA process has been difficult to use for drought compared to other Hazards. To conduct a THIRA in the Platte River Basin, the NDMC and the HPRCC created a worst-case drought scenario that spread across the state over five years, impacting many different sectors and stakeholders. This worst-case drought scenario was presented to stakeholders and decision makers from across the Platte Basin in a one-day workshop, so that participants could discuss how they could or could not handle specific drought impacts. These discussions were used to develop 19 core capabilities that could both increase local and regional drought planning efforts, along with increased drought planning integration in multi-hazard mitigation plans.

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