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Drought Planning and Management

The goal of Alabama's drought planning and management process is to ensure that there is accurate and consistent information concerning hydrologic and drought conditions, impacts and forecasts around the state. Further, through the use of an extensive communication and coordination process and Drought Declarations, ADECA's Office of Water Resources helps water managers, stakeholders and users understand where and how severe drought conditions exist and the best available information on future forecasts.


Click here for the most recent Drought Declaration.


Click below for more drought information:​
Drought Planning
Drought Planning Team​
Alabama Drought Information Center​
Water Conservation​


Drought Planning

The purpose of the Alabama Drought Management Plan is to establish a framework for the assessment of drought conditions, assist stakeholders and water managers in mitigating drought conditions and encourage water conservation practises. The Plan also establishes an organizational structure to facilitate the exchanges of data and information as well as interagency and organizational coordination.

In order to accomplish these goals the plan:

  • Defines a process to address drought and drought-related activities, such as, monitoring, vulnerability assessment, mitigation, impact assessment and response
  • Identifies long- and short-term activities that can be implemented to reduce and prevent drought impacts
  • Identifies local, state, federal and private sector entities that are involved with state drought management and defines their responsibilities
  • Acts as a catalyst for creation and implementation of local drought and response efforts

There is no way to prevent a drought from occurring, however the effects of a drought can be reduced or even eliminated altogether. The impact of drought can be reduced by improving the overall forest health which reduces the risk of drought caused fires, by improving and maintaining water systems which will reduce pumping failures. Also, by establishing and implementing contingency plans, such as, predetermined water conservation measures, or by designating alternative emergency water sources.

In addition, on June 24, 2011, Governor Bentley issued Executive Order 19 on Drought Planning and Management. This order enhances drought planning efforts on a state level and streamlines the organizational structure. It also formally tasks ADECA's Office of Water Resources, in several areas, to support Alabama's drought planning and response efforts. For a copy of Executive Order 19, click here.

Please contact us with any comments or suggestions on the state Drought Management Plan or if you have specific drought-related impacts.


Drought Planning Team

Alabama Drought Assessment and Planning Team (ADAPT)

ADAPT coordinates intergovernmental drought response, management and appropriate media information releases. ADAPT monitors drought-related activities and advises the Governor and OWR, in coordination with input from the Monitoring and Impact Group.

ADAPT is comprised of the following members:

Brian Atkins ​ADECA Office of Water Resources (OWR) Division Director, Chairman
Art Faulkner​ Alabama Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) Director
​Ronald Davis U.S. Dept of Agriculture (USDA) Director of Rural Development
​Lance LeFleur Alabama Dept of Environmental Management (ADEM) Director
​MG Perry Smith Alabama National Guard Adjutant General
​John McMillan Alabama Dept of Agriculture and Industries Commissioner
Charles Stover​ Chairman of the Monitoring and Impact Group
​Gunter Guy Alabama Dept of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner
​Ms. Linda Casey State Forester, Alabama Forestry Commission
​Daniel Robinson U.S. Dept of Agriculture (USDA) State Executive Director of Farm Service Agency, Governor Appointee
James B. Carlisle​ ALFA, Governor Appointee
Chris Isaacson​ Alabama Forestry Association, Governor Appointee


Monitoring and Impact Group (MIG)

The MIG is responsible for monitoring all available climate and hydrological data (i.e. reservoir storage levels, aquifer levels, rainfall data, soil moisture readings, etc.) and analyzing the data in order to assess the current level of drought conditions within the state, therefore recommending the level of conservation the state should implement, which will be reported to OWR and ADAPT. 

The MIG studies and summarizes the long-term forecasts which will enable OWR and ADAPT to prepare for future droughts as well as assessing the actual impacts of the drought throughout the state. 

The MIG consists of a range of surface water, ground water, and meteorological professionals. The chairman of this group is appointed by the Governor.

The current Chairman is Mr. Charles Stover of Alabama Power Company.


Alabama Drought Information Center

The following information contains links to relevant drought condition indicators and other information. For specific information related to how these indicators are used in Alabama's drought planning and response process, please refer to the Alabama Drought Management Plan.

National Drought Website


Alabama Climate Information


Soil Moisture Conditions


Reservoir System Conditions


Current Streamflows

Note: The USGS Hydro-Climatic Data Network (HDCN) is a subset of all USGS stream gages where streamflow conditions primarily reflect climatic variations; that is, streamflow conditions are minimally affected by human disturbance.  Although most of the stream gages reflect some level of human activity, total water extractions or diversions at HCDN sites are generally less than five percent of the mean annual discharge.


Below Normal 7-Day Average Streamflow


Below Normal 14-Day Average Streamflow


Below Normal 28-Day Average Streamflow


Below Normal Monthly Average Streamflow


Site Duration Hydrograph (Streamflow)


State Duration Hydrograph (Runoff)


Drought Table


Map Comparison


Record Low Flow Map


Past Flow/Runoff




Annual Summaries

  • Water Year Summary (National Overview, Regional Patterns, Seasonal Characteristics, High and Low Flows)


Groundwater Levels in Alabama


Water Conservation


Alabama has over 77,000 miles of rivers and streams and has been historically blessed with an abundance of freshwater; however recent droughts have emphasized the importance of the conservation of this valuable resource. By practicing some of these water saving tips, each of us can do our part to ensure an adequate supply of fresh water for ourselves and future generations. In addition, water conservation practices will not only help save our water supplies, but it also can save you money.

The following information is provides general suggestions and ideas to use water, both indoors and outdoors, as efficiently as possible.


Indoor Use

  • Use low-flow toilets.
  • Use flow aerators on faucets.
  • Take shorter showers.
  • Use your dishwater and clothes washer only when you have a full load.
  • Do not use running water to thaw meat and other frozen foods.
  • Don't let water run while shaving, brushing your teeth or washing your face.


Outdoor Use

  • Water your lawn only when necessary. It takes 660 gallons of water to supply 1,000 square feet of lawn with 1 inch of water. (This is almost the same amount as you use inside the house in an entire week.) As a general rule, established lawns do not need to be watered more often than every five to seven days.
  • Water lawns early in the morning when temperatures and wind speeds are lowest.
  • Don't allow sprinklers to water your street, driveway or sidewalk.
  • During dry weather, raise the height of your mower so that you are cutting grass at the highest recommended height. A higher cut encourages grass roots to grow deeper, shades the root system and holds soil moisture better than a closely clipped lawn.
  • Avoid over fertilizing your lawn. Fertilizer applications increase the need for water.
  • Use mulch around trees and shrubs and in garden beds to retain moisture in the soil.
  • Do not use the hose to clean your driveway or sidewalk.
  • Use a shut-off nozzle on your hose so that water flows only as needed.
  • Do not leave sprinklers or hoses unattended.
  • If you wash your car, park it on the grass and use a hose with an automatic shut-off nozzle.


Water Conservation Tips

EPA provides general information on a wide range of water conservation ideas and concepts through the WaterSense program.

Residential: The h2Ouse Water Saver Home takes you on a tour to investigate your water saving opportunities in each area of your home.

Agricultural: Backyard Conservation shows you how conservation practices that are used on agricultural land across the country to conserve and improve natural resources can be adapted for use on the land around your home.

Municipal: The EPA's Water Conservation Plan Guidelines contain step-by-step approaches and conservation measures that can be used by water system planners to develop and implement plans for water conservation.

Sample Water Conservation Ordinance



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