Sandoval launches Western Governors’ Drought Forum |

Sandoval launches Western Governors’ Drought Forum

Nevada Appeal staff report

lahontan reservoir — Gov. Brian Sandoval launched the Western Governors’ Drought Forum on Thursday, Sept. 11, with the announcement of the regional initiative’s first four meetings and the rollout of an online resource library to collect case studies and best practices.

Sandoval created the Drought Forum, his main initiative as Chairman of the Western Governors’ Association (WGA), to foster a regional dialogue in which states and industry can share best practices on drought policy, preparedness and management.

The governor made the announcement at Lahontan Reservoir in Nevada, where low lake levels caused by extended drought conditions have forced the closing of all boat launches.

“The impact of drought in the West is clear to everyone here today. But it extends far beyond what’s happened at Lahontan Reservoir,” Sandoval said. “California is experiencing exceptional drought, the most severe measurement reported by the U.S. Drought Monitor. And extreme drought conditions continue in much of Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.”

Participants at Drought Forum meetings will identify ways to avoid and mitigate the impact of drought on communities, economies and the environment. Each meeting will feature experts from government, industry and other arenas. Meetings are as scheduled:

The governor also announced the launch of the Western Governors’ Drought Forum online resource library, a collection of best practices, case studies and news about drought. It will offer links to a wealth of resources, such as state drought plans and current conditions in the West as reported by the U.S. Drought Portal.

Western Governors’ Association Executive Director Jim Ogsbury joined Gov. Sandoval at the announcement to discuss the role of the bipartisan association, which is managing the Drought Forum.

The Western Governor’s Drought forum is being conducted in partnership with NOAA’s National Integrated Drought Information System. The initial meeting in Norman, Okla., is being sponsored by the Oklahoma Secretary of Energy and Environment and National Hydropower Association.