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Drought Planning and Management in Alabama
(Photo: Pier at Lake Martin in 2007)

Alabama's drought planning and management process is outlined under the Alabama Drought Planning and Response Act which provides for the close coordination of information and activities between federal, state, and local agencies, organizations, as well as water managers and users in responding to impacts caused by drought conditions. The information collected is used to support development of both the Alabama Drought Declaration and the Alabama portion of the weekly US Drought Monitor map. For access to drought-related information, see the links below or the more detailed information further down the page.

Click here for the most recent Drought Declaration.

Click here for the most recent Drought Impact Summary​.​

Click here to access the Drought GIS Portal.​

Click here for the Alabama Drought Plan.


Click below for more drought information:​
Alabama Drought Planning and Response Act
Alabama Drought Planning Organizational Structure​
Alabama Drought Plan
Alabama Drought Information Center​
Water Conservation​


Alabama Drought Planning and Response Act

The Alabama Drought Planning and Response Act (Code of Ala. 1975, §§9-10C-1 et seq.) became law on April 9, 2014. The Act formally establishes state government’s role in planning, monitoring, and responding to severely dry conditions.

The law replaces a previously issued executive order, establishes the Alabama Drought ​Assessment and Planning Team (ADAPT), and defines permanent roles for OWR and other state agencies by:

  • Codifying the current organizational structure including the ADAPT to advise the Governor on state activities related to droughts, and the Monitoring and Impact Group (MIG) as an ADAPT subcommittee to develop technical assessments of drought conditions and impacts.
      • The ADAPT advises the Governor and OWR about state activities related to droughts with information developed by the Monitoring and Impact Group that collects and analyzes stream-flow levels, rainfall, soil moisture and other drought-related data.  The ADAPT is made up of representatives from various state and federal agencies and appointees as outlined in the Alabama Drought Planning Organizational Structure section below.
  • Codifying the charge given to OWR to develop and maintain a state drought plan and issue Drought Declarations.
  • Clarifying the role of the Alabama State Climatologist.
  • Reaffirming the Governor's role in responding to drought related events; and
  • Ensuring that adequate information concerning the supply and demand of water is available for the assessment of conditions.
To access a copy of the Act, click here.​ The text is located in the Code of Alabama at Title 9, Chapter 10C.

To access a copy of the ADECA regulations promulgated in support of the Act, click here.​ The text is located at Chapter 305-7-13.


Alabama Drought Planning Organizational Structure

Alabama Drought Assessment and Planning Team (ADAPT)

The purpose of the ADAPT is to provide guidance and make recommendations on drought-related matters to the Governor and the ADECA Office of Water Resources (OWR), as necessary, and to coordinate intergovernmental drought response, management, and implementation of all drought related activities.  It works in coordination with input from its technical subcommittee, the Monitoring and Impact Group (MIG).

ADAPT is composed of the following members:

​Name and Title ​Agency
Brian Atkins
OWR Division Chief
ADAPT Chairman
​ADECA Office of Water Resources
Brian Hastings​
Alabama Emergency Management Agency
​Lance LeFleur
Alabama Dept of Environmental Management
​Major General Sheryl E. Gordon
Adjutant General
Alabama Army National Guard
​The Honorable Rick Pate
Alabama Dept of Agriculture and Industries
​Christopher M. Blankenship
Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources
​Rick Oates
State Forester
Alabama Forestry Commission
​Dr. Berry H. "Nick" Tew, Jr.
State Geologist
Geological Survey of Alabama
​Dr. John R. Christy
State Climatologist
Alabama Office of the State Climatologist
Alan Peeples​
MIG Chairman
ADAPT Monitoring and Impact Group (MIG)
​Barbara Gibson
Executive Director
Choctawhatchee, Pea, and Yellow Rivers Watershed Management Authority
​Dr. William "Bill" Puckett
Executive Director
Alabama Soil and Water Conservation Committee (SWCC)
​Ben Malone
State Conservationist
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Alabama
Matthew Durdin
Governor Appointee
Chris Isaacson
Alabama Forestry Association
Governor Appointee
​Roy McAuley
Alabama Pulp & Paper Council and Manufacture Alabama
Governor Appointee


Monitoring and Impact Group (MIG)

The MIG, the technical subcommittee of ADAPT, is responsible for monitoring all available climate and hydrological data and forecasts (i.e. rainfall data, stream flows, reservoir storage levels, groundwater levels, soil moisture readings, etc.) and analyzing the information in order to assess both the current level of drought conditions and the impacts from those conditions. The information and assessment is then used in recommending changes to OWR for the Alabama Drought Declaration. 

The MIG consists of agency representatives, reservoir operators, public water system managers, water use sector representatives and other stakeholders. The chairman of this group is appointed by the OWR Division Chief.

The current Chairman is Mr. Alan Peeples with the Alabama Power Company.


Alabama Drought Plan

The purpose of the Alabama Drought Management Plan is to provide information and procedural details associated with Alabama’s drought planning and response activities. The 2018 revision of the Plan is now fully in accordance with the Alabama Drought Planning and Response Act and the subsequent regulations promulgated in support of that Act. The revision process has been underway for almost two years and has involved the periodic review and coordination with a wide range of stakeholders and organizations, including the Alabama Water Resources Commission (AWRC), the Alabama Drought Assessment and Planning Team (ADAPT), and the Alabama Monitoring and Impacts Group (MIG).

The revision includes both changes to several existing sections as well as the addition of several new sections.  Major areas of change include:

  • Changes to ADAPT and MIG processes to be consistent with the statutory guidance;
  • Procedures related to Drought Conservation Plans required for all Public Water Systems (PWSs);
  • Procedures related to drought restriction reporting required for all PWSs;
  • A new section providing information of reservoir drought operations by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), The US Army Corps of Engineers, Alabama Power Company, and PowerSouth Energy Cooperative;
  • Procedures related to the role of the office of Alabama State Climatologist and the input to the US Drought Monitor Map;
  • Procedures related to increased flexibility in the issuance of Alabama Drought Declarations; and
  • A new section discussing water conservation and efficiency.

There is no way to prevent a drought from occurring, however, the effects of a drought can be reduced significantly through public awareness and local planning activities. That is why Alabama encourages proactive local drought planning efforts. This involves a thorough assessment by water using entities or organizations that includes a review of water sources and alternatives, water use and sustainability options. Local planning should include contingency plans, such as defining specific action levels, appropriate water conservation measures, or designating alternative water sources. Specific requirements for Drought Conservation Plans can found in OWR regulation 305-7-13-.07 of the Alabama Administrative Code.

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

Alabama Drought Management Plan


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 Plan.


OWR GIS Mapping Portal

OWR is using GIS tools and technology to help better understand and display water resources and drought-related information. To access the portal, click here.​


US Drought Portal (Drought.Gov)

For information related to national drought conditions, resources, and information, click here.​

For the current Drought Monitor Map for Alabama, click here.


Public Water System Drought Planning Resources

The following information is provided to help local public water systems and providers with drought planning and response activities.

Community Public Water System Drought Conservation Plans – Under the Alabama Drought Planning and Response Act, all community public water systems are required to have a drought conservation plan and submit a copy to the Alabama Office of Water Resources. The plan can be either a stand-alone plan or a component of a broader all hazards planning document. To assist in the development of such plans, the following example plans are provided for systems that have different sources of water:​ In addition, a handout containing a summary of the required components of a drought conservation plan has been developed and can be downloaded here​.

Surface Water Supplied System – The Waterworks and Sewer Board of the City of Gadsden submitted an excellent plan for a surface water system that meets all necessary requirements of the Alabama Drought Planning and Response Act. This plan sets parameters based on system capacity and overall system storage as key triggers in its decision making process. OWR recommends that surface water community public water systems that are developing a Drought Conservation Plan review this plan as a template. A copy is available here.

Groundwater Supplied System – Daphne Utilities submitted an excellent Drought Conservation Plan for a groundwater system that meets all necessary requirements of the Alabama Drought Planning and Response Act. This plan sets parameters on pumping capacity as well as overall system pressure as key triggers in its decision making process. A copy is available here.

Comprehensive Plan - The Smiths Water and Sewer Authority submitted a Drought Conservation Plan that lists ways it will coordinate drought response activities with various stakeholders and is a great example of what systems should do as response to drought. The Smiths Water and Sewer Authority’s Plan lists detailed restrictions for customers and detailed checklist for water system personnel to follow. OWR recommends that all systems currently developing a Drought Conservation Plan review this plan for concepts related to developing staged water plans and for developing a plan to discuss the plan with water users. A copy is available here.​


Alabama Climate Information


Agriculture and Drought


Soil Moisture Conditions


Reservoir System Conditions


Current Streamflows Web Links (All courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS))

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




Current Groundwater Information Web Links


Water Conservation


Alabama has over 77,000 miles of rivers and streams and has been historically blessed with a general abundance of both surface and groundwater resources. However, recent droughts have emphasized the importance of the conservation of this valuable resource. By practicing some of the water saving tips listed below, 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.


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

​The Home Advisor Water Conservation Throughout the Home website provides a wide range of ideas and resources on residential water use.


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.


​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.



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