U.S. Water News Online
LINCOLN, Neb. -- University of Nebraska scientists will
help their counterparts in drought-prone Morocco better anticipate,
monitor, prepare for, and respond to drought.
The National Drought Mitigation Center at NU recently agreed to
collaborate with the Moroccan government on a three-year project to
develop a National Drought Observatory Center in the African country.
Drought preparedness is a big issue in Morocco, which suffered
droughts during the 1980s and frequently during the 1990s, said Don
Wilhite, director of the National Drought Mitigation Center.
During the project's first two years, Wilhite said he expects
three or four NU scientists to trade campuses for a few weeks with
colleagues from the Institute of Agronomy and Veterinary Science in
"We hope this project might lead to some longer-term collaboration
not only on drought issues but water resource issues in general," he
The collaboration will allow scientists from both countries to
compare notes on how they assess the frequency, severity and
localization of drought, and drought's effects on crops, livestock,
rural population, and the environment, he said.
"I never see these relationships as a one-way transfer of
information," Wilhite said. "We expect to learn a lot from this
interaction that will benefit Nebraska and the United States."
The Nebraskans will help the Moroccans develop a national drought
policy that won't be discarded between drought cycles, he said.
Droughts can't be prevented, but countries can develop plans and
policies to reduce risks associated with drought, he said. Examples
include adopting programs to reduce vulnerability of water supply
systems to water shortages or modifying crop management practices to
reduce crop losses during droughts. Detecting emerging drought early
also is critical for taking actions to mitigate drought.
Wilhite said the Lincoln-based National Drought Mitigation
center's integrated approach to preparing for drought is a model for
The center promotes and conducts research and outreach activities
on drought mitigation and preparedness. It's already collaborating
with Brazil, Mexico, Nicaragua, Argentina, Uruguay, Hungary, and
other counties on drought monitoring and planning. The center is part
of NU's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
"As far as I know, we're the only organization of our kind in the
world," Wilhite said.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Agency for
International Development are funding the Morocco project.
Return to the
U.S. Water News' past archives page
Return to the U.S. Water
Use a comma to separate e-mail addresses:
Hi, I thought you might like to read this article.