The South Carolina Drought and Water Shortage Tabletop Exercise took place on September 27, 2017, at the South Carolina Emergency Operations Center in West Columbia, SC. The exercise gathered 80 participants, representing federal and state agencies, public water suppliers, county and municipal governments, industry, consulting companies, and nonprofit organizations. The purpose of the exercise was to review plans and procedures that govern state-, basin-, and local-level responses to drought and water shortages. Many of South Carolina’s drought response mechanisms were updated by the 2000 Drought Response Act and Regulations, but a systematic effort has not been made to review or assess their effectiveness. Attendees walked through a series of exercise responses to gradually worsening drought scenarios and an activation of the Emergency Operations Plan. The event helped to identify strengths and weak points of the state’s drought response and opportunities to proactively prepare for future droughts. The key needs discussed by participants included updated drought response plans and procedures to ensure a coordinated and timely response to droughts; greater educational opportunities to enhance agencies’ familiarity with the Drought Response Program and their role in drought response and mitigation; more effective communications before, during, and after drought events, across agencies and with the public; and enhanced data and information products that can be used to build common understanding of drought risks, impacts, and vulnerabilities.



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