What is the DLN?

The Drought Learning Network is a peer-to-peer knowledge exchange between climate service providers and resource managers. The main goal of the DLN is to gather and share lessons learned from drought events to improve responses to future droughts. The DLN was conceptualized as a framework for stakeholders to share experiences in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from drought to inform current and future response and mitigation actions. In February 2020, service providers, federal and state officials, scientists, and stakeholders helped develop the prototype DLN for the Southwestern U.S. at a workshop in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Since the inaugural meeting, the DLN has accomplished many activities from informational webinars to developing case studies. ​

Why a DLN?

The 2018 exceptional drought over the Colorado Plateau led resource managers in the region to recall a similar trajectory from the recent past. They recalled concerns about regional drought impacts, including the potential for wildfires. Partner calls led by National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) and the SW Climate Hub (SoDRI) documented a need to capture lessons learned from previous droughts to assist resource managers in responding to future drought events at various stages.​​

Who We Are

Our network includes resource managers, policy analysists, hydrologists, climatologists, and other scientific experts; state and federal government officials; tribal representatives; extension educators; and citizens interested in helping others share their experiences related to how they can respond to and recover from drought. Team members participate in interdisciplinary research and collaboration, giving the network a diverse background and far-reaching audience. As of February 2021, the DLN features 66 people representing 33 different organizations.​


  • Inclusive: All the DLN initiatives/actions will be inclusive, diverse and equitable. The DLN strives to work with underserved communities and groups.
  • Culturally Aware: The DLN supports cultural awareness and cultural safety: recognizing that Indigenous as well as other cultural groups, have unique needs with respect to their history, culture and traditions.
  • Collaborative: The DLN applies Trust, Respect, Willingness, Empowerment, and Effective Communication to build relationships and maintain them.
  • Evidence Informed: The DLN strives for evidence informed action. All initiatives/actions and decisions promoted by the DLN are based on current research, local data and expertise.
  • Consensus Based: The DLN decisions are made through consensus rather than majority rule.
  • Transparent: The DLN aims to be open and transparent with all its initiatives and actions. Decisions take place in the public eye.
  • Flexible: Members of the DLN are empowered to have a voice in the DLN and realize that the network is open to altering ideas and inputs to best benefit the outcomes.
  • Project focused: Teams focus on needed projects and accomplish more through collaboration.
  • Impact based: The DLN strives to build drought resilience through impactful collaboration.



This two-page summary document explains what the DLN is, what it aims to do, and gives an overview of the current teams that have evolved from the DLN effort.

A thumbnail image of the first page of a Southwest Drought Learning Network infographic