The National Integrated Drought Information System was recommended by a panel of governors at the annual meeting of the Western Governors' Association in Santa Fe.
"Better science will lead to better and more timely decisions, thus reducing or mitigating a drought's impact," said Nebraska Gov. Mike Johanns, a co-leader of the study group.
The western governors staff worked with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to develop the drought early-warning system database.
Montana Gov. Judy Martz said the nation has a policy for tornadoes and floods but no such program to respond to drought. Much of the West is in the sixth year of a drought.