Conceptual definitions, formulated in general terms, help people understand the concept of drought. For example:
Drought is a protracted period of deficient precipitation resulting in extensive damage to crops, resulting in loss of field.
Conceptual definitions may also be important in establishing drought policy. For example, Australian drought policy incorporates an understanding of normal climate variability into its definition of drought. The country provides financial assistance to farmers only under “exceptional drought circumstances,” when drought conditions are beyond those that could be considered part of normal risk management. Declarations of exceptional drought are based on science-driven assessments. Previously, when drought was less well defined from a policy standpoint and less well understood by farmers, some farmers in the semiarid Australian climate claimed drought assistance every few years.