Future climate predictions in many areas of the world entail increasing variability of weather patterns resulting in more intense and frequent droughts and floods. This, together with expanding urban populations, increasing demands on water by industry, and the requirement to feed a growing global population stress an already precarious water resource. It is well established that the water crisis is a crisis of governance. No one community of practice (technological, economic/market/ legal, or anthropological) has all of the answers. There is a need for mulltidisciplinary, integrative approaches to improve governance skills in the future. This paper considers what the best suite of policy instruments is for improving the resilience of agricultural producers and communities in responding to extreme events of drought. Through the comparison of four case studies, Alberta, Saskatchewan (both in Canada), Chile and Argentina, the policy instruments available for response to events of drought are compared and analyzed using a multi-level analysis (instruments, drivers, pressures, and redesign). First the organizations and institutions involved in these events are determined. Because of the cross cutting theme of water and agriculture of a myriad of government departments, non-profit organizations, civil society groups, and private organizations are involved in the response to events of extreme drought. the policy instruments (regulatory, market, suastive and management) associated with these organizations are identified. These instruments are then analyzed in the context of local and global drivers (global food prices, transportation issues, etc.). The ability of the instruments to improve the resilience of communities are assessed. 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