Droughts are current challenges to the economic, social and environmental development of a region, as reflected in European Union (EU) water policies. In addition, the impacts of droughts can be aggravated by climate change effects, adding pressure to already water stressed areas in the EU. This paper presents a general overview of drought management policies in the EU and in Spain. The paper studies the specific case of Spain, where drought management policies have evolved from traditional emergency actions to Drought Management Plans (DMPs). Historical droughts and the main drought episodes occurring over the last 30 years in Spain, together with the actions taken and the effects produced, are analysed. The National Indicator System for Droughts has played a significant role in drought management since 2005, serving to declare drought situations, and also to apply measures and actions to be carried out by the Spanish Administration. In addition, DMPs for all River Basin Organisations (RBOs) were approved in 2007, and they have represented strategic tools with positive results in drought impact mitigation and have stressed the importance of public participation in the decision-making process for drought events. These plans must be updated in 2017 and are now being revised, taking into account the experience acquired since their approval.