The federal government has announced an interagency National Drought Resilience Partnership to help communities better prepare for future droughts and reduce the impact of drought on the economy. The partnership is designed to make it easier to access federal resources, as well as information such as monitoring and forecasts. Outlooks and early warnings with longer-term drought resilience strategies in critical sectors such as municipal water systems, agriculture, and energy will also be available. “Drought threatens our water and food supplies, parches our ecosystems, and enables deadly and costly wildfires,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “No community can take on drought alone, and this partnership will help ensure that the federal family is a strong partner in providing accessible information and helpful tools to communities to prepare for and mitigate the impacts.”
In its first year, the partnership will create a new web-based portal to ease access to federal agency drought recovery resources, host more frequent regional drought outlook forums, support the coordination of a national soil moisture monitoring network to help improve monitoring and forecasting drought conditions, and identify a single point of contact for the public. In collaboration with local, state, and regional governments, the Partnership will also undertake a pilot project in a western area hard hit by drought to create a local-scale drought resilience plan that could be applied in other areas.
About two-thirds of the continental United States was affected by drought in 2012. It impacted water supply, tourism, transportation, and near shore fisheries, with an estimated $30 billion in losses to the agricultural sector alone. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is spearheading the National Drought Resilience Partnership which also includes the Department of the Interior, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.
To access more information about the National Drought Resilience Partnership, click here.