|As part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the Obama Administration today announced an interagency National Drought Resilience Partnership to help communities better prepare for future droughts and reduce the impact of drought events on livelihoods and the economy. Responding to requests from communities, businesses, and farmers and ranchers, the National Drought Resilience Partnership will make it easier to access Federal drought resources, and will help link information such as monitoring, forecasts, outlooks, and early warnings with longer-term drought resilience strategies in critical sectors such as agriculture, municipal water systems, energy, recreation, tourism and manufacturing.
In its first year, the Partnership will focus on creating a new, web-based portal to ease access to Federal agency drought recovery resources, hosting more frequent regional drought outlook forums that provide access to experts and locally relevant information, supporting the coordination of a national soil moisture monitoring network to help improve monitoring and forecasting drought conditions, and identifying 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.
"Last year, the worst drought in generations devastated farms and ranches across the nation, and the Obama Administration took every possible measure to help," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "But our work isn’t done and we can always better prepare for the future. Today’s partnership will help rural residents, farmers, ranchers and business owners prepare for drought events like the one we experienced in 2012." Vilsack also noted the importance of increased partnership to increase drought resilience at a time when climate change is projected to increase the intensity and the number of drought events that impact agriculture.
"The impacts of drought can be devastating to local communities and economies and don’t end with the onset of fall and winter," said Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, Acting Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). "This partnership builds upon NOAA’s climate programs and products, and recent improvement to our drought forecasts to provide our many stakeholders with the critical environmental intelligence they need for drought planning and preparedness activities. This is another step in our efforts to help build communities that are resilient to a variety of weather and climate related events."
"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."
"A devastating impact of a changing climate is severe drought that hurts our families, farmers and ranchers," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. "The partnership announced today will help communities strengthen climate resilience efforts, including modernizing our water infrastructure and efficiently using our precious water resources, while also supporting the agricultural economy."
"This Partnership will provide the coordination necessary within the Administration to prepare for drought. We have valuable information to share with communities and states, and we heard them when they asked for better communication," said Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. "We are proud to be a part of this response and partnership. As climate change increases, agencies need to be ready with corresponding program actions that help communities respond to drought."