Biden-Harris Release Summary Report from Drought Resilience Interagency Working Group
Written by Caleb Nelson on June 1, 2022
Today, the Biden-Harris Administration released a Drought Resilience Interagency Working Group’s (IWG) Summary Report describing steps taken to date to improve “drought-stricken” communities’ long-term resilience to drought through a variety of financial and technical assistance.
As part of the Administration’s “whole-of-government” approach, the Drought Resilience IWG is confronting climate change. “Intense drought and climate change continue to threaten major economic drivers in rural communities, disrupt food systems and water supplies, endanger public health, jeopardize the integrity of critical infrastructure, and exacerbate wildfires and floods,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says.
The Drought Resilience IWG agencies are working cooperatively to address drought issues nationwide. According to a press release, “there are many historic opportunities provided by the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to provide critical funding to address water challenges.”
“Through the IWG, collaboration and coordination among federal agencies has increased in an effort to more effectively deploy resources and support during these intense, drought-stricken times. We have also worked to improve and expand our disaster assistance programs to better help producers recover and build resiliency for those being impacted by drought,” Vilsack states.
In the fiscal year 2021, the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) and USDA coordinated drought relief efforts in many of the most drought-stricken areas of the West. The collective investment totaled some $38 million for the Klamath Basin to assist farmers and Tribes.
“We remain committed to an all-of-government approach and collaboration with Tribes, irrigators, businesses and adjoining communities to address the impacts of the drought crisis and work together on long-term solutions,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland says.
Additionally, the Biden-Harris Administration is working to revitalize the collaboration of the National Drought Resilience Partnership (NDRP). Formed in 2013, the NDRP leverages multiple federal agencies, including innovative and science-driven projects to address water supply challenges.