Long-Term Drought Resilience Federal Action Plan of the National Drought Resilience Partnership

President Obama established the National Drought Resilience Partnership (NDRP) in November 2013 as part of his Climate Action Plan. On March 21, 2016, Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum on Building National Capabilities for Long-Term Drought Resilience, directing the NDRP to work collaboratively to deliver on a Federal Action Plan designed to complement state, regional, tribal and local drought preparedness, planning and implementation efforts. This Action Plan lays out a series of activities to fulfill the President’s drought resilience goals, which are intended to be undertaken in 2016 or 2017.

The NDRP has framed the Plan around six broad Goals including:

Goal 1: Data Collection and Integration

Goal 2: Communicating Drought Risk to Critical Infrastructure

Goal 3: Drought Planning and Capacity Building

Goal 4: Coordination of Federal Drought Activity

Goal 5: Market-Based Approaches for Infrastructure and Efficiency

Goal 6: Innovative Water Use, Efficiency, and Technology

Each Goal has Implementation Actions, and the Lead Coordinating Agencies and Supporting Agencies involved in achieving the strategic actions. The Plan notes that, “as funding situations change, agencies will re-evaluate and re-prioritize their drought-resilience activities.”

To explore financing options for drought resilience, the Plan suggests:

  • leveraging EPA State Revolving Loan Fund program funds to support efficient irrigation infrastructure;
  • seeking contributed funds to increase investment in DOI-BOR assets;
  • leveraging USDA rural water loans to generate new opportunities for private sector investment in rural water infrastructure that would provide co-benefits such as improved water supply, water quality and flood management; and
  • working with municipalities and agricultural sectors to establish partnerships for conservation.

Examining the five-year extension of drought conditions in California, the Plan addresses California specifically under the recommended action to: ‘Study Long-Term Drought Impacts on Critical Infrastructure.’  The study will seek to identify potential strategies to mitigate and adapt to sector-specific drought impacts to California's critical infrastructure, which can then be utilized in other regions. 

The plan also calls for taking projects pioneered in California to other water basins in the country to extend best practices of federal water resource programs. The Department of Interior’s WaterSMART and the USDA’s Environmental Quality Incentives Programs are funding grants in California that also could be expanded to other regions.

Pursuing the recommended actions from the NDRP, federal agencies are already working towards drought resilience by providing improved information and data, emergency and planning assistance, landscape-scale land management improvements, and investments in new technologies and approaches to water resource management and conservation.

 

Publication Date: March 2016

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