Status of the National Drought Commission (and update on the “Drought Bill”). Presented to the Interdepartmental Committee for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research Committee for Climate Analysis, Monitoring and Services (CCAMS) October 24, 2003. Background.
Presented to the
Interdepartmental Committee for Meteorological Services
and Supporting Research
Committee for Climate Analysis, Monitoring and Services (CCAMS)
October 24, 2003
In 1996, the Western Governor’s Association (WGA) adopted a resolution stating “ … a comprehensive, integrated response to drought emergencies is critical … [and that] it is important to work together and cooperatively with other affected entities to plant for and implement measures that will provide relief from the current drought and prepare for future drought emergencies”.
The desire was to create a Drought Task Force charged with:
In 1998, Congress passed the National Drought Policy Act, which created the National Drought Policy Commission (NDPC) to advise Congress on how to:
In May, 2000, the NDPC released its final report, Preparing for Drought in the 21st Century.
“The Commission believes that national drought policy should use the resources of the federal government to support but not supplant nor interfere with state, tribal, regional, local and individual efforts to reduce drought impacts.”
The guiding principles of national drought policy should:
Congress should pass a National Drought Preparedness Act to establish a nonfederal/federal partnership through a National Drought Council (NDC).
The primary function of the NDC is to ensure that the goals of national drought policy are achieved:
1) Incorporate planning, implementation of plans and proactive mitigation measures, risk management, resource stewardship, environmental considerations, and public education as the key elements of effective national drought policy;
2) Improve collaboration among scientists and managers to enhance the effectiveness of observation networks, monitoring, prediction, information delivery, and applied research and to foster public understanding of and preparedness for drought;
3) Develop and incorporate comprehensive insurance and financial strategies into drought preparedness plans;
4) Maintain a safety net of emergency relief that emphasizes sound stewardship of natural resources and self-help; and
5) Coordinate drought programs and response effectively, efficiently, and in a customer-oriented manner.
The President should appropriately direct and Congress, as necessary, should authorize and fund the following:
2.1 A viable plan to maintain, modernize, expand, and coordinate a system of observation networks that meets the needs of the public at large;
2.2 Continuation of the U.S. Drought Monitor and exploration of opportunities for its improvement and expansion;
2.3 Continuation of Drought Predictions/Outlooks and development of techniques to improve their accuracy and frequency;
2.4 A comprehensive information gateway to provide users with free and open access to relevant information;
2.5 An effective drought information delivery system to communicate drought conditions and impact to key decision makers;
2.6 Expansion of technology transfer of water conservation strategies innovative water supply techniques;
2.7 Existing and future drought-related research; and
2.8 Completion of the soil survey on all lands, with special emphasis on tribal lands.
In July, 2000, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by various federal and nonfederal entities to facilitate cooperation and coordination in those areas designated by the NDPC in its statement of goals.
That MOU established an Interim National Drought Council (INDC) to work on the resolution of drought related issues and pursue long-term drought preparedness and mitigation activities until Congress authorizes a permanent Council.
Active Participants include:
On July 24, 2003, legislation (S 1454; HR 2871) was introduced “to establish a permanent National Drought Council within the Department of Agriculture, to improve national drought preparedness, mitigation and response efforts, and for other purposes”.
Duties of the council would include:
The Secretary of Agriculture would be the federal co-chair of the Council, with a non-federal co-chair appointed by a commission made up of Government and non-Government officials to include:
Key agency roles and responsibilities are as follows:
The Department of Commerce:
The Departments of the Army and Interior:
The Department of Agriculture:
The Drought Assistance Fund shall be used to pay the costs of:
Total budget (current version): $2M / year (FY 2004 through 2011)
The role of the National Integrated Drought Information System is to provide information and decision support tools for proactive planning to develop strategies that help to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of drought and improve decision making:
On October 15-16, 2003, the WGA hosted a meeting of the National Integrated Drought Monitoring Network team.
Key findings / recommendations: