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Drought resilience targeted in new executive order

TAGS: Policy
National Drought Resilience Partnership looks at how agency partnerships can improve water resource management.

The President issued an executive order (EO) on Oct. 13 on Modernizing America’s Water Resource Management & Water Infrastructure, which requires specific actions to help improve water use for agricultural industries. During the National Integrated Drought Information System Executive Council fall meeting on Oct. 20, National Drought Resilience Partnership (NDRP) staff provided an overview of NDRP’s role under the EO.

Established in 2016, NDRP is an interagency task force responsible for enhancing coordination of federal drought resilience policies and monitoring the implementation of the activities and goals as set out in the presidential memorandum that established the partnership. Under the EO, NDRP will implement the “Priority Actions Supporting Long-Term Drought Resilience” document issued on July 31, 2019.

“Our agencies have been working together for years to address water concerns, including drought,” said Bill Northey, undersecretary of farm production and conservation at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and first co-chair of NDRP. “These partnerships are a large part of how we can protect our food and water supply and build resilience on our farms and ranches and in our communities and businesses.”

The EO also establishes the Water Subcabinet as an interagency Water Policy Committee of federal leaders to promote efficient and effective coordination across federal agencies engaged in water-related matters and directs those agencies to work together where they have joint or overlapping responsibilities, including with drought resilience.

“The Trump Administration is taking unprecedented steps at the federal level to coordinate and empower states, tribes, local communities and water users to promote drought preparedness and resiliency and ensure reliable water supply throughout the West,” said Dr. Tim Petty, assistant secretary for water and science at the U.S. Department of the Interior and second co-chair of NDRP. “The Water Subcabinet and the NDRP will focus on the needs of the American communities as they prepare, service and recover from drought.”

The EO directed the subcabinet to submit a report within 120 days that recommends actions to address a number of water-related issues, identify a recommended lead agency and other relevant agencies, and set out agency milestones for fiscal years 2021-25. Among the recommendations to be included in the report will be actions to implement the NDRP “Priority Actions Supporting Long-Term Drought Resilience” document.

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