Supporting farmers, Tribes, and communities impacted by ongoing water shortages
“As the West faces unprecedent drought conditions, the Biden-Harris administration is mobilizing the federal government to provide relief to impacted communities now, while also making important investments that will help us wisely manage this shared sacred resource across the West.”
— Secretary Deb Haaland
Water is a sacred resource essential to feeding families, growing crops, sustaining wildlife and the environment, and powering agricultural businesses. Unfortunately, drought conditions in the West continue to worsen, and water allocations are at historic lows, including in areas like the Klamath River Basin and the Colorado River Basin.
There is an urgent need to minimize the impacts of drought and develop a long-term plan to facilitate conservation and economic growth, because drought doesn’t impact just one community — it affects all of us, from farmers and ranchers to city dwellers and Tribes.
To address this growing crisis, the Interior Department is helping lead the Biden-Harris administration’s whole-of-government approach to drought mitigation by coordinating with partners across the federal government, providing assistance to impacted communities, and developing long-term solutions to climate change.
We are committed to using every resource available to ensure that irrigators, Tribes, and adjoining communities receive adequate assistance and support. Our shared priority is to support efforts to build resilient communities and protect our water supplies for people and the natural environment.
Earlier this year, the White House launched an Interagency Drought Relief Working Group co-chaired by the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture. The Working Group is actively working to identify and disburse immediate financial and technical assistance for impacted irrigators and Tribes. It is also developing longer-term measures to respond to climate change and build climate resiliency.
The Biden-Harris administration's whole-of-government approach to addressing drought and confronting climate change is reflected in President Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda, which includes important investments for the western drought crisis by funding water efficiency and recycling programs, Tribal water settlements, and dam safety. The President has also recommitted to strengthening the National Drought Resilience Partnership (NDRP).
In recent months, Interior has been working to tackle the drought crisis in a variety of ways, including the launch of a new science-based web portal by the Bureau of Reclamation that provides real-time drought-related information, details drought actions taken in collaboration with stakeholders and partners, and increases public and media understanding of drought conditions.
As we navigate this growing crisis, we are committed to robust and continued engagement with state, local, and Tribal governments to develop longer term measures to respond to climate change and improve water security.