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 all-of-government approach to to enhance the resilience of the West to drought and climate change 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 improve and protect the stability and sustainability of our water supplies for people and the natural environment.
In April 2021, 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.
President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is delivering historic resources to communities to help advance drought resilience and strengthen local economies. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $8.3 billion for Reclamation water infrastructure projects over five years to advance drought resilience and expand access to clean water for families, Tribes, farmers and wildlife. The investment will repair aging water delivery systems, secure dams, complete rural water projects, and protect aquatic ecosystems. The Inflation Reduction Act is investing another $4.6 billion to address Western drought.
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.