According to Alice Hill, presidential aide on the climate issue, about 12,5% of the continental U.S. was facing a problem of drought as of March. It means that over 39 million people which is one eighth of the population of the country, experiencing drought. The states that suffer the most are those in the West. For instance, California is going through its 5th year of fighting with draught.
On Monday Obama issued a presidential memorandum and separate action plan. It sets the goals for the federal government: to share information about the risks that drought brings with authorities of all levels, starting with regional and ending with tribal, and to improve the organization of draught-related activities.
Among many negative draught effects are energy costs increasing, effects on the economy, infrastructure and food supply. Because of the climate change, drought conditions are expected to become even worse, so fighting the change is one of the main priorities for Obama.
Hill says that the draught will become a bigger challenge due to the climate change and that is why a more comprehensive strategy of using existing resources to deal with the draught is required.
Last year Obama met with leaders from California, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Montana, Oregon and Wyoming and $110 million were pledged by federal agencies to help them fight the draught.
On Tuesday, which is also World Water Day, there will be a “water summit” in the White House. The goal is to raise awareness of how important reliable and safe water resources are.
The initiatives on drought were released during Obama’s visit to Havana.