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.
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I’m glad someone is taking action. The river by me, In California, should not even be considered a river! It’s more like a puddle of water. It makes me wonder if people out here even know what a river really looks like. What do we do when we run out?
Wow! I had no idea how widespread and long lasting the draught has been. This is definitely an issue that needs addressed I am I glad it is being brought to light. It is a concern as to what happens for the western states as the water supply runs low and what if it does run OUT? Luckily for some of us the snowpack has been higher providing a small relief, but it is not making up for the YEARS of draught we have been seeing and need to recuperate from. This is something that needs both short term and long term action items at regional and national levels as you have said. It is said to see places that used to have lush, green areas with lots of water (lakes, rivers, ponds) now just completely dry or with very low water levels. It’s killing the habitats and animals, which is so sad. Glad to see that this is being talked about and money is being invested!