Earlier today, the Family Farm Alliance and California Farm Bureau Federation provided drought management recommendations to the organizers of the White House Drought Symposium. The Alliance and Farm Bureau were two of nearly 40 diverse stakeholder groups invited to Washington, D.C. last summer to discuss the federal government’s role in building drought resilience into water management systems and the steps that federal agencies should take to forestall future drought crises. Organized through the National Drought Resilience Partnership (NDRP) the symposium brought together a small group of high-level experts on water and drought issues at all levels of government, academia, the agricultural sector, conservation organizations, and the private sector. NDRP intends to produce a summary of the Symposium, including listing the barriers to and opportunities for federal action so identified by symposium participants, distinguishing between opportunities that exist strictly within the federal government and those that require partnership with non-federal stakeholders.
The joint letter with the California Farm Bureau lays out a vision for successful solutions to deal with future droughts. Western irrigators in California and elsewhere need flexible, streamlined policies and new affordable financing tools that provide balance and certainty to support collaborative efforts and manage future water infrastructure challenges. Solutions in all of these areas will be crucial to future enhanced agricultural production, conservation and community outcomes in the West.