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Biden-harris administration awards $4.9 to advance drought monitoring and prediction in u.s. west through the investing in america agenda

Image of dried up, drought-stricken lake in California.
A visibly low water level is present in this aerial view of Enterprise Bridge on Lake Oroville in Butte County, California. On October 28, 2021, the storage was 970,851 reservoir acre-feet, which is 27 percent of total capacity.

Today, the NOAA announced $4.9 million in funding for the agency’s labs and research partners to improve drought monitoring and prediction in the American West. 

This research combines $3.1 million in funding from NOAA’s National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) program and $1.8 million from the Inflation Reduction Act to improve decision-makers’ capacity to protect life, property and ecosystems in the region from drought. 

“Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda and the historic Inflation Reduction Act, this investment will support NOAA and its partners in better preparing Western communities for droughts in the coming years and decades,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “By expanding and upgrading our drought monitoring and prediction capabilities, the Biden-Harris Administration is making communities across the American West more resilient to the effects of climate change.”

Drought is a common feature of the U.S. West, driven by the region’s unique geography, location and climate. And it can exact a high toll. 

In 2022, a single drought event in America’s West cost $23.3 billion. Federal and state water agencies, Tribal governments, water utilities, electric supply providers, reservoir operators, wildfire managers and other stakeholders frequently pose questions such as: “What is driving the extreme and unprecedented drought conditions in the West?” and “Will the drought end, or is it evidence of a long-term change?” Answers to those questions generated by this foundational and applied science research, will help communities plan and prepare for droughts which are amplified by climate warming.

“The future of the West depends on meeting the crisis of water availability with ingenuity and resolve,” said Sarah Kapnick, Ph.D., NOAA chief scientist. “I’m excited to see the results of these new investments in science that will prepare managers, stakeholders and communities to anticipate, react to and manage the increasing challenges posed by the water systems critical to their lives and economies.”

NOAA’s Climate Program Office’s Modeling, Analysis, Predictions and Projections (MAPP) program, in collaboration with the NIDIS program, will support seven innovative, impactful projects that will improve the nation’s resilience at a critical time in the fight against the drought crisis. The projects are funded for three years and will cover drought issues across the southwestern U.S.

For more information on the seven funded projects, see the full list.

Visit NOAA’s Inflation Reduction Act website to learn about current and future funding opportunities. Visit the MAPP-NIDIS Drought Research Competition webpage to learn more about current and future MAPP-NIDIS collaborations and competitions. 

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