Udall Proposes National Drought Information System
Congressman Mark Udall (D-CO) has introduced legislation that would create a national system to provide early warnings, forecasts, and information about drought conditions so that national, state and local communities can better address the impacts of drought.
H.R. 5136, the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) Act of 2006, designates the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as the lead agency to create this system. It directs NOAA to build a national drought monitoring and forecasting system, create a drought early warning system, provide an interactive drought information delivery system, and designate mechanisms for improved interaction with the public. NIDIS will integrate information from key indicators of drought to provide timely assessments and provide critical real-time data to decision makers on the Federal, state, local, and tribal levels, as well as to the private and public sectors.
"Colorado has experienced severe drought conditions in recent years, which have affected crop yields, increased fire hazards, lowered water levels, and damaged wildlife habitats. Droughts are costly to our economy and strike at the heart of our quality of life in the west. My legislation will expand NOAA’s efforts in drought monitoring and forecasting, improving the dissemination of data to ensure more informed and effective decisions are made about drought," said Udall.
The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Science, of which Udall is a member. U.S. Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX) is the other chief sponsor of the legislation.