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handbook has helped several localities carry out water conservation measures to reduce their vulnerability to drought, including tiered pricing strategies.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ total civil works budget for Fiscal Year 2000 is $4 billion (plus $332 million from nonfederal and trust fund receipts). The budget includes $137.7 million for general investigations, nearly $1.4 billion for construction, and $1.9 billion for operation and maintenance. The Corps addresses drought as part of the hydrologic spectrum in its design of projects, including environmental restoration projects, and in the operation of its existing projects. But the Corps has no authority or funding specifically for drought mitigation.

A number of programs within the U.S. Department of Agriculture provide assistance for actions that can lead to drought mitigation, although none are specifically funded for this purpose. The 1954 Small Watershed Act, for example, gave the Department authority to help rural communities address natural resource concerns in small watersheds (less than 250,000 acres in size). Eligible purposes include flood control, watershed management, water conservation, municipal and industrial water supply, recreation, and fish and wildlife protection. Although the program has broad authorities, a high percentage of the funding has gone to assist local communities in installing flood control measures. There is currently a backlog of requests for assistance totaling nearly $1.4 billion. The annual appropriation is approximately $100 million.

In 1964, Congress passed the Resources Conservation and Development Act to assist local units of government in addressing erosion problems, water management problems, and economic development needs. This program provides technical and financial assistance, but available funding has been limited to technical assistance for the approximately 2,500 local Resource Conservation and Development Councils. The annual appropriation of about $36 million provides each Council with a coordinator position and clerical support.

The 1985 Food Security Act directed the Secretary of Agriculture to enroll 45 million acres of highly erodible lands into the Conservation Reserve Program. This amount was reduced in subsequent farm bills to 36.4 million acres as a Return to Table of Contents | (continue)

National Drought Policy Commission Report  19