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Mitigation. Mitigation is often associated with actions taken after the fact to remedy damage caused by human or natural disturbances. In the context of this report, we use the term "mitigation" to describe actions taken prior to and during drought events to reduce potential impacts and thus reduce the costs of responding to drought. As such, mitigation is an essential, proactive element of drought preparedness.

Proactive drought mitigation comprises a broad range of measuresófrom the installation of livestock watering ponds on ranches and technologies and methods for capturing storm water in rural and urban settings to state-of-the-art wastewater treatment that allows reuse of water. We learned during our hearings about many mitigation measures aimed at water conservation during our hearings, including testimony about the "drought-proofing" value of installing ultra-low flow toilets in residences in southern California. We note that attempts to repeal plumbing fixture standards, which are important to the success of ultra-low flow toilet programs, or other long-term conservation standards in the 1992 Energy Policy Act should be considered in the larger context of the need for drought preparedness.

We observed an example of state-of-the-art technology at the Scottsdale Water Campus in Arizona and heard about other wastewater treatment and reuse programs from witnesses during our Los Angeles hearing. These types of measures may be aimed specifically at reducing the potential impacts of drought. Or, they may be used to expand water supplies for growing populations, in which case the larger population may still need to plan proactive mitigation of drought impacts.

Within federal government programs, we found that water supply and droughts are considered together. As one example, the Bureau of Reclamationís 2001 budget includes significant amounts for water delivery projects that can help reduce the impacts of drought. These include $65.3 million for the Central Valley Project in California, $33.7 million for the Central Arizona Project, $29.7 million for the Mni Wiconi Project in South Dakota, and $21.3 million for the Garrison Diversion Unit in North Dakota. The budget also contains requests of $22 million for water reclamation and reuse and $2.2 million for the Bureauís small projects loan program. In addition, the Bureauís water conservation program and guidance in the Bureauís tiered pricing handbook has helped several localities carry out water conservation measures to reduce their vulnerability to drought, including tiered pricing Return to Table of Contents | (continue)

18 National Drought Policy Commission Report