The Biden Administration unveiled a plan on Tuesday to respond to the extreme heat crisis that currently is wracking California and the Southwest.
The plan released by John Carney, acting administrator of the Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining Regulation, and Cody Curtis, director of conservation affairs, Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation is designed to manage and protect the nation’s vital water resources during times of extreme heat. It includes raising awareness of the heat crisis and sharing resources to quickly and cost-effectively respond to heat-related emergencies.
Among other measures, the report outlines cooperation between various federal agencies on emergency issues, including water resources, as well as resilience planning and emergency preparedness, essential systems, air quality, and coastal issues.
It also seeks to decrease emissions and protect habitat for threatened wildlife and plants, and calls for public outreach and education so that people understand how the increased heat is affecting both humans and animals and change their behaviors accordingly. The report points out the life-saving benefits of protecting the aquatic systems of California’s Central Valley.
“Protecting and increasing water supplies for California is a statewide effort that requires coordination among federal agencies, but it also requires public engagement,” the report reads. “EPA recognizes that drought and heat events alone can increase water use and service demands and demand environmental efforts.”
This type of community engagement and education has been advocated by John Kerry, who has visited communities in the Middle East and elsewhere affected by heat-related disasters. The secretary of state has pushed for more public education and public support to support weather and water management measures and avoid the wasteful use of water in a place such as California.
The plan released Tuesday establishes a framework for the Trump administration to consider for investing in infrastructure projects to improve infrastructure and water supplies for the next 20 years.