Drought is no stranger in the western United States, and there are signs that it may soon become an even more enduring problem.
In response, the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) is looking for partners in its Drought Relief Corps (DRC), a new service program being developed to help communities prepare for drought, lessen its impact when it comes, and recover from its effects.
There’s an increasing awareness that it’s not a matter of if your community will be hit by drought. It’s a matter of when.
A January 2012 article in Scientific American, for example, pointed out that conditions in parts of the western United States resemble Australia before that country’s devastating 10-year Millennial Drought, the “worst and most consistent dry period in its recorded history.”
Both countries have arid regions with large populations and irrigated agriculture combined with increasingly low rivers and reservoirs. Throw in the uncertainty caused by a changing climate, and the magazine was prompted to title the article “Devastating Drought Seems Inevitable in American West.”
“Ironically, increasing drought is like a storm cloud on the horizon. It’s something we can see coming,” said Carl Little, NCAT’s manager of sustainable-agriculture programs. “But these are lean, cash-strapped times for a lot of communities, and they just don’t have the resources to get ready.”
And that’s where the new DRC could help out.
NCAT is recruiting a range of partner organizations interested in hosting DRC members in their community:
• Non-profit organizations
• Community-based water agencies
• Governmental entities (in limited-resource, drought-prone, or drought-stricken communities)
DRC members will provide 11 months of service in the communities where host organizations are located. They will help the communities prepare, mitigate, and recover from drought, as well as respond to any local disasters.
The host organizations will be able to design a program fitted to their community, and they will supervise the DRC members, track their work, and pay a cost share for the members. NCAT will handle the rest – including managing the program and recruiting and training members – and help out with the supervision and reporting.
At the moment, DRC is contingent on funding levels, and NCAT will use applications from potential partners in part as a way to gauge interest in the program. For more information on the Drought Relief Corps or to begin the host-site application process, go online at http://drought.ncat.org/.
If you’d like to know more about NCAT’s many projects, including AmeriCorps, visit our website at www.ncat.org.
Since 1976, the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) has been helping people by championing small-scale, local and sustainable solutions to reduce poverty, promote healthy communities and protect natural resources. In partnership with businesses, organizations, individuals and agricultural producers, NCAT is working to advance solutions that will ensure the next generation inherits a world that has clean air and water, energy production that is efficient and renewable, and healthy foods grown with sustainable practices. More information about its programs and services is available at www.ncat.org or by calling 1-800-ASK-NCAT.