New Alabama Law Creating Drought Assessment and Planning Team Takes Effect

As of July 1, 2014, Alabama is going to try something new when it comes to dealing with the havoc droughts cause. Instead of approaching farmers after droughts with assistance, a new state law will allow a team to create a statewide drought plan.

The team will be known as the Alabama Drought Assessment and Planning Team, and they will be in charge of taking an assessment of potential drought conditions, developing a plan for what the state can do about drought, and also make recommendations as to water restrictions.

This new law will be appreciated by farmers throughout the state, who otherwise have to deal with the tiny peaches, burned corn, and lackluster cotton that result from a drought. Agronomy is a billion dollar industry in this state, with last year’s crops earning farmers a total of about $900 million.

“Drought is a slow and silent natural disaster that can cause water shortages, job losses and damage to crops and livestock,” said Gov. Robert Bentley, when it came to signing the act into law. “With careful monitoring and planning, we can stay ahead of potential problems associated with drought and mitigate some of the negative impacts.”

The new law takes into account that the needs for drought management might change over the years, as well, which is why it requires that the Alabama Drought Management Plan be updated at least every five years so that it is adequate for responding to potential droughts.

Alabama is not alone in its drought problems — many states are now experiencing periods of droughts not just every few years, but annually. Many states have strict requirements now regarding how much water citizens can use on a daily basis, and about 40% of people in the U.S. rely on groundwater as drinking water.