Implementing Task Forces
Continual monitoring is essential when using triggers for drought response, as you need to be aware of current conditions at all times. In Colorado, the Governor's Water Availability Task Force remains active regardless of drought conditions, as this is the group responsible for continuous monitoring. All other task forces are activated only when conditions meet the predetermined thresholds outlined in the drought mitigation and response plan. Activation can be tailored to specific regions of the state and for specific sectors based on where the impacts are most prevalent. For example, in 2011 the comprehensively revised plan was activated for the agricultural sector in response to extreme and exceptional drought conditions, as classified by the USDM, in southeastern and south central Colorado. It was later expanded to the entire state in 2012 as conditions continued to decline, and the Municipal Water Impact Task Force was also activated.
Once triggers for action are met, a staged drought response is initiated. This includes the activation of the Drought Task Force (DTF), which is composed of cabinet members from the Colorado Department of Agriculture, Department of Local Affairs, Department of Natural Resources, and Department of Public Safety. These members meet monthly during activation to coordinate response efforts and address cross-agency issues that arise. They also have a direct line to the governor, which can help to streamline communication and improve response times. This group is crucial for providing some of the qualitative context necessary for decision-making, while also responding on the quantitative data to guide that process.