Authorities throughout Eastern Africa are preparing and advising the public that the country will be expecting higher temperatures and less rainfall in March and April of this year. Meteorologists believe that the drought is human-caused climate change which is allowing an increase warming in the Indian Ocean and this has caused more cyclones to occur. It worries agricultural workers as this is one of the most severe droughts in forty years! With a major drought in the country, inhabitants will experience an increase in malnutrition, threats to livelihoods and severe risks to over 29 million people living in the area. There is hope in the upcoming months that it will bring rain to the area and potentially provide “wetter than average” seasons.
Farmers who rely on a federal irrigation project on the California-Oregon border will get one-seventh of the Klamath River water they would receive in a wetter year as historic drought grips the U.S. West. More than 1,000 farmers and ranchers who draw water from a 257-mile-long (407-kilometer) river that flows from the Upper Klamath Lake to the Pacific Ocean will have access to roughly one-seventh the amount they could get in a wetter year, a federal agency announced Monday. Downstream salmon will receive about half the water they’d get if the reservoir was full. It’s the third year in a row that severe drought has impacted farmers, fish and tribes in a region where there’s not enough water to satisfy competing demands.
For the past 3 weeks, NorthWestern Energy has been reducing the amount of water that can be released from the Hebgen Dam into the Madison River so that they can store more water in the reservoir for use this summer. These actions are in an effort to preserve the aquatic environment (such as keeping the water cooler for fish life) of the reservoir, allow for irrigation and electricity generation at hydroelectric dams, and preserve water levels for the quickly-approaching summer heat. A drought in the area continues throughout this. Even though a federal license prevents the flows from being below 600 cubic ft per second, NorthWestern Energy plans to reduce the flow to 550 cf/s. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, state and federal wildlife and other agencies have been working together on this management plan.
The United States’ largest reservoirs’ water supply is declining. Lake Mead is a reservoir off of the Colorado River near Las Vegas. The reservoir has dropped 143 feet only 1070 feet above sea level. The change in water surface can be seen as it looks like a bathtub ring where there is a stark change in color. This is the lowest it has been since 1930 when the reservoir was filled. Hydrologists had warned about this, but now significant changes need to be made to water consumption in order to not further the drought.
California is experiencing one of the driest starts to spring in decades, data showed Friday, and absent a heavy dose of April and May showers the state’s drought will deepen and that could lead to stricter rules on water use and another devastating wildfire season.
Monday, March 28th, 2022 the state of California further asked residents to cut back on their water usage. The cutbacks are to be determined by cities and local water districts as each region may have different needs. Per the governor’s nonmandatory request for the reduction of water usage, these districts have reduced their consumption by 6%. Roughly 385 cities and local water districts will be responsible for producing six levels of a drought response plan based on their location’s needs. With the severity of the situation, many districts will move into the second step of their response plan. That could mean limiting the watering of public spaces like parks and cemeteries, and decorative features like fountains.
Southern Oregon have persuaded the fifth Oregon county to declare a drought emergency due to the low water storage and current snowpack levels in the area. Jackson county made the declaration on Wednesday (03/23) but this follows four other counties which have made the same declaration. This year follows other years of drought along the Pacific Northwest, however this year is predicted to be worse than the last two years – the temperatures are higher than normal and the annual precipitation rates are lower than average. The emergency declarations made will allow for water rights to be overridden and allow for drought mitigation to take place – they are also then eligible for state and federal disaster relief funds.
A section of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas have been suffering from either near-drought conditions or drought for the past 6 months. Then, with the additon of the March fires that bruned nearly 2,100 square miles in those four states. The fire also burned more than 20,000 livestock and cattle and destroyed $500 million worth of property during that time. The threat of drought is omnipresent in this region, but these recent ones have been so extended that the winter wheat crop is now threatened.
The June forcast is for the drought to persist in a crecent-shaped region from northeastern Colorado, across southwestern Kansas and into central Oklahoma. The drought is also expected worsen the most in the Texas Panhandle. If it continues as it, then the catt;e and livestock will not have any grass to graze in, causing mass losses with the farmers.
Overall the number of Ethiopian’s needing food aid has surged to more than 2 million from 5.6 million solely because of the drought. Previously the United Nations fought to get $900 million in aid for the horn of Africa to help them especially due to lack of food and water. In many of the areas of agriculture in Ethiopia the crops are failing during each harvest season. The reason the crops are failing is a lack of water and is becoming is severe problem now being looked into by the head of National Disaster Risk Management Commission. The number of people in need of water and food has now risen to 7.7 million people, requiring 432,000 tonnes of food solely until the end of the year. Ethiopia’s economy is on the rise currently but its economy still relies heavily on agriculture and if so many crops are failing what is to happen to the people that rely on their crops for money? The agriculture industry in Ethiopia employs over three quarters of the population so if these drought continue, it could really change the country as a whole.
After reading the article I was curious to know the causes of the drought. Does it have to do with global warming or is this just a characteristic of the region? I also wonder if this my change the focus of the economy and begin to create different things that are more suitable to the location.
This article discusses a recent UN report that estimated that by 2040, one in four children will live with water scarcity worldwide. What I thought was most interesting in this article is that it discusses linkages between ongoing droughts and other hazards as well as how the humans in certain areas are exacerbating the problem of water shortage. Linkages between hazards can be seen in places like Iran, which is undergoing such a severe drought that the soil is eroding; this soil erosion leads to damage to forests, an increase in dust storms, and increased air pollution. The human effect on hazards can be seen across the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa. The article names constant conflict, increased industrialization, and large numbers of people flocking to certain areas as factors that are rapidly depleting water in areas already under drought. It also mentioned an instance where efforts to conserve water actually ended up harming the environment; Lake Urmia, a large water resource for Iran, has reportedly shrunk to 12% of its size since the 1970’s due to droughts and bad water management policies upstream.
In this article, it can be seen that certain hazards in this situation are fixed; people cannot get rid of the drought or the hazardous events that are following it. However, governments can take steps to reduce some of the exacerbating effect that humans are having on the environment as well as implement techniques to mitigate the effects of the drought.