Jul. 21st, 2012

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.....is hot, dusty, and perilously dry. The cracks in my yard are wide enough that the kids are starting to trip over them, and most of the flowers have stopped blooming from heat stress. I'm still watering, but just part of the garden, the new trees and shrubs, new perennials, or places where I want to dig and do earthwork soon.

If you're curious about the technical specifics of the drought, go here: http://www.kwo.org/reports_publications/Drought.htm

And download the July 17 State Drought Report. It's scary reading. The map of the counties that are already federally declared agricultural disaster areas is on page 2; the map of drought conditions is on page 5. The discussion of the state of public water supplies, and the reservoirs that feed a lot of the towns out here, begins on page 6.

It's anxiety-inducing.

My mom lives in central Kansas. Out there, they've given up on the soybean crop, and are cutting the stunted corn crop to make cattle feed. (It's not good feed, but it will keep them from. Starving, for a while.) A friend's parents live and farm in southwest Kansas; they've sold off their cattle because their water supply was running out, and their pastures were too dry to graze livestock.

A climatologist being interviewed on public radio this week said that this may be a multi-year drought in much of the Midwest and Great Plains. From reduced snowpack in the Rockies to low water flows in rivers to "dramaticly falling levels" in the Ogalala Aquifer, the outlook is alarming.

The take-away message from all this is be careful. Watch how much water you use. Think about ways to conserve, or harvest rain.


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