If you live somewhere that you can complain about rain every day, consider yourself fortunate. Nearly all of Texas, Florida and large swaths of the southwest and eastern seaboard are experiencing record droughts.
Accompanying droughts are record wildfires. Already this year, there have been an average of 290 acres of crops burned per wildfire, with the most catastrophic events in western Texas. From February to April, over 6,000 wildfires broke out, damaging 1.7 million of acres of crops.
It’s not only in our backyard, but around the world too.
Southern Florida is being hit by “extreme” drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. With no end in sight, the South Florida Water Management District is forcing farmers to cut water use by 45 percent on top of the 15 percent cutback already in place.
But the drought is not only affecting farmers; it could affect all water supplies too. More than 60 percent of the Everglades water conservation area is dry. With Lake Okeechobee’s water levels at record lows, the Everglades would have been a back-up source. But with water so scarce, Florida officials are scrambling to figure out how to keep crops growing.
Texas is by far the hardest hit. To date, officials are reporting 9,000 wildfires, more than 400 homes destroyed or damaged, and 2.2 million acres burnt up. The last seven months have been the driest since 1895, according to the National Climatic Data Center.
This could have devastating effects on the rest of the nation as Texas serves as the hub for most wheat growth. With rocketing gas prices and food prices, we could see serious price hikes in the coming months for basic foods.
In China, over half a million people are short of drinking water. Almost 1,400 reservoirs in Central China are unusable due to dead water. The lack of rising water levels also affects the world’s largest hydroelectric project in China, the Three Gorges Dam.
The drought has lasted for five months now and there isn’t any indication that it will let up.
France is experiencing the worst drought in the past 50 years. As with Texas, France is a major supplier of wheat, barley and sugar beets to the European Union.
Photo credit: Public Domain
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