Care2 will go offline for site maintenance July 31 at 9pm PST.
START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x

US Drought Exposes 'Hydro-Illogical' Water Management


Environment  (tags: animals, climate-change, CO2emissions, conservation, destruction, ecosystems, endangered, environment, globalwarming, greenhousegases, habitatdestruction, humans, nature, oceans, politics, pollution, protection, science, trees, water, weather, wildlife, w )

Kit
- 716 days ago - commondreams.org
The area has nearly four million residents and consumes 652 million gallons of water per day. American Rivers estimates that through water efficiency measures, Metro Atlanta would save 300 million to 700 million dollars, and there would be no need to->



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

Comments

Kit B. (277)
Monday August 13, 2012, 4:56 pm

The historic drought withering much of the United States this summer has revealed a need for strategies to better manage water supplies that could remain under severe pressure both this year and in the longer term.

On Friday, the U.S. Agriculture Department said that corn yields – which account for nearly 40 percent of the global harvest – would be 17 percent lower than expected, contributing to an overall rise in food prices of three to four percent next year.

Van Ayers, an agriculture and rural development specialist with the University of Missouri Extension in Bloomfield, predicts a continued expansion of irrigation systems.

“When I first moved to southeast Missouri over 20 years ago, there were approximately 300,000 acres with irrigation,” he told IPS. “Now there is over one million. This trend will not change."

The main problem this year is that farmers in southeast Missouri had to irrigate more land than they expected, and some of the systems failed.

“I don’t think anybody expected a drought this severe throughout the growing season,” said Ayers.

According to a July report from the National Climatic Data Center, 33 percent of the country was classified as experiencing a moderate to extreme drought and 55 percent fell in the category of moderate to extreme. The high plains, the midwest and the south are the areas most affected.

July 2012 was the hottest month on record for the U.S., with the average temperature at 77.6 degrees F, 3.3 degrees above the 20th century average.

On Aug. 2, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a 383-million-dollar emergency drought aid package for livestock producers and farmers. The Agricultural Disaster Assistance Act of 2012 will extend expired programmes such as the Emergency Livestock Assistance Program to help farmers to deal with the current drought.

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama announced new measures to aid the drought-stricken areas. This additional funding would provide nearly 30 million dollars.

States are also taking action. In Missouri, Governor Jay Nixon established an emergency cost-share programme to provide water for farmers and livestock producers. Some 3,712 applications have been approved, which equals 18.7 million dollars in assistance.

But emergency relief is just a bandaid on the much bigger problem of changing climate patterns and extreme weather events that will continue to impact water supplies for the foreseeable future, environmentalists say.

Gerrit Jöbsis, southeast regional director of American Rivers, calls it the “hydro-illogical cycle” – a “jargon to convey that we are illogical in our approach to managing water supply shortages.”

The cycle consists of panicking when there is a drought, failing to address the shortages with preventive measures for the future and then, once it rains, returning to the previous mismanagement of supplies until the next drought.

“This illogical approach is a cycle of ineffectiveness that we need to end,” Jöbsis told IPS.

He stressed the importance of distinguishing between water efficiency and water conservation. While water efficiency focuses on reducing waste, conservation restricts water use overall.

For the southeast region, American Rivers says water efficiency is the solution.

“In the southeast of the United States, we have a long history of taking for granted the amount of water that we have,” Jöbsis said. But in the last 40 years, cities have extended their boundaries and the population has increased, putting added pressure on water supplies.

The metropolitan area of Atlanta, Georgia is dealing with precisely these challenges.

“We generally oppose the construction of more reservoirs for water supply until communities have maximised their existing supplies through water efficiency and other means first,” Ben Emanuel, southeast associate director of water supply of American Rivers, told IPS.

The area has nearly four million residents and consumes 652 million gallons of water per day. American Rivers estimates that through water efficiency measures, Metro Atlanta would save 300 million to 700 million dollars, and there would be no need to build new dams.

Ayers also believes that in the mid-south, another area hit by drought, there is a need to efficiently manage the supply of water. Ayers’ focus is primarily on irrigation, and “the efficient use of these irrigation systems is paramount,” he told IPS.

But even in areas where the drought is not as severe, there is a need to better manage water supplies. In Washington state, a clear example of this is the Yakima basin.

Negotiations among stakeholders started back in 2009 and now environmentalists, farmers, the Yakima native nation, and state and federal governments have reached general agreement on an integrated plan.

Michael Garrity, conservation director of for Washington state from American Rivers, told IPS: “Water conservation and efficiency are an important part of the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan.”

But the plan also has other elements that need to be implemented in order to meet its goals, such as better groundwater management and renovation of existing dams.

The common thread in all these measures is simple, conservationists say: you may not be able to predict a drought, but you can be prepared when it comes.
***


by Carlota Cortes | Common Dreams
 

Angela N. (0)
Monday August 13, 2012, 5:27 pm
thanks
 

pam w. (191)
Monday August 13, 2012, 7:06 pm
"“I don’t think anybody expected a drought this severe throughout the growing season,” said Ayers."

+++++++++++++++++++++ It's called CLIMATE CHANGE and it's NOT going away!
 

Beverly C. (0)
Tuesday August 14, 2012, 12:30 pm
I would think that since farming affects so many peope, there would be many many people who would not allow themselves to forget the drought pattern once the rains arrive. --I can't believe that intelligent adults don't accept THE FACTS and act accordingly.
 

David Buck (8)
Tuesday August 14, 2012, 4:01 pm
Typical of any government type body, rather do the wrong thing and 'seen' to be doing the right, rather than do the right if it's less seen, it's all about making a good image for themselves...
 

Yvonne White (231)
Tuesday August 14, 2012, 4:31 pm
"American Rivers estimates that through water efficiency measures, Metro Atlanta would save 300 million to 700 million dollars, and there would be no need to build new dams." "But the plan also has other elements that need to be implemented in order to meet its goals, such as better groundwater management and renovation of existing dams."
Poor management & planning for Floods as well as droughts seem to run deep in the MidWest, especially on the Mississippi River!



 

Kit B. (277)
Tuesday August 14, 2012, 7:38 pm

Oh my, there is wet stuff coming from the skies, what is that stuff?
 

Michael Barth (43)
Tuesday August 14, 2012, 10:07 pm
Noted. Thanks for sharing.
 

Monica D. (580)
Wednesday August 15, 2012, 2:01 am
We humans need to restrain our numbers and demands on nature. We need to reduce climate changing pollution significantly and quickly - as Pam says above, climate change is contributing to the drought. And we need to restrain our water use, including via efficiency measures but also through a more wide-reaching approach to environmental sustainability.
 

Patricia H. (468)
Wednesday August 15, 2012, 3:41 am
noted
 

. (0)
Wednesday August 15, 2012, 6:45 am
The current heatwave and drought in the US is pretty worrying, even for those of us who do not live there. Apparently similar problems are happening elsewhere in the world, Siberia is reporting forest fires, following a dry summer and the Canary Islands (Tenerife and LaGomera are affected) are suffering as well. If anyone is interested both stories are report on www.worldcrunch.com I found this site from another post on Care2 and it is really good. It translates into English and re-posts articles from non-English speaking news sites (great for those of us who only speak one or two languages but like to see what is being reported).
 

Kit B. (277)
Wednesday August 15, 2012, 9:11 am


Sure we need to do many things, nothing about pollution is new. The industrial revolution began in the US about 1820's and even then the naturalists, could see the beginnings of filth in the waters and streets. Industrialists have not shown an interest in cleaning up or doing things to protect even their own environments. We as a global world are now at an untenable population of over 7 billion people. The United States is growing at population rates above the rest of the world. Still we try to justify the growth of people, pretend weccan feed them, and too many continue to buy into the "fairy tale" that global warming is not man-made and already at a crisis point. At a temperature increase of 0.01%C our planet is strained to keep pace with C02 absorption levels, we are now at just over 1%C increase in global temperatures.

I suppose when in the coming decades the oceans are dead and rising into coastal cities, when crops are not able to grow without huge amounts of water, when food and housing shortages finally slam us to such levels of fear and desperation, people and governments may finally respond. By then, very conservative figures estimate global temperatures will be above 2%C and irreversible.
 

Val R. (228)
Wednesday August 15, 2012, 6:00 pm
Well - love your comment regarding what is that stuff falling from the sky??? I am canning all I can of our garden - using soaker hoses to use less water who knows what next year brings,
 

Vincenzo Correale (197)
Friday August 17, 2012, 11:01 am
Noted, thks Kit!
 
Or, log in with your
Facebook account:
Please add your comment: (plain text only please. Allowable HTML: <a>)

Track Comments: Notify me with a personal message when other people comment on this story


Loading Noted By...Please Wait

 

 
Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of Care2.com or its affiliates.