Western Droughts Cause Serious Problems

Western Droughts Cause Serious Problems

By: Sofia Smith

The western portion of the United States is having problems with the amount of water that is available. From this issue, California as well as other states are announcing that they are in a drought. Although droughts have been common in decades past, the drought starting in 2012 has had the lowest amount of rainfall in decades. The drought is affecting many peoples’ intake on water, prices of food in our grocery stores as well as the cost of gas.

Everyday life hasn’t been affected quite drastically with this drought, but the drought is making life significantly harder for farmers.. Farmers are having to watch the amount of water they use on their crops and the water that they use to keep their livestock cool, and hydrated.

Just to make it more difficult, the price of the feed for livestock has gone up due to the lack of water. Every second farmers are losing money on feed, and their crops, as well as livestock by not having the proper necessities to keep all this a live.

Grocery stores are also getting affected by the drought. By the small amount of crops that are coming in, they are having to raise prices on the fruits and vegetables to keep the income that the store needs. Although, small farmers markets are hit the worst because big companies have an irrigating system that already irrigates while small farmers work with what they have.

Not only is the cost of fruits and vegetables going up but also the cost of meat. Usually on a farm there are dairy and meat cows, but with the drought, farmers have started making their dairy cows the slaughter cows to keep their farms small enough to irrigate.

William Snell from the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Kentucky says, “To solve for the bad situation, dairies have been sending cows to slaughter prematurely, rather than paying to keep them producing,”. Of course, “them” being those selling the feed, and for cattle.

To put a percentage to really get the mind thinking here is the difference of what Downtown Oakland in California has received from this last drought. The lowest amount of rainfall recorded in Downtown Oakland was in 1976 at 10.02 inches, that is until this year. Downtown Oakland in 2013 was recorded at 4.24 inches of rain. That is less than half of rain fall from the apparent worst drought in history.

Mount Shasta in the Northern part of California provides a lot of California’s water from the runoff of snow. Although 2013 came in with a different agenda. Shasta came in with only 37% of the water that usually comes off the hill.

How does this drought keep getting worse? How will it stop? Will this drought ever end? These are all great questions but their are many different ideas on how and why this is happening. Many people have an idea that this drought and the strange change in weather is coming from global warming. Global warming is an increase in the worlds temperature that can have a huge affect on weather. Others think that this drought is from just a change in the weather, a phase. Without scientific confirmation, however, it’s all speculation.