Thousands of farmers are looking at a bleak future as they contemplate giving up farming given the western US water scarcity. The region runs into an unprecedented heatwave and drought. The Klamath Basin, on the Oregon-California border, is one of the worst-hit. Its 12,000 sq miles of agricultural land depends on the Upper Klamath Lake. Also depending on it are the tribal communities that surround the Klamath River.
Water has always led to disputes between the Native Americans, who depend on the fish, and the farming communities. And maintaining a balance between the needs of the different communities depending on the water has become impossible of late.
US Water Scarcity Is Here To Stay For An Indefinite Future
And this tragedy is here to stay, says Jeff Mount of the Public Policy Institute of California. The senior fellow at the Water Policy Center says that the US water scarcity is here to stay for the ‘indefinite future.’
The Klamath basin is at present projected to encounter more benign precipitation in the immediate future. But the management of irrigation and fisheries’ needs are becoming drier as warming air temperatures, rising irrigation demands, and warming waters are endangering fishing.
The US water scarcity has extended beyond California. Much of the US west is facing the driest spring in seven years. This climate disaster will strangle agriculture, fuel wildfires, and even severely affect power productions. Across 11 states the drought has affected 75% of the land. This covers 44% of the contiguous US, according to the US Drought Monitor.
While Arizona, New Mexico, West Texas, and Oklahoma will face the risk of catastrophic fires, the US water scarcity and drought will be particularly brutal for California. It will be another terrible year with uncontrollable fires, forced evacuations, destroyed lives, and death.
While the eastern part of the US gets rain regularly throughout the year, the US west is dependent on the rain that comes in at set times. And very little of that comes in between April and June. And that is terrible news for around 40 million people dependent on the Colorado River.
Flows in Colorado and Lake Powell and Lake Mead are already at record lows. The vicious cycle is bound to lead to a worse situation as the drought takes hold of the land and heats the air and land, instead of evaporating water. The fifth hottest year in history has led to the worst US water scarcity ever and the administration is clueless