Severe Drought In Texas
PSA by Katy Yut
Water: Where does it come from?
Running out: Will it happen?
The Texas Committee on Environmental quality states that approximately 23 communities are within 180 days of running out of water. Most of these communities are located in West Texas, where the drought is most severe.
If a city were to run out of water, they would be forced to truck quantities of water in, which would be expensive and burdensome.
Impacts: How does water usage affect ecology?
The excess and wasteful use of water seen throughout Texas has many negative effects on the surrounding environment.
The most visible effect, seen in the various plants, is the death of shrubbery, trees, grasses, and other plants. When drought becomes severe, laws are put in place to prevent residents from using valuable drinking water on lawns and flowerbeds. This causes all plants in sight to shrivel and die, covering the landscape in brown.
Another effect of drought is increased soil temperature. When sunlight hits the soil, it heats the ground, eliminating any remaining moisture that may have been captured underground.
Texas produces 55% of US crop, and the US exports 2/3 of yields to China, Mexico, Vietnam, and Thailand. Over half of Texas' cotton crop has been lost to drought, increasing cotton prices as well as textile demands.
The drought has not only effected the cotton industry, but ranching as well. Ranchers are forced to sell significant amounts of cattle and livestock because they can no longer feed or water them. This causes the longterm price of beef to increase dramatically, because the supply of healthy cattle is dwindling.
In addition to cash crops like cotton, consumer crops are also being devastated. An entire hay crop was lost due to drought, making it extremely expensive and difficult to feed cows in the winter. This in turn causes even more cattle to die, once again raising prices.
The lack of moisture in the atmosphere and land has caused an alarming increase in wildfires. Fire is raging through forests, burning the bone-dry landscape to ashes.
The main ting that citizens can do to help as individuals is appreciate water more. Before the drought Texans viewed water as a steady source that would always be readily available. This, however, is evidently not the case. Being more conservative with this valuable necessity of life can go a long way. By taking shorter showers, turning off water when it's not being used, not watering gardens and lawns, running the dishwasher less, and overall being more cognizant of usage, individuals can make a large impact in the amount of available water.
Stop the flow before it goes!
- 2011 yielded the worst year of drought in Texas history
- 97% of Texans are in drought conditions
- Billions of dollars are being put toward water funds
- Water prices are soaring
- In the next 50 years Texas' population is projected to increase 82%
- In 2060 Texans will need 22% more water per year