Fall has arrived in the US, but the summer drought still drags on for many areas of the nation – with a few states in danger of running out of water. High temperatures mixed with scarce rainfall has left millions of acres of land destroyed by wildfires. In addition to the wildfires, the devastation to farmlands in the affected areas has resulted in an estimated $900 million in crop and $350 million in dairy and livestock revenue lost. These losses are now being felt far beyond the drought-stricken states, with many seeing increased prices at the grocery stores and limited product availability.
While the California drought has been making headlines for quite some time, it isn’t the only state in danger of running out of usable water. There are currently eight states in dire need of precipitation according to a recent article on MSN Money and a few of them may surprise you.
- Utah – Nearly 27% of Utah is experiencing severe drought, which has been the case for over three years. According to MSN, earlier this year the USDA designated seven Utah counties as primary natural disaster areas when the precipitation was just 47% of the yearly average.
- Montana – Over 25% of Montana is experiencing severe or extreme drought this year. In July, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack declared 15 state counties natural disaster areas due to the ongoing drought. In addition to the lack of water, many pastures have been lost due to the wildfires that are common in drought conditions.
- Idaho – Nearly half of the state is experiencing drought, affecting nearly 1.5 million residents. Drought conditions have increased the number of wildfires, several of which are currently burning in parts of the state, leading to evacuations.
- Washington – The entire state of Washington is experiencing some level of drought, leaving natural resources strained within the state. In July, fishing was restricted in more than 60 rivers and streams in an effort to protect wildlife because of low water flows and high temperatures.
Check out the full list of states in danger at MSN Money.
Water shortage is a serious issue in much of the country, and whether you’ve had a wet summer or experienced a drought, water conservation is the key to sustaining one of our most precious resources. Encouraging your community to be proactive in protecting your water sources is essential. At the National League of Cities (NLC) Conference in November, we unveiled tools for our partner cities to help encourage water conservation. Learn more at http://www.utilitysp.net/slaweek/.