Photo retrieved from: www.seacoastonline.com
“Much of Texas is bone dry, with scarcely any moisture to be found in the top layers of soil. Grass is so dry it crunches underfoot in many places. The nation’s leading cattle-producing state just endured its driest seven-month span on record, and some ranchers are culling their herds to avoid paying supplemental feed costs.
May is typically the wettest month in Texas, and farmers planting on non-irrigated acres are clinging to hope that relief arrives in the next few weeks.
“It doesn’t look bright right at the moment, but I haven’t given up yet,” said cotton producer Rickey Bearden, who grows about two-thirds of his 9,000 acres without irrigation in West Texas. “We’ll have to have some help from Mother’s Nature.”
That the drought is looming over the Southwest while floodwaters rise in the Midwest and South reflects a classic signature of the La Nina weather oscillation, a cooling of the central Pacific Ocean.
This year’s La Nina is the sixth-strongest in records dating back to 1949.
“It’s a shift of the jet stream, providing all that moisture and shifting it away from the south, so you’ve seen a lot of drought in Texas,” Mike Halpert, deputy director of the federal government’s Climate Prediction Center in Silver Spring, Md.”
Read more: Associated Press
Retrieved from: NY Times
“Sardis Lake, a reservoir in southeastern Oklahoma young enough to have drowned saplings still poking through its surface and old enough to have become a renowned bass fishery, is not wanting for suitors.
“Oklahoma City and fast-growing suburbs like Edmond want to see the water flowing through their shower heads someday. So do the water masters of Tarrant County, Tex., 200 miles to the south, who are looking to supply new subdivisions around Fort Worth and are suing for access.
“Now another rival has arrived: the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes, who were exiled to southeastern Oklahoma 175 years ago and given land in the area.
“Gregory Pyle, chief of the Choctaw nation, said his tribe would sue to win some of the water if necessary. “All this water was controlled originally by the Indian tribes in this area,” Mr. Pyle said. “It is all Choctaw and Chickasaw water.”
“The tribes want the state to recognize them as joint owners. The issue has been increasingly on the minds of city planners in fast-developing cities as they contemplate the prospect of tapping other existing water sources.
“By midcentury, water is expected to loom as large as oil in the economic and political life of the country, as parties race to lock up supplies. As droughts exacerbated by climate change and by population growth expand in the Great Plains and the Southwest, Indian water rights loom as a largely unsettled — and unsettling — factor that could affect the price and availability of water to millions of homes and businesses.”
Read more: NY Times