Desperate Times As Drought Diminishes Supplies

The most severe drought in the last 100 years has states and municipalities scrambling to conserve what little water they have left.

"Officials in the central North Carolina town of Siler City estimate that without rain, they are 80 days from draining the Lower Rocky River Reservoir, which supplies water for the town's 8,200 people."

"In the Atlanta metropolitan area, which has more than four million people, worst-case analyses show that the city's main source of water, Lake Lanier, could be drained dry in 90 to 121 days."

"The hard numbers have shocked the Southeast into action, even as many people wonder why things seem to have gotten so bad so quickly."

"For the better part of 18 months, cloudless blue skies and high temperatures have shriveled crops and bronzed lawns from North Carolina to Alabama, quietly creating what David E. Stooksbury, the state climatologist of Georgia, has dubbed 'the Rodney Dangerfield of natural disasters,' a reference to that comedian's repeated lament that he got 'no respect.'"

Full Story: Drought-Stricken South Facing Tough Choices

Comments

Comments

Lake Lanier

I've always wondered what lurks at the bottom of that lake.

"Chance favors the prepared mind." - Louis Pasteur

Lurking in Lanier.

I used to spend part of my summers on that lake as a boy. "They" used to tell us stories of divers finding catfish bigger than the diver near the dam.

If the drought continues, we may find out for sure.

Best,

D

Why Things Have Gotten So Bad

"The hard numbers have shocked the Southeast into action, even as many people wonder why things seem to have gotten so bad so quickly."

It reminds me of an Andy Singer cartoon: All those people in Atlanta who spend so much time driving on the freeways are wondering why the climate is changing.

Charles Siegel

SE Drought

It's true parts of the SE are in a terrible drought. I actually would not attribute this to climate change. True, the climate is always changing, but we should be sure to differentiate between climate and weather. This isn't a 10 year or 20 year drought, just the last couple years or less.

One of the primary reasons for this drought is the dearth of tropical systems reaching the mainland USA (and tropical moisture for that matter). This is somewhat paradoxical for the more fervent supporters of the idea that global warming will make hurricanes worse and drives them further northward. Plus, if you believe is the earth is warming, the jet stream should be staying further north for more of the year, thus allowing for more tropical moisture to reach the southeast. This year, the summer upper level high pressure was not in its typical spot, thus shifting much of the rain that would fall in the SE into Texas, where they had much more than average rainfall. Also, this problem is very localized in mostly northern Alabama and Georgia, parts of Tennessee and even NC. It's not a vast dustbowl type of drought.

SE Cimate Change.

One of the things that the models tell us - and are bearing out on the ground - is that weather and climate will become more chaotic as man-made climate change continues.

And as mankind places more stressors on the ecosystem and thus becomes more dependent on stressed systems as our population increases, extreme weather becomes more of an issue on society.

Roger Pielke Sr wrote as much about the drought in CO that peaked in 2002, where he said that even though it wasn't a record, CO society was less resilient to drought than before. I just went through a meeting today where we talked about our groundwater issues and how to obtain shrinking surface water to continue growth.

Water shortages - exacerbated by man-made climate change - will be THE issue in the near future. If we can't get it right now, forget it.

Best,

D

Too Many People

Nothing to do with Altanta's 1910 metro population of 522,442 and 2007 population of 5,314,283?

Anybody proposing building moratoriums as part of the solution? There ya go.

Drought In Southeast

There is a drought in much of the southeast, not just Atlanta. See http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/16/us/16drought.html?_r=1&oref=slogin.

In another connection, I heard that they are expecting a massive die-back of wildlife in northern Kentucky, because it was so dry this year that the oaks did not produce acorns. And the map in the NY Times shows that the drought is less extreme there than in other parts of the south.

Charles Siegel

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