Thursday, March 05, 2015

National Drought Mitigation Center

Drought Headlines

We select interesting and representative drought stories from all over the U.S. and around the world. We group them into the same categories that the Drought Impact Reporter uses, as well as a few others. Subscribe to Drought Headlines Drought Headlines RSS

Drought Headlines Archive

General Awareness

LCRA says drought now worse than '47-'57 drought
KTBC-TV MyFoxAustin (Texas), Feb 18, 2015
Central Texas
Near historical low inflows to the Highland Lakes and the duration and intensity of the drought spurred the Lower Colorado River Authority to describe the current drought as being worse than the 1947 to 1957 drought.
"This drought has gone on long enough and been severe enough to where it has become the new standard by which we judge drought in Central Texas and it's what defines our supplies," said the vice president of the LCRA, headquartered in Austin.
Panhandle lags in snowpack
The Coeur d' Alene Press (Idaho), Feb 17, 2015
Idaho
The normally snowy northern panhandle is lacking snow this year, measuring 50 to 60 percent of the median, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Study Sees Even Bigger Longer Droughts for Much of US West
The New York Times, Feb 12, 2015
Western U.S.
Climate change may bring intense megadroughts to the Southwest and Central Plains, said lead author Benjamin Cook, a NASA atmospheric scientist. These droughts, projected to take place beyond 2050, are expected to be more severe than previously predicted.
Driest January in history: Bay Area swings from boom to bust after wettest December
San Jose Mercury News (Calif.), Jan 29, 2015
California
The second snow survey of the year at Echo Summit revealed a water equivalent of 2.3 inches or 12 percent of average on Jan. 29. San Francisco, Oakland and Sacramento set new precipitation records for January with no moisture recorded. The state seems to be headed into a fourth consecutive year of drought.
Forecasts show drought continuing in California, Southwest
San Jose Mercury News (Calif.), Jan 15, 2015
Southwestern U.S.

The start of the year has been unusually dry in the Southwest, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Weather and Climate Center, and forecasts do not show improvement for Northern California and Nevada.

Agriculture

2014 Kansas crop values down as drought, market takes toll
Salina Journal & Salina.com (Kan.), Feb 24, 2015
Kansas
The value of principle Kansas crops fell to $6.51 billion in 2014 as drought and lower grain prices took their toll. The National Agricultural Statistics Service compared the 2014 figure to previous years’ values of $7.85 billion in 2013 and $8.09 billion in 2012. The state’s wheat crop was valued at $1.51 billion, corn at $2.12 billion, soybeans at $1.38 billion and sorghum at $755.2 million.
California citrus exports hurt by West Coast labor dispute
San Jose Mercury News (Calif.), Feb 15, 2015
California
On top of the drought damage and high water prices endured by California citrus growers, the West Coast labor dispute has caused additional financial losses for growers. Fewer citrus fruits were being exported near the peak of the season as the movement of goods through seaports slowed. With a larger supply of fruit available in the U.S., prices have fallen, costing citrus farmers as much as 40 percent of their usual profits.
California Dairies Look To Midwest’s Greener Pastures
NET (Lincoln, Neb.), Dec 17, 2014
California, Midwest
California dairy owners are increasingly selling cattle and moving to the Midwest for new opportunities to raise dairy cattle. High feed costs, state business and environmental regulations, drought and, in some cases, almonds, have driven farmers to give up on the dairy business. Almond production is attractive because demand for the nut is high, as is the profit margin.
South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas are popular states drawing dairymen from California.
Bad Year for Big Country Cotton Growers
KTAB TV 32 & KRBC TV 9 (Abilene, Texas), Dec 16, 2014
Texas
Low prices for cotton and reduced cotton production due to drought has hurt farmers significantly in the Big Country of Texas. A cotton ginner reported that most of the cotton in the region was shredded because cotton production was so low. With less cotton to gin, the gin brought in fewer workers, who will certainly miss the paycheck.
Water worries multiply in Eastern Oregon
Capital Press (Salem, Ore.), Dec 11, 2014
Oregon
Three consecutive years of drought and meager snowfall in Eastern Oregon have cost farmers tens of millions in lost or unplanted crops. Water supplies for 2015 were not looking very good because the project usually carries over 350,000 to 500,000 acre-feet of available storage, but only had 30,000 acre-feet to carry over this year.

Business & Industry

Hydrologist: Big Island ‘in a moderate drought’
West Hawaii Today (Kailua-Kona), Feb 20, 2015
Big Island
Water haulers on the east side of the Big Island were chaotically busy and booked for weeks in advance because the area has gotten only a few downpours since Jan. 3. Many households in Puna have rain catchments systems that were dry or nearly so. One water hauler usually delivers about 40 loads of 3,000 gallons per month at this time of year, but the demand has risen to at least 200 water deliveries per month. They do not have access to enough trucks to serve customers as quickly as needed and transport water 15 hours per day in an effort to meet demand.
Family-owned California ski resorts struggle from drought
Associated Press, Feb 13, 2015
California
The snow drought in the Sierra Nevada has hurt resorts of all sizes as warm temperatures led to rain rather than coveted snow. The President’s Day weekend is typically the busiest weekend for skiing, but many resorts were closed.
Despite drought, California exports on track for record year
Sacramento Business Journal (Calif.), Dec 08, 2014
California
California’s agricultural exports were 5.9 percent lower from August through October, compared to the same time frame in 2013. Drought was the reason for the reduction.
Marin Sun Farms to close San Francisco facility
SFGate.com (San Francisco), Nov 17, 2014
San Francisco
Marin Sun Farms will close its San Francisco meat processing plant at the end of 2014. The rising cost of doing business and the lingering financial impacts from drought on beef producers made it a wise decision to shutter the San Francisco plant.
State exports stay strong despite slowing ag shipments
The Sacramento Bee (Calif.), Nov 04, 2014
California
California’s exports of non-manufactured goods, consisting of mainly agricultural produce and raw materials, were nearly the same as last year, which analysts say was a byproduct of the exceptional drought gripping the state.
“With each passing month, we are seeing mounting evidence of the adverse impact the drought is having on California’s multibillion-dollar agricultural export trade,” said Jock O’Connell, an international trade adviser with Beacon, a consulting firm with offices in the Bay Area and Los Angeles.

Energy

California ISO: Challenging 2014 Summer but Reliability Held Firm
Reuters, Oct 20, 2014
California
Drought curbed California hydropower production this summer by 1,628 megawatts.
Drought Shutters Hydro Power Generation
KOLO-TV (Reno, Nev.), Jul 30, 2014
Western Nevada
Three hydropower plants belonging to the Truckee Meadows Power Authority were shutting down because there was not enough water to keep the plants operating. The plants will probably be able to generate hydropower again in January or February.
Drought hinders state's emissions goals
San Francisco Chronicle, Jul 20, 2014
California
Drought has cut into hydropower production in California, driving energy costs higher as the state turns to other more expensive energy sources. Hydropower generation dropped from 18.2 percent in 2011 to 11.7 percent in 2012 when drought began.
Despite years of decreases in greenhouse gas emissions since 2004, California’s emissions began to rise in 2012, due to drought and the closing of the San Onofre nuclear plant in San Diego County. Emissions data for 2013 were not yet available.
With drought comes downturn in hydroelectricity generation
Austin American-Statesman (Texas), May 23, 2014
Central Texas
Hydropower generation by the Lower Colorado River Authority was 69 percent lower in 2013 than in 2011, due to reduced flows from the Highland Lakes.
California may rely on more gas-fired generation due to drought
Reuters, Jan 10, 2014
California
With less water stored in California reservoirs, less hydropower will likely be produced in the state in 2014, leading to greater reliance on natural gas-fired power production.
In 2011, hydropower accounted for an above average 21.3 percent and natural gas was used for 45.4 percent of in-state electricity production. In 2012, dry conditions in California shifted the balance to 13.8 percent hydropower and 61.1 percent gas-fired generation. Hydropower is cheaper than gas-fired power.

Fire

WINCHESTER: Firefighters, Army reservists practice air attack
The Riverside Press Enterprise (Calif.), Feb 11, 2015
Riverside County, California
Army helicopters practiced water drops ahead of the firefighting season in southern California. Meager rainfall and limited water supplies led the Army reservists to return water to a reclaimed water storage pond after use to avoid wasting the precious liquid.
WILDFIRES: Threat should be dropping this time of year – but isn't
The Press-Enterprise (Riverside, Calif.), Nov 15, 2014
Southern California
Firefighting resources in Riverside and San Bernardino counties are being kept at summer levels. Normally at this time of year, reductions in staffing and equipment are made, but the fire danger remains high, so the staffing reduction is being postponed. The U.S. Forest Service also has kept its staffing levels high in the San Bernardino National Forest and the Cleveland National Forest and continues to renew contracts for firefighting airplanes on a weekly basis.
Wildfires prove costly for California budget
Los Angeles Times, Sep 29, 2014
California
The expense of fighting California’s many wildfires has used the $209 million set aside for the task, prompting Gov. Brown to access another $70 million from a reserve account, containing $449 million designated for unexpected costs like natural disasters, as fires continue to burn. The federal government may reimburse the state for some of the firefighting costs incurred so far.
State officials set aside more money than usual for firefighting, but the funds were spent less than three months after they were marked for firefighting. In addition, the extra money spent on firefighting has made the governor reluctant to commit funds to other programs.
Pacific Northwest wildfire season: Oregon and Washington topped nation in acres burned
Oregon Live (Portland, Ore.), Sep 24, 2014
Washington, Oregon
Oregon and Washington endured 3,270 wildfires that burned 1,284,013 acres of federal, state and private land from the start of 2014 through Sept. 22, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. The number of fires was lower than the 10-year average, but the spatial extent of the fires was nearly three times the 10-year average of 452,039 acres. The largest fire in each state was the Carlton Complex in Washington at 256,108 acres and the Buzzard Complex in southeastern Oregon at 395,747 acres. Both states have been affected by drought since the start of the year.
Total firefighting costs have risen to $446 million, in comparison with $235 million at this time last year, according to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center.
Little rain makes for anxious fire officials
FOX6 WBRC-TV (Birmingham, Alabama), Aug 30, 2014
Alabama
Dry conditions have allowed more fires than usual across Alabama, where summer is not normally a part of their fire season. During a recent seven-day period, 43 wildfires blackened more than 593 acres, according to the Alabama Forestry Commission.

Plants & Wildlife

Drought prompts early fish stocking — again
Reno Gazette-Journal (Nev.), Feb 12, 2015
Western Nevada
Low water in the Truckee River prompted the Nevada Department of Wildlife to stock the river with 7,000 rainbow trout earlier than normal while there is still enough water in the river to support the fish. Lake Tahoe remained 2.5 inches below its natural rim, in spite of the recent storms that caused an inflow of roughly 16 billion gallons. The snowpack in the Truckee River basin was less than 50 percent of normal for this time of year.
Fish were also stocked in February last year—the earliest in 20 years—due to drought and low river flows.
In Colorado, spruce bug epidemic eclipses mountain pine beetle blight
Summit Daily News (Frisco, Colo.), Feb 12, 2015
Colorado
The spatial extent of Colorado forests afflicted with the spruce beetle increased from 625 square miles in 2013 to 760 square miles in 2014, according to an annual aerial survey performed by the U.S. Forest Service and Colorado State Forest Service. The most rapid expansion of spruce beetle activity occurred in southwestern Colorado. A number of factors, including drought, warm winters, high wind events and dense stands of older trees, have encouraged the expansion of the outbreak.
State's deer harvest up, but drought-stricken west suffers
Tulsa World (Okla.), Jan 25, 2015
Western Oklahoma
Smaller deer populations led to lower hunter success in northwestern and southwestern Oklahoma. The Wildlife Division southwest region supervisor thought that drought led to low reproduction numbers in 2011 and 2012 when fawn survival was poor. Deer populations in southwestern Oklahoma were likely to remain low until drought abates.
Biologists: Raising California dam would harm salmon
San Jose Mercury News (Calif.), Jan 28, 2015
Sacramento River in Northern California
Three times as many or about 600,000 Chinook salmon will be released into the Sacramento River below Keswick Dam by the U.S. Fire and Wildlife Service. Warm water allowed a massive fish die-off to occur in 2014 when about 95 percent of the salmon eggs and newly hatched fish died. Only 5 percent of the juvenile salmon survived in 2014, compared with a typical survival rate of about 27 percent.
Delta water weed problems called the worst in years
San Jose Mercury News (Calif.), Jan 21, 2015
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, California
Weeds proliferated in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, clogging harbors, trapping boats in their slips, hindering cargo deliveries, endangering migrating birds and jeopardizing the safety of those who navigate the waters. Drought is responsible for conditions conducive to the growth of water hyacinth and other weeds.

Relief, Response, & Restrictions

California weighs new drought rules at restaurants, hotels
SFGate.com (San Francisco), Feb 18, 2015
California
The California State Water Resources Control Board is considering extending current water restrictions and adopting additional limits on water use as the state heads into its fourth year of drought. Among the possible measures are requiring restaurant customers to request water and hotel guests to ask for new towels and sheets.
Previous mandatory restrictions implemented during the 2014 summer include a ban on car washing without a hose shutoff nozzle and limitations on lawn watering.
Extended Nevada drought inspires waste, groundwater bills
KRNV News 4 (Reno, Nev.), Feb 11, 2015
Nevada
Nevada water officials feel that restrictions on water waste and underground water use are needed as drought persists in the state and presented the matter to the Senate Government Affairs Committee on Feb. 11.
Federal government to boost drought funding by $50 million
Santa Cruz Sentinel (Calif.), Feb 06, 2015
Western U.S.
Fifty million in drought relief funds became available for Western states struggling with years of drought. California is designated to receive most of the aid, with the Central Valley Water Project getting $20 million for water transfers, drought monitoring for endangered species and diversifying water supplies. Another $14 million is available for farmers and local water departments to reduce water use and devise response plans to cope with ongoing drought.
Oklahoma ranchers received $883 million in federal drought relief, most in the nation
Tulsa World (Okla.), Jan 28, 2015
Oklahoma, Texas, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri
Livestock producers in Oklahoma, Texas, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri altogether received over $2.7 billion in payments from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Livestock Forage Disaster Program for losses stemming from drought between Oct. 1, 2011 and Dec. 1, 2014. Oklahoma led the pack with $883 million in payments, Texas followed with $592.36 million, Nebraska got $512.89 million, Kansas received $461.26 million, and Missouri producers got $303.58 million.
January looking dry, next few months warm
The Bakersfield Californian, Jan 15, 2015
California
The California Department of Water Resources and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation cooperated in devising a plan to change water quality rules and water rights permits to contend with ongoing drought and submitted it to state regulators.

Society & Public Health

Water thefts on the rise in drought-stricken California
San Jose Mercury News (Calif.), Feb 23, 2015
California
As the incidence of water thefts climbs in California, most cities are increasing fines for such crimes. If caught, water thieves may face fines, lose their water service and be charged reconnection fees. Thieves open fire hydrants, disregard or tinker with meters and fill trucks with water for dust control.
San Juan Capistrano case challenges legality of tiered water rates
Los Angeles Times, Feb 26, 2015
California
A group of San Juan Capistrano residents sued their water provider, claiming that tiered water rates violates state law which prohibits water agencies from billing customers more than the water costs, regardless of the amount of water used. A lower court ruled in the plaintiffs’ favor, and an appeals court will give its decision soon. More than two-thirds of California water agencies use tiered pricing to encourage water conservation.
Nearly all California voters think water shortage is serious: poll
Reuters, Feb 26, 2015
California
Continuing drought and worsening water shortages have Californians more concerned than ever about the state’s water supply. More than half of the 1,241 registered voters surveyed between Jan. 26 and Feb. 16 are for easing environmental regulations and allowing the construction of water supply facilities in federal parkland, found a statewide Field Poll. Forty-three percent of people do not think the state has enough water storage or supply facilities to meet public demand.
Most Californians—94 percent—recognize the water situation as serious, while 68 percent of those termed the water shortage as “extremely serious.”
Sixty-one percent of those surveyed favored voluntary conservation, while just 34 percent advocated mandatory rationing.
California’s drought could mean another bad year for West Nile virus
The Sacramento Bee (Calif.), Feb 23, 2015
California
Drought was blamed for the record number of West Nile virus cases in 2014 when nearly 800 Californians were infected, and 2015 is looking like it will bring more of the same. In Orange County, the mosquito count in traps was already hitting July levels.
When the California drought began in 2012, the number of West Nile virus cases rose to 479 from 158 the previous year. In 2014, 798 cases were recorded, the highest number since 2005, said the California Department of Public Health. Twenty-nine people died.
Amid drought, a turf war between residents and homeowners associations
Los Angeles Times, Feb 27, 2015
California
Despite the epic drought gripping California, many homeowners associations oppose the installation of artificial turf and threaten to fine and take legal action against those who violate HOA standards. The conflict is so common that a bill was proposed to prohibit HOAs from fining residents for putting in artificial lawns.
In 2014, a bill was passed making it illegal for HOAs to penalize residents who allow their lawns to go dormant or choose to xeriscape their yards.

Tourism & Recreation

Santa Cruz giant water slide event plans nixed
San Jose Mercury News (Calif.), Feb 24, 2015
California
Slide the City, an event to be held in Santa Cruz, was canceled when the city denied the Utah-based entertainment company a special event permit. Conservation-minded citizens showed their disapproval of the activity by signing an online petition opposing the event. The company putting on the events removed all California cities from its website.
Warm, dry weather prompts access changes in Yellowstone
West Yellowstone News (Mont.), Feb 20, 2015
2/20/2015
Meager snowpack in Utah, California, Colorado and Washington has skiers flocking to the Rendezvous Ski Trails, where trails are shaded and groomed nightly to keep them in good shape, despite warm temperatures.
Nearby in Yellowstone National Park, warm weather melted away the little snow the park had, prompting changes to park access. Guests may take commercial snowcoaches with rubber tracks or commercial wheeled vehicles to travel from West Yellowstone to Old Faithful. At present, vehicles with ski steering cannot be operated safely.
Poor snow causes Squaw Valley to cancel March 4-8 FIS World Cup event
Tahoe Daily Tribune (South Lake Tahoe, Calif.), Feb 14, 2015
Lake Tahoe area, California
The lack of snow at Squaw Valley resort in Placer County led to the cancellation of the World Cup skicross and snowboardcross races on March 4-8. The area has received just 140 inches of snow this winter, but normally gets an annual average of 450 inches. The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s Hole Shot NorAm and U.S. Revolution Tour skicross and snowboardcross to be held on March 9-13, has also been cancelled.
Family-owned California ski resorts struggle from drought
Associated Press, Feb 13, 2015
California
The snow drought in the Sierra Nevada has hurt resorts of all sizes as warm temperatures led to rain rather than coveted snow. The President’s Day weekend is typically the busiest weekend for skiing, but many resorts were closed.
Skimpy Sierra Snowpack Brings Warning To Lake Tahoe Snowmobile Users
Capital Public Radio (Sacramento, Calif.), Feb 05, 2015
Lake Tahoe area, California
The U.S. Forest Service is asking snow mobilers in the Lake Tahoe Basin to avoid bare dirt and patchy snow, not to cross streams and not to drive over small trees and brush. These actions make ruts in the soil and damage vegetation. Warm temperatures and low snowfall have created unusual winter conditions.

Water Supply & Quality

Drought drains hopes of Central Valley Project buyers
Central Valley Business Times (Stockton, Calif.), Feb 27, 2015
California
The initial allocation for the Central Valley Project is zero percent as the Sierra Nevada snowpack remains thin. This is a nightmare for CVP farmers who received no water last year. Adding to their frustration, the State Water Project announced allocations of 15 percent in mid-January, thanks to the early December storms that filled reservoirs somewhat.
Despite rains, many reservoirs lower this year than last
North Texas e-News (Fannin, Texas), Feb 21, 2015
Texas
Most Texas reservoirs are lower than they were one year ago, said Dr. Guy Fipps, AgriLife Extension irrigation engineer, College Station. Monitored water supply reservoirs were about 65 percent full on Feb. 17, according to the Texas Water Development Board, but the average is skewed by the large, fuller reservoirs in East Texas and underplays the smaller, depleted reservoirs in central Texas.
Drought, little snow leave Grand Canyon springs high and dry
Arizona Daily Sun (Flagstaff, Ariz.), Feb 21, 2015
Northern Arizona
Low snowpack amid continuing drought has dried up springs in Grand Canyon National Park and other parts of northern Arizona. As springs stop flowing, ecosystems that support 10 percent of endangered species native to the Southwest, among many other plants and wildlife, could perish.
Hydrologist: Big Island ‘in a moderate drought’
West Hawaii Today (Kailua-Kona), Feb 20, 2015
Big Island
Water haulers on the east side of the Big Island were chaotically busy and booked for weeks in advance because the area has gotten only a few downpours since Jan. 3. Many households in Puna have rain catchments systems that were dry or nearly so. One water hauler usually delivers about 40 loads of 3,000 gallons per month at this time of year, but the demand has risen to at least 200 water deliveries per month. They do not have access to enough trucks to serve customers as quickly as needed and transport water 15 hours per day in an effort to meet demand.
LCRA reduces water supply projections as drought worsens
KVUE-TV ABC Austin (Texas), Feb 18, 2015
Central Texas
The Lower Colorado River Authority lowered its water supply projections by about 17 percent following the revelation that the drought affecting the Highlands Lakes is the worst the area has endured since the 1930s when the lakes were constructed.
The inflow into the lakes was the second lowest ever recorded, leading the LCRA to recognize the situation as a new “critical period.” The Highland Lakes were significantly above their record lows, due to prudent water management choices.

International

Drought puts maize harvest in peril
World-Grain.com (Kansas City, Mo.), Feb 27, 2015
South Africa
Drought in South Africa’s major maize production areas is expected to trim the white maize harvest by one-third, possibly leading to shortages.
Drought-stricken Cape Verde to receive urgent assistance from UN agriculture agency
Industry News.net (Bahrain), Feb 21, 2015
Cape Verde
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization offered to provide desperately needed food crop seeds, animal feed and drip irrigation equipment to thousands of people in drought-ravaged Cape Verde.
Thai Government Sets $240 Million Budget to Combat Drought
The New York Times, Feb 18, 2015
Thailand
The Thai government has designated a 7.8 billion baht ($1 = 32.5600 baht) to be used for water projects and emergencies as eight of the country’s 76 provinces endure drought. The relief is an improvement over the 5 billion baht that the prime minister previously announced for drought aid. Off-season crops are expected to produce at least 30 percent less than usual. The country’s hot season arrives in March.
The drought is so bad in Brazil people are showering in the rain
Business Insider (New York), Feb 18, 2015
Brazil
A few days of rain brought people out to make the most of the precipitation by collecting rainwater and having a shower outdoors.
Taps Start to Run Dry in Brazil’s Largest City
The New York Times, Feb 17, 2015
São Paulo, Brazil
São Paulo’s reservoirs are nearly empty and unable to provide water much longer. A senior official at São Paulo’s water utility was secretly recorded as saying that residents may have to be warned to leave because “there’s not enough water, there won’t be water to bathe, to clean” homes.

Research

Water stress takes toll on California's large trees, study says
Los Angeles Times, Jan 20, 2015
California
California’s forests have become denser with smaller trees and more susceptible to fast-moving wildfires, due to drought, fire-suppression techniques and changes in land use. Tree surveys performed between 1929 and 1936 and 2001 and 2010 were analyzed by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, UC Davis and the U.S. Geological Survey. The surveys showed a reduction in large tree density across the state with drops as high as 50 percent in the Sierra Nevada highlands, the south and central Coast Ranges and Northern California.
Ag uses for highly saline water researched
Albuquerque Journal (N.M.), Jan 05, 2015
Alamogordo, New Mexico
Experiments with alternative water sources, like wastewater and highly saline water, to irrigate crops and urban areas were underway at New Mexico State University. The aim is to conserve potable water and maintain agricultural practices, said a professor of soil physics at NMSU. Barley and triticale, biomass plants lepidium alyssoides and switchgrass, and fodder plants Atriplex and NiPa Grass are being used.
Floods Breed Cooperation, Droughts Breed Conflict
Water Online, Dec 16, 2014

Floods require emergency response that is short-lived, while droughts often mean sustained response efforts where decisions over water allocations must be made, sometimes leading to conflict.
Study finds varied fish response to unexpected droughts
Phys.org (Great Britain), Dec 15, 2014

Native fish populations on the Upper Verde River in Arizona decreased during droughts and increased during floods, while non-native populations did not vary much, according to research conducted by Albert Ruhí with Arizona State University’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability.
Plants have little wiggle room to survive drought, UCLA life scientists report
UCLA Newsroom (Los Angeles), Nov 13, 2014

Researchers from the University of California and China’s Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden found that plants have the ability to adapt to drought conditions by adjusting the amount of salt in their cell sap, which allows them to draw more water into their cells. Plants were found to be able to make only small adjustments in the salt content of their cell sap, giving them little capacity to respond to drought.

Mitigation

Company says evaporation suppression worked
Wichita Falls Times Record News (Texas), Jan 28, 2015
Wichita Falls, Texas
The evaporation suppression powder used on Arrowhead Lake during the 2014 summer was successful. A report by the Texas Water Development Board said the measure may have reduced normal evaporation by 15 percent.
Wichita Falls officials were evaluating the report and considered it inconclusive. The city spent about $294,000 on the project.
Cloud seeding, no longer magical thinking, is poised for use this winter
The Sacramento Bee (California), Nov 11, 2013
California
Cloud seeding will continue to be used in California during the 2013-14 winter to boost snowfall and increase water supplies in a state that has endured two years of drought. Cloud-seeding efforts in California began more than 60 years ago and involve the spraying of silver iodide into clouds.
Heat, Drought Draw Farmers Back To Sorghum, The 'Camel Of Crops'
National Public Radio (Washington, D.C.), Oct 31, 2013
U.S.
Farmers trying to find crops that need less water are rediscovering grain sorghum, and people searching for healthier foods are buying more of it.
USDA study shows benefits of weaning calves early
Drovers Cattle Network (Lenexa, Kansas), Aug 29, 2013

Weaning calves early during drought allows cows to gain more weight and achieve better body condition than cows with nursing calves. Consequently, less harvested feedstuffs were needed for cows to maintain adequate body weights and condition during the winter.
USDA Recommends New Practice to Combat Drought
WIUM-FM Tri States Public Radio (Macomb, Illinois), Aug 27, 2013
Illinois, Midwest
The USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service says that drain water management techniques can help farmers cope with drought as they regulate how much water is allowed to drain from a field. A device can be attached to the ends of tile lines to act as a valve to keep needed moisture from draining away.
Drought Headlines Archive

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