Another eight years of megadrought in the West predicted

A plant struggling in drought
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National GeographicOpens in a new tab. reports that the current drought could stretch into 2030, which is not good news for the Western states.

Droughts happen naturally, but human driven climate change is making the severity worseOpens in a new tab..  Extremely dry soil indicates that the Western states are currently experiencing the worst drought in 1200 says that drought self-propagatesOpens in a new tab., just like wildfires, adding:

[D]roughts are expected to intensify in many regions following global warming. The United Nations has recently described drought as “the next pandemicOpens in a new tab.,” suggesting that the associated risks are currently overlooked. It is thus crucial to improve our understanding of drought, and particularly its causes, in order to be able to predict its future risk and enable adequate societal adaptation.

The Southwestern states have been grappling with ongoing drought for the past 20 years, while the eastern states are dealing with “flash droughtsOpens in a new tab..”  To understand the past 20 years better to predict future water management challenges, NOAA has made an interactive map viewerOpens in a new tab. available online.  Users can click any point on the map to find out how many droughts have occurred in that location, as well as the number of droughts in each severity category. According to NOAAOpens in a new tab., the viewer “provides a quick and easy way for decision-makers to gain an understanding of historical drought in their area and can prompt further questions into the local impacts of drought and how to better prepare for future droughts.”

Link:  NOAA’s Interactive Drought Map Viewer.


Since 1995, Deborah has owned and operated LegalTech LLC with a focus on water rights. Before moving to Arizona in 1986, she worked as a quality control analyst for Honeywell and in commercial real estate, both in Texas. She learned about Arizona's water rights from the late and great attorney Michael Brophy of Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite. Her side interests are writing (and reading), Wordpress programming and much more.

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