Worst of the Texas Drought Plagues the Texas Panhandle
We have been lucky enough to have some rain in the last few weeks, but it hasn't been enough to pull us out of a drought situation.
When comparing the Texas Panhandle to the rest of the state of Texas. The top 26 counties in the Texas Panhandle are listed as Severe Drought to Exceptional Drought. We have 6 counties that are in the exceptional drought category, most of the others are extreme drought. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor
Those counties that have exceptional drought areas:
- Dallam County
- Hartley County
- Herman County,
- Hansford County,
- Ochiltree County
- Hutchinson County
How does drought affect the population?
When the area is in drought it affects everyone. Drought means smaller crops. When we don't have rain, the farmers have to water their crops, this water comes from wells drilled on the land that pull from the aquifers. No rain means, higher costs for the farmers, which means higher costs for the consumers. The more water we pull from our aquifers and lakes, due to lack of rain, means we have less water to sustain the area in the future.
Plus, the lack of crops also means the lack of food and water for livestock, the same livestock that is raised to provide food.
Drought affects wildlife in the areas, when wildlife do not have access to water, they start moving into developed areas looking for water and food. Drought also causes extreme wildfires, and wildfires can be devastating to farmland, livestock, and communities.
Drought is a domino effect, that just doesn't affect those directly associated, it affects every single person in the United States.
According to the CDC, drought can even affect your health
- Shortages of drinking water and poor quality drinking water
- Impacts on air quality, sanitation and hygiene, and food and nutrition
- More diseases, such as West Nile Virus carried by mosquitoes breeding in stagnant water
Should we be worried? Of course, we should be a little worried. Drought is a part of our life here in the Texas Panhandle, but we can do our part in helping during a drought.
How can we at residents help?
The answer is to use less water. Be mindful of the water you are using on a daily basis. Check to make sure you don't have leaky faucets. Take short showers instead of baths, turn off the water when brushing your teeth, and use low-flow toilets. When it comes to your lawn make sure you are watering your lawn and not the pavement. Try not to over-water and flood your street gutters. If your city practices water-saving procedures do your best to follow them.
One other option is if you believe in God or another deity you can always pray, wish, send good vibes, etc., for rain and lots of rain this year to bless our crops and the lands that our farmers, ranchers, and wildlife use.