Drought Conditions In The Southwest U.S. See No Improvements

Most if not all towns in Southwest Oklahoma and Northwest Texas have seen their city supply lakes fall below 30 percent of capacity. Triggering Stage 4, Drought Disaster water rationing measures. Archer City’s City manager (about 40 miles south of my tiny garden plot), said the city now has a 60 day supply of water in it’s only city water supply lake.

National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said “The coming winter is likely to cause drought conditions to parts of the Southeast and little or no relief for the long parched Southwestern states.

NOAA predicts below average precipitation in the southwest and southeastern U.S. while the northern Rocky Mountains will see more snow usual. Large portions of the Southwest and the Plains states have been dealing with a three + year drought that has begun to ease only in the past few months.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry extended a drought emergency proclamation at the beginning of November, citing threats to aquifers and reservoirs and an increased risk of wildfires across all but 10 of the state’s 254 counties.

NOAA said New England, the Southwest, South central states and parts of the Southeast are expected to have a warmer than average winter, while the northern Plains will be colder than normal. NOAA said this winter isn’t expected to be influenced by either an El Nino or La Nina. Without this strong seasonal influence, winter weather is often affected by short term climate patterns, such as the Arctic Oscillation, that are not predictable beyond a week or two Mike Halpert, acting director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, said “it’s important to pay attention to your local daily weather forecast throughout this winter.” Winter officially begins December 21.

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20 responses to “Drought Conditions In The Southwest U.S. See No Improvements

  1. Back a few comments, you mentioned the grey-water system for watering your trees. Great idea. You mentioned using pure soap. Linda came across a homesteader idea on using baking soda (about 1 teaspoon) and apple cider vinegar instead of shampoo. Take the baking soda with some water and scrub it around your scalp. Rinse. Do the same with the vinegar (keep it away from your eyes). Rinse. Let’s just say, I have not shampooed my hair in over 3 months now. I imagine that the baking soda and vinegar neutralize each other and would not add chemicals and dyes to build up in your grew water.
    Oscar

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  2. I didn’t realize you were in such a long drought, sorry to hear that. Hope you get some nice soaking rains soon!

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    • Re bittster – Thanks for taking time to visit my tiny blog.
      Don’t let my whining mislead you. I’m not the only guy being hit hard by this long running dry spell.
      — Weather Synopsis compiled from USDA, NOAA, and Nation Weather Service reports. Record heat and below average rainfall over the past few summers have combined to make the current U.S. drought one of the worst since the 1950’s. Drier in many places than the ‘Bust Bowl years of the 1930’s.
      — As of July 2013, nearly half of the Lower 48 is experiencing drier than normal conditions or worse.The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s weekly drought monitor reported that as of July 30, more than 40 percent of the continental U.S. was in a Moderate or worse drought, and more than 30 percent was in a Severe or Extreme drought.
      — The past few seasons, drought has devastated livestock and crops including cow herds, corn, soybeans and winter wheat.
      2011, Texas and other parts of the Southwestern states experienced its driest 12 months ever recorded. At one point, 80 percent of the state was rated at an “exceptional” level of drought.
      At it’s peak the 2012 drought, an astounding 81 percent of the contiguous US was under at least abnormally or worse dry conditions.
      — Big Grin … I was reading about the time it rained for 40 days and 40 nights. Looking back in my farm records, It looks like I got almost a 1/2 inch of rain that time…………

      Happy and Safe Thanksgiving Holiday

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  3. floods all over europe and drought where you are, shame we cannot redirect the water…love the photo by the way and your blog!

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    • Re polianthus – Thanks for taking time to visit mu humble little blog.
      Big Grin … carefully listen to a group of farmers and you will soon discover that’s it’s to wet, it’s to dry, it’s to hot or it’s to cold.

      Happy Holiday’s

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      • I can imagine – just from my small scale balcony planting experience and visiting garden centers…2 years ago -30°C everything froze in the pots, then a warm but wet summer and everything was covered in fungus and the insects were out, and now I have all my plants inside and no space and need to harvest. Small scale but I can imagine the group of farmers very well 🙂

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  4. I thought that the size of your acreage and the number of cattle might be the case, but figured it couldn’t hurt to bring it up. I do have a friend in Hilton, NY who does rotational (not mob, I believe) grazing on fairly small acreage (he is now surrounded by a growing suburban-type community) with our northern equivalent of long horns – Highland Beef cattle (they graze all year, no shelter, no supplemental feed). He has been use a type of “rolling fence” and showed it to us. I don’t recall how he handled the watering issue, however.

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  5. Have you investigated mob grazing? I saw an interesting video on TED (search “grazing” and watch Allan Savory) and then followed up by looking into youtube and other places. I have encountered both pro and con, but after what I have seen, I believe the academic theoreticians should get some stock and actually get out in the field (so to speak), because “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”, as they say. What I “observed” from all the real-life experiences I checked out is that (counterintuitively) it is most effective on DRY lands (the desertified areas of Africa, the Great Plains, etc), somewhat less so in places like the more normal northeast. Here’s another link: http://hayandforage.com/grazing/how-mob-grazing-works-0601.

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    • Re Lloyd’s of Rochester – Thanks for visiting my humble little blog and for your comment(s).
      For many people like me that only have a few head of livestock and one or two small pastures ‘mob grazing’ is not an option. In order to do this type of pasture management. (1) I would need to fence/cross fence into 1/4 – 1/2 acre pastures. (2) provide (haul) water to each pasture. (3) I do not have enough pasture to allow it to set idle for 3 to 6 months or more while it recovers from ‘mob grazing’.
      In my operation that would force me buy and feed hay and supplemental protein range cubes for a much longer time each year.
      Alternating between three 5 acre pastures seems to work pretty well for me.
      Breeding and feeding cows is a slow and long process. from breeding date to butcher date is on average 3 to 3-1/2 years on feed/pasture.
      By the way I raise longhorn cows. They are slower to reach butcher weight, but, they can survive and even thrive on pasture that is unsuitable for many of the so called ‘beef ‘fat cow’ breeds like black or red Angus.

      Happy holiday season

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  6. That sucks. What about scooping water out of the shower or bathtub? I did that one year to keep my landscaped hillside from eroding.

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    • Re sedrate organizes – Big smile .. 3 years ago Me and my son-n-law designed and built a pumping syatem that pumps shower water directly into a 300 gallon above ground plastic tank. That tank feeds a drip system that waters all my shade trees, ornamental vines and bushes.
      By the way I now bath using only 100 percent pure soap with no detergents or other additives added.

      Thanks for taking time to visit my humble little blog.
      Happy Holidays

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      • Hey, that’s an awesome set up! I was just using a scoop and bucket, very labour intensive.

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      • My Watering Can

        Awesome that you have a gray water setup. I guess necessity drives people to use increasingly sustainable ways to live (like a drought). Do you have a rain barrel system too? I know you need rain to collect it, but more people are using these, even on a really large scale. If you have barns, sheds, a house, etc. with lots of roof space, these are ideal to collect the water rather than let it evaporate or flood away. I want a rain barrel when we finally settle into a place where we aren’t moving every 3 years.

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        • Re My Watering Can – Yes we have some rain barrels set up to collect water runoff from storage sheds, son-n-law’s work shop and a open front livestock shed. However most of that water goes to water livestock and poultry. With 5 cows, 1 horse and one donkey they will drink on average about 110 to 125 gallons of water everyday. So rain barrel water does not last long when watering livestock.
          Happy wet holiday season

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          • My Watering Can

            We had virtually no rain in August, a scattering of rain only about 3 times in Sept. & Oct. And now for the last few days, finally some rain in November that broke many records. Of course, we had lots of wind and tornadoes that went along with all that. I had no idea animals drank that much water, but it figures. You need another collection system! How do you grow veggies & fruits if the livestock get the rain barrel water? I can’t imagine your water bill.

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            • Re My Watering Can – The true fact is, this part of Southwest Oklahoma – Northwest Texas is not suitable for ‘most’ crops. Hard red winter wheat is our main crop. Planted in September/October after summers heat cools down a bit and before the soil temperature cools to a point wheat will not germinate. Winter wheat matures and is harvested in June just before the arrival of really hot dry summer weather. 50+ percent of our land is in short grass pastures It requires a minimum of 2 or 3 acres for each cow on pasture, 5+ acres for a cow-calf pair. Even then in drought years we must buy and feed a great deal of hay and protein supplement range cubes.

              Grin .. Gardens is something we grow knowing that most years will fail when spring winds and summers heat and dry weather arrives. Besides, we seem to enjoy feeding tomato’s and cucumber to our annual grasshopper crop!

              I hope your dry spell has passed and you will get all the rain you need and not be flooded out at planting or harvest time.

              Happy Holidays

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  7. Harvesting rainwater will become an imperative.

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    • Re gorgeousgreenhouse – Thanks for taking time to visit my tiny blog.
      Big Grin … One of the secret ingredients in collecting Rain Water is Rain ….
      Happy Holidays

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