P1080897

You don’t consciously hear it. You don’t see it.  But one day you will experience the profound effects of deep drought.

Our little farm serves as a good metaphor.  We have a small well (5 gallons per minute) and a ditch irrigation right that in a good year (good and lasting snow fall) gives us enough pasture and hay to keep our sheep.  This year we are in a drought, in fact the worst in 20 years.  Forests and a town burned, smoke filled the air, and day by day it got even drier deeper down.  Our irrigation water was essentially gone by August.  With the little irrigation flow and what we could afford from our modest but reliable well we tried to keep our garden and house plantings alive.

The fall isn’t over yet but we have already lost four trees and a good landscape shrub, in spite of modest but regular drip irrigation.  We simply couldn’t help them live, because as hard as we tried the moisture was being sucked out from under them!

P1080895Today I was pulling a row of tomato plants, an early variety done for the season — that until two days before had been receiving sustainable drip water.  As I dug through powdery dirt, I found it bone dry 10 inches down, hard from there on down.  I looked at a bush (also under drip and a little extra hose flow) that had suddenly given up the ghost and I realized the impact of the profound drought — leeching away all the moisture we had put down.

I hope you never experience this! But I find this a powerful warning about our world’s water, its limit and the consequence of not having it.  How much water is there for the Jews, the Arabs, the peoples in India and Africa?  How much is left of the Ogalalla Aquifer under eastern Colorado and many of the Plains states?  And is it right for individuals and corporations to exploit water — the absolute necessity of life — for commercial profit?  See article Should water be protected as are natural forests?

It’s up to us to ask, learn, and act!  If not, dislocation and chaos most likely await.

Leave a Reply