Click the link to read the article on the Circle of Blue website (Delaney Nelson):
As of July 19, over 44 percent of the U.S. and Puerto Rico is in drought, a nearly 12 percent increase in the last month.
States in the Colorado River’s upper basin respond to the federal government’s call for water conservation.
The Albuquerque stretch of the Rio Grande is drying up for the first time in almost 40 years. High temperatures and dry conditions are fanning the Oak fire in Mariposa County, California, which has burned more than 16,700 acres.
Nearly 52 percent of the land area in the Lower 48 states is experiencing moderate drought or worse this week. This year continues to be the largest expanse of drought in the country since 2012-13. These conditions are affecting over 119 million people. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, dry conditions are present across 225 million acres of cropland.
According to the National Weather Service weather prediction center, the epicenter of intense heat will shift from the Northeast to the South-Central U.S. and Pacific Northwest this week. Warmer temperatures can exacerbate drought conditions by causing more evaporation and drying out soils.
Over 94 percent of Texas is experiencing some form of drought, and a fifth of the state is in exceptional drought. Over 22.8 million Texans are affected, including farmers experiencing decreased crop and livestock production. Cities are threatening to fine residents who violate water restrictions. Earlier this month, the North Texas Municipal Water District urged residents to reduce their water use as it had to cease water production at one of its four treatment plants. According to the utility, the system is under stress from drought combined with increased outdoor water use.