Scant precipitation, soils unable to support crops, reservoirs bottomed out — these are the effects of periodic drought we know already. Unfortunately, we might not have seen anything yet, if a new National Science Foundation report is on track.
The report warns of severe and prolonged drought worldwide through this century. Some of the findings jump out as issues Utahns probably should pay attention to sooner rather than later, such as this: ” … most of the western two-thirds of the United States will be significantly drier by the 2030s.”
That’s only 20 years from now, a time frame I can comprehend. We’re already worried about our drinking water supplies along the Wasatch Front, not to mention the question of preserving the quality of water we will have left. And look at the Great Salt Lake, approaching a record low level.
Can anything be done, beyond more stringent water conservation and more efficient farming methods? Well, the report pins the predicted acceleration of drought conditions on warmer temperatures driven by climate change, augmented by cyclical events such as El Nino, plus mankind’s production of greenhouse gas emissions. So, our future drinking water supplies may depend on the outcome of the extremely political football game now being fought over global warming.