After Facing the Worst Drought Since 2011, What Are the Lasting Effects on the State of Texas?
January 11, 2023
from TEXAS WATER UTILITIES ASSOCIATION NEWSLETTER
With continued dry weather and hotter-than-normal temperatures, the State of Texas has faced drought similar to that of 2011 throughout most of this year. High (sometimes triple-digit) temperatures with no rain relief in sight made for difficult risk for depletion if relied upon too heavily.
According to the Texas Tribune, “about 27% of the state is under an ‘exceptional drought,’ the most severe category, and about 62% is under an ‘extreme drought,’ the second-highest classification.”
So far, the biggest effect on drought has been in the agriculture industry of Texas. Ranchers have been selling cattle because the dry conditions leave them with limited food and water. Now with cattle being sold, herd rebuilding across the country will have to be a priority once drought conditions improve, and consumers may experience higher dairy and beef prices down the road.
Lack of moisture in the ground leads to faster resorption of rain, and thus dry ground for planting. Crop loss will be another major effect on the agriculture industry throughout Texas. Ground moisture helps to prevent the start and/or spread of wildfires, so this remains a concern, both for safety and crop health, as well.
“The 2011 drought cost an estimated $7.62 billion from crop and livestock losses. The economic impacts of the current drought are not yet clear, but John Nielsen-Gammon (the Texas state climatologist and a regents professor at Texas A&M University) said he expects it to be in the billions, as well.”