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Western Lakes’ Droughts and Floods Both Cause Problems for Agriculture

By Pam Knox

There have been several articles in the news recently about the impacts of both heavy rain and continuing drought on large lakes in the Southwestern United States. In California, a series of atmospheric rivers has brought huge volumes of water to the region, drowning agricultural land and causing disputes between farmers about where the water should go. In Utah, the Great Salt Lake is on the verge of disappearing completely after years of overuse of water to grow alfalfa, causing clouds of toxic dust to affect those in Salt Lake City and threatening water supplies. This story is similar to what happened to the Aral Sea in Asia, which lost more than 90% of its water due to diversion to grow cotton. At this point, unless massive changes are made to how water is used in that region, they may suffer a permanent loss of the Great Salt Lake, which will force residents of that area to move to other parts of the United States as they run out of water. Here are some articles that address the impacts of too little or too much water on these lakes in the driest part of the country.

Deseret News: How Lake Bonneville became the Great Salt Lake

New York Times: As the Great Salt Lake Dries Up, Utah Faces an ‘Environmental Nuclear Bomb’

New York Times: I Am Haunted by What I Have Seen at Great Salt Lake (photo essay)

Matador Network: The Aral Sea Is the Ecological Disaster That You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Los Angeles Times: Worry and suspicion reign as once-dry Tulare Lake drowns California farmland

Source : uga.edu

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