Drought Issue Page

CNN Video Clips

"Drought": Environmental Science 6th Ed. CNN Ed (1:40 min)
During 1997 and 1998, the U.S. experienced floods and dramatic growth in vegetation as an El Niño triggered above average rainfall.  From the end of 1998 to 2002, the opposite weather event, La Niña, produced severe drought, which affected Arizona, California, Colorado, Texas, and seven other western states.  Because of the severe drought conditions, many states throughout the U.S. have been experiencing the worst wildfire seasons in history.  Some researchers believe other climatic forces may be responsible for the severe drought.  However, the U.S. may continue to experience drought conditions for the next 5–10 years, conditions similar to those in the 1950s through the 1970s.  The worksheet includes the URL to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website.  (Student worksheet provided on CD)

"Western Drought": Environmental Science 7th Ed. CNN Ed (2:11)
From 2001 to 2003, most of the U.S. experienced severe drought. In some states, the dry conditions were so severe that lakes dropped to their lowest levels in 32 years. Lake Mead, Southern Nevada’s primary source of drinking water, has dropped more than 70 feet, and every 20-foot drop costs the national park service $6 million in infrastructure expenses. The local residential population uses nearly 66% of the region’s water, while Las Vegas’ casinos and golf courses together use 12% of the region’s water. To encourage water conservation, the local government paid property owners $1/sq. ft. to replace grass lawns with desert landscaping. To discourage water misuse, officials created laws to enforce water conservation by assigning water cops, individuals who police areas for water violations. To reduce water consumption, the water authority raised rates by over 40%, banned residential car washing, and restricted sprinkler use. The worksheet includes the URL for the NOAA Drought Information Center website.  (Student worksheet provided on CD)

Topic:  "Desertification":  Environmental Science 7th Ed. CNN Ed 2004 (2:45)
Desertification is a process that is affecting at least 14% of the agricultural lands in Cuba. Currently, 11 out of 14 of Cuba’s provinces show signs of soil degradation, which could result in desertification. To prevent desertification, the Cuban government developed several community programs that promote education to individuals to protect the lands before the problem becomes irreversible. The programs include recovering land using soil-friendly techniques, planting trees, producing organic fertilizers, and developing forestry farms to protect river water.


"Plains Towns Brace for Future as Aquifer Dwindles" Burke, Garance. Post and Courier. 12 February 2006.
This articles focuses on the Ogallala aquifer and how it is the world's largest underground water system, but it is showing significant signs of drying up. This is due to years of drought and usage for irrigation systems for farms. Scientist believe that it will be dry within 25 years if usage continues at this pace.