Water issues point out that Texas and New Mexico are among 8 critical states with water shortages. The above map illustrates hot spots and points to states that are facing water issues.
In Texas, it is hurting farmers, ranchers, with some of the driest soil "moisture" readings in decades. Farmers are projected to fail in high numbers in Texas, unless saving rains come, and some say it may already be too late for that hope. In New Mexico, forest fires and grass fires reflect how dry the state is, with millions of acres burned black, now causing floods for lack of vegetation and trees to "hold the soil".
Southeastern New Mexico, and the great area of oil production the Permian Basin which spreads from SE New Mexico to the lower Panhandle of Texas and then on down to south Texas, are showing great heat and greater thirst for rain. Kansas and Arkansas are also dry as are big parts of California (some of these places show floods one day and drought the next.
Some of the surviving old timers recount the great depression, sand storms and droughts of the 1940's in the USA. "When our windmills and wells failed, we tried hauling water by horseback and by old wagons and later trucks. But we couldn't haul enough to save crops, and soon were simply trying to keep our families and milk cows alive." my ancestors told me.
"Then at one point we had to sacrifice our cattle, and shoot them one by one, because there was no grass nor water for them." my Grandmother told me years ago. It was a nightmare and Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath" described some of the hunger and desperation of the lands from Texas to New Mexico, to Arizona, Nevada and finally California was. At least California was out of the worst of the drought then. But the poor immigrants from Oklahoma, Texas and the "dust bowl" were considered poor, beggars and many treated as bad as the Mexicans and the Blacks. California, eventually evolved into a more progressive state, especially on the Pacific coastal areas. Many of those immigrants from Texas and Oklahoma stayed and made a good life there. But those "old timers" tales of drought, desert winds, crops and cattle dying from thirst, and people losing their property during the "hard times" live on.
Today, with hundreds of grass and forest fires, farms and ranches drying up, lakes and rivers stressed, even parts of California, have seen rivers and lakes go dry. It may be a worse scenario today in 2022 and looking forward into 2023, because far more people live in California, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico than did in the 1930's-the 1950's.
Many farmers fear that we will lose many farmers in the current and upcoming dry periods that seem to be approaching relentlessly.
For city dwellers, there is an unhealthy faith in city water supplies, but many cities have already seen lakes dry and are depending on diminishing well water, as underground aquifers are dropping seriously. Some cities have resorted to rationing water, and even rationing power and asking people not to use their Air-conditioners in Texas. People who can afford, are buying emergency generators by the thousands, because the power grids are described as "on the brink" or "near full capacity" in places like California and Texas.
One example, in Las Vegas, New Mexico, there is a dam that holds back water for the city, but that creek is barely a trickle, down to a level that does not recharge the water behind the small dam. There is a recreational lake on the SW of the town, it is down 10 feet but is an emergency supply of water for the city. The city managers and leaders do not encourage bulding of new houses, because the city barely has enough water with the present population. Quietly city leaders are worried, that unless large rains come, the city may be in a crisis. In Texas, both the farmlands of the Panhandle of far west Texas are dry, and many farmers have already given up on making crops. Down in the valley, where there is traditional production of fruits and vegetables, there are hot dry lands, where rich food and vegetable crops once flourished....with drought and heat causing great suffering.
And these are only two of the states in the USA that are suffering from heat, drought and lack of rain.
At our Boothe Ranch in Fort Worth, we had a well as well as a generator, for water back up. We sold that place, and in New Mexico, our house also has a good well, and we have a back up generator, and we are told that the underground water is good and stable. But quietly the well experts tell us that in other parts of Albuquerque, water tables are dropping and on some days, the Rio Grand is so sparse and the river is so low, people walk across it because of river depths of only 1 to 2 inches in places. And the Rio Grande is the river that supports agriculture in Central and Southeast New Mexico...then what is left goes to Texas farmers (and there is little or no water left across the border into Texas). A huge area of agricultural land is left with no water left in the Rio Grande for irrigation. Thus underground wells are pumping more than ever, and underground water tables in Texas are going down, turning some "irrigated farmland" into "dryland farms" that produce significantly fewer yields and in droughts, may not even make crops.
THE RIO GRANDE RIVER PASSING THROUGH ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO IN SEPTEMBER OF 2022.
This is the Rio Grande, River as it passes through Albuquerque, on a recent day, where only a trickle of water flows, some days like this day, there is only water or moisture if one digs down a few inches. An this is the lifeline of moisture from Colorado and snow melt of the mountains of Colorado and Northern New Mexico. The snow melt, is not adequate to last through summer months, and ranchers in the high country have already seen hundreds of ponds and creeks dry up. "We are just hoping for rains in October and November, or winter snows to replenish our ranching needs" one rancher told me.
Merle Richardson, a Texas oil man with ranching interests once told me.
"Oil can bring wealth...but only water can support life."