Texas is now in the midst of its worst-ever one-year drought. Austin, Texas' capital, has received less than two inches of rain since October, a period that would normally see 18 inches. Here are just a few of the impacts of the state's ongoing drought, which is entirely consonant with the northward march of the world's subtropical deserts that will continue, unabated, as climate change intensifies:
- Inspired by NASA’s innovations in urine-drinking, Big Spring, Texas is installing a wastewater recycling plant to transform sewage into drinking water.
- Inflow in the Highland Lakes, which provide water to Austin and surrounding cities, is 1 percent of what it was a year ago. As a result, Austin's reservoir, Lake Travis, is now half empty.
- Many Texas rivers have simply stopped flowing.
- This drought is the costliest ever for farmers. Ranchers say it will take at least a decade to rebuild their devastated herds.
- Parched cattle moved to better pasture are dying from drinking too much water.
- The Austin area has had more than 40 days over 100 degrees this year; the average is 12.
- A lake in Texas turned blood red as it dried out, which some saw as a sign of the apocalypse. (Turns out it's just algae.)
- All 254 counties in Texas have been declared natural disasters.
Unfortunately, it goes without saying that the arch-conservative governor of Texas and potential presidential contender Rick Perry doesn't believe in climate change. His sole attempt to address the cause of the drought? Prayer.
Get Grist in your inbox