The Western Drought

Thanks to a lot of wet weather in the East this summer, many readers may not be aware that big chunks of the west are going through another serious drought. Midwestern droughts tend to get the most attention because of the impact on farm commodities, but absent big wildfires, droughts further west aren’t big news events for those not directly affected.

Here in central California, I never complain about the summer weather, but I can barely remember the last time it rained. Impending water shortages, which are the big underlying political issue here, are getting much nearer. And there’s probably no immediate relief in sight until late autumn. Here’s a report from July 18:

Record dry and warm weather across California has put the state in a severe drought, according to the National Weather Service.

Earlier this week the California State Water Resources Board issued a “Notice of Surface Water Shortage for 2013.”

The document warned that some water rights holders may see their diversion cut off by late summer and fall.

The dire warning comes after California saw its driest winter in nearly 90 years.

None of this, of course, has anything to do with greenhouse gas emissions.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.