What is in this article?:
- Texas Comptroller report warns of megadrought devastation
- Scary comparisons
- Indirect drought losses to the state’s agricultural industries could add another $3.5 billion to the $5.2 billion loss for the state’s agricultural industry in 2011.
- A“megadrought” is an extremely dry and prolonged disaster that could last for years instead of months.
- Severe drought is nothing new in Texas.
For example, at the end of last year Amarillo had received a total annual rainfall of only 5.8 inches. The report compares that to the 2011 rainfall rate in Damascus, Syria, of 5.3 inches. Del Rio received 9.6 inches of rain and can be compared to Tehran, Iran, that received 9.1 inches for the same period. The report also compares El Paso’s 4.9 inches of rain to Baghdad’s 4.8 inches, Lubbock’s 5.1 inches to Khartoum, Sudan’s (North Africa) 4.8, and Midland/Odessa’s 4.6 inches to Kuwait’s 4.6 inches.
In fact, as of Oct. 1 last year, Texas as a whole had received only about 11inches of rain for the year on average, less than the average annual rainfall rate of the semi-arid desert regions of Tunisia and Morocco.
Perhaps the most startling reality of last year’s drought, however, is the negative economic impact to Texas agriculture. While a Texas AgriLife study indicated a $5.2 billion loss for the state’s agricultural industry in 2011, Comb’s report points to an economic analysis by BBVA Compass Bank which found that indirect drought losses to the state’s agricultural industries could add another $3.5 billion to the toll.
Texas State Climatologist Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon, a professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University, calls the current record drought a serious threat to water resources that, if conditions continue or worsen, could accelerate economic and social lifestyles of every state resident.
“Drought is an ever-present concern in many parts of the state, leading to pressure on our water infrastructure. According to the Texas Water Development Board, demand for water will rise by 22 percent by 2060. The board says that, should we experience another multi-year “drought of record” such as that of the 1950s, it could cost Texas businesses and workers $116 billionin income by 2060,” Combs says in the report.