Fighting drought in USA demand greater water development

Juan G. R. Fighting drought in USA demand greater water development.                                                

Water & Irrigation.Volume:3, No. 1: 13-14, November, 2012, Spain.

The worst drought since 1957, that affected most of the 48 states of the United States of America in 2012, causes: decrease their harvest crops or it dry, reduce the flow of rivers, reservoirs reduce its reserves. Drought also damaged about 75% of corn and soybeans, and wheat, which has resulted in higher prices for these, the estimated total of economic losses from drought exceeding 50 billion dollars. It is recommended in the fight against drought: increase the irrigated areas, to use drought resistant crop varieties, to  make a rational use of water, to realize an assessment of hydraulic resources in the regions affected. Economic losses from drought and floods in the U.S. are over 70 billion dollars and require a comprehensive fight against both disasters.

During the spring, summer and mid-fall of 2012, in the United States of America, are emptying reservoirs, rivers have greatly diminished its flow and the fields are very dry. The lack of rain and extreme heat has caused the worst drought since 1957 it is considered that the decrease the rainfall in this century and the drought to medium and long range are frequent. The drought affected half crops in most of the 48 states sets and about 75% of corn and soybeans and wheat cultivation, which has caused a food crisis and the increase in price thereof. In the summer, 55% of the states were affected by moderate to extreme drought and 30% for severe to extreme drought. As consequence of the drought the State Department announced it bought food by value of $ 170 million, to help farmers

Nationwide, more than 1,000 counties in 29 states have been designated disaster counties by the Department of Agriculture. This allows producers in the damaged areas of the government to borrow at low interest rates, and allows the use of the program of land conservation reserves for grazing and hay production. In 2011, Texas suffered the driest year in history, and in March this year the Texas agricultural commissioner announced agricultural losses of $ 8 billion. Corn is the main crop in the United States, with a value of $ 77 billion in 2011 and to be affected most corn plantings as well as soy and wheat, are considered great economic losses. The dry and warm climate of the central eastern U.S. has decreased the river flow and increased water temperature, which has killed thousands of fish

According to FAO in 1987 the worldwide irrigated surface was 227 million hectares, the countries of more irrigated area was: China -45, India-42, USSR-21, USA-18 and Pakistan-16. In 2003, 16 years later the world irrigation surface was 277  million hectares, the country most irrigated area was: India-57,  China-54, USA-22 and Pakistan-19 , reflecting strong growth of irrigated areas in India and China and a moderate growth in the U.S. and Pakistan. According to FAO, 2009, in the U.S. it has an area equipped for irrigation of 25 million hectares, of which 12 million have sprinkler irrigation, the total area equipped for irrigation accounts for 15% of total cultivated area of the country.

However the efforts of the U.S., the economic toll of the drought are enormous, reflecting the need to increase the country’s irrigation potential to achieve much more stability in agricultural production and therefore in the export of food products. In the fight against drought plays an important the weather and drought forecast in the U.S. which works very well, it is also important to build: sources of supply, irrigation and drainage systems, water diversions that conducing water of surplus regions to water deficit areas, to ensure greater hydraulic development of farms and greater stability and profitability of agriculture.

Economic losses due to drought, which affected much of the 48 states, are estimated at over 50 billion dollars. The irrigation water management and proper exploitation of water resources enable a more rational use of water. There must be a water balance short-and medium-range of water resource availability in the regions affected by drought and other long range in less affected regions, with the aim of further development potential hydraulic thereof. The obtaining varieties of cereals, grains and crops more resistant to drought and reforestation are also part of the plan to consider measures to fight against drought and floods.

In late October, floods, falling trees and high winds with speeds up to 120 miles / hour caused by Sandy provocateur 98 deaths in the United States, affecting mainly the north-eastern states of the country being the most affected  New York and New Jersey declared disaster areas, the hurricane had a catchments area of about 1000 miles in diameter which brought heavy rainfall in the affected states and the rest of the area of influence of the hurricane, as consequence it begins to lift the state of drought warning mainly in several eastern states of the U.S., other states farther away from the influence of the hurricane still in a state of drought. Economic losses due to the effects of Sandy super storm exceeding estimated 20 billion dollars.  It must adopt a comprehensive action plan to fight against drought and floods in urban and agrarian of the country. Before going through the U.S. Hurricane Sandy escalated the crisis in Haiti killing 54 people and caused serious damage to crops, it is feared a food crisis in that country, as it passes through the eastern region of Cuba hurricane killed 11 people and damaged crops, the loss of life in the Caribbean islands amounted to 69 deaths.

Total economic losses from drought and flooding in the U.S. until mid autumn already exceed 70 billion dollars, reflecting that there is much more to enhance the comprehensive fight against drought and flood urban and rural because often both natural disasters occur simultaneously.

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