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The Great “Mega-Drought” of 2021

The Great “Mega-Drought” of 2021
By Todd Strandberg

Many Western states are in the grips of a drought that is starting to have a major impact on the local economy. The dry period has lasted so long, it has been given the rank of “Mega-Drought.” A return to normal moisture levels would require months of heavy rainfall.

According to The Weather Channel, 89% of the Western U.S. is experiencing drought conditions. More than half — about 55% — of the West is experiencing the highest levels of “extreme” and exceptional” drought.

The state of North Dakota is in the second-worst level of drought, and ranchers are auctioning off their cattle by the thousands.

“Normally this time of the year, we’re probably looking at 400-600 head, and a lot of times would be every other week,” said former auctioneer Ron Torgerson.

Recently, more than 4,200 head of cattle were sold at Rugby Livestock and Auction during a two-day sale. Needless to say, ranchers in North Dakota don’t want to get rid of their cattle, but the drought has pushed prices for hay and corn so high that many of them simply have no choice.

Feeder Cattle prices have declined as herds are being sent to the slaughterhouse. As cattle herds shrink all over the western half of the country, beef prices will move significantly higher a few months down the road.

Record heat during the past few weeks has yielded no shortage of horror stories. Almond growers have lost whole orchards, and 17 million endangered salmon are being shipped to the sea because rivers are too hot to navigate.

Meanwhile, the drought continues to push the water level in Lake Mead into the danger zone. According to CBS News, Lake Mead has hit the “lowest level ever recorded.” Since most Western states get nearly zero amounts of rain during the summer, Lake Mead will continue to dry up for several months.

Formed in 1937 by the construction of the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the U.S. The reservoir supplies water to 25 million people in Los Angeles, San Diego, Tucson and Las Vegas, per Reuters. Lake Mead has not been full since 2000, with water levels falling 140 vertical feet since then, and it is currently at just 36 percent of capacity.

The ability to produce electrical power at Hoover Dam has become a concern. Lake Mead has dropped so much that it has cut the dam’s hydropower output by nearly 25%. At some point, the dam could stop producing electricity altogether.

For the first time ever, the federal government is expected to declare a water shortage on the lower Colorado River later this summer. That will force automatic cuts to the water supply for Nevada and Arizona starting in 2022. Homeowners have higher priority and, at first, won’t feel the pain as badly as farmers will.

Dan Thelander is a second-generation family farmer in Arizona’s Pinal County. The water to grow his corn and alfalfa fields comes from Lake Mead. “If we don’t have irrigation water, we can’t farm,” he said. “So, next year, we are going to get about 25% less water; [this] means we’re going to have to fallow or not plant 25% of our land.”

Unless something changes, Thelander and other farmers in the region could potentially have all water cut off in 2023. That is just two years away.

Farmers in California are in far worse shape. Some have already been informed that they will not be getting any water allocated to them at all here in 2021. It is being projected that farmers in the state will not grow anything on 500,000 acres this year; that is really bad news because California grows more than a third of our vegetables and two-thirds of our fruits and nuts.

California’s groundwater situation is another factor that is putting pressure on food production. For decades, groundwater was pumped with no statewide limits. As the water level dropped, farmers have been drilling deeper wells to suck out more water to plant. We are now at a point where the groundwater levels are so low, many fields cannot be planted without access to surface water.

As I look back over the past decade, there has not been a single year that did not have a major disaster. Judging from 2020 and 2021, it now appears we are going to have multi disasters for any given future year. Since the tribulation hour will likely have monthly disasters, the rapture must be very near.

“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28).


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