Is “Drought” The New Normal?
Dismal snowpacks combined with “exceptional drought” may be our new reality.
An independent research team recently determined that the Colorado River Basin is in a state of transformation. The Colorado River Research Group now says we live in a region in full effect of what they call "aridification." I couldn't find it in the dictionary either. It means "a transformation to a drier environment." What I think they're trying to say is that we should no longer compare our spring and summers to what we're experienced in the past and prepare for the "new normal" of less moisture.
They say the word “drought” doesn't accurately describe what’s really going on in our part of the country. Is it time for persons to rip out lawns, stop washing the car, and stop pulling more water from the Colorado River? Perhaps not yet but that day is coming.
It's not a huge leap when you really think about it. We already live in what's called a "semi-aired" environment. That's a place that averages less than 9 inches of annual participation. 7 inches or less a year is considered full-blown desert. I think that's what the Colorado River Research Group is trying to say. That we're headed in that direction and might as well get used to it.
“There’s a need to (fundamentally change) the way we talk about these things, to bring attention to the fact that drought is normal.” That's what Patricia Gonzales, a doctoral student studying water resources at Stanford University says. That even if the red bulls-eye is removed from this summer’s drought monitor maps, that us living in this part of the country need to continue to act as if that red spot was permanent — a lasting reminder of our new, dryer, reality.
Credit: High Country News