Georgia Governor to host prayer services for rain (AP, 11-07-2007)
(FinalCall.com) – A season of abnormal weather patterns that has drawn severe flooding and firestorms in various U.S. cities, have been transitioning into severe water shortages in several major states, including North Carolina and Georgia, which are experiencing droughts of historic proportions.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor of North Carolina, 72 counties there were experiencing exceptional drought; 17, extreme drought; and 11, severe drought. State officials have deemed the condition the worst in recorded history.
“Unfortunately, we desperately need significant rainfall to avoid the possibility of water rationing or more stringent restrictions…We cannot make it rain as much as we need, although I know you would if you could, so we must do even more to conserve the water we have,” Gov. Mike Easley stated in a press release designed to encourage water conservation.
Carol Couch, Director for the Environmental Protection Division in Georgia (EPD), informed that its drought is one that is expected every 100 years. Conditions are so dire that Atlanta could deplete its water supply in about three months. Thus, most types of outdoor water use is prohibited, except for some commercial uses.
The Associated Press reports that Florida is vehemently rejecting Georgia’s plans to ease the drought by slowing water flow from reservoirs into Florida, as it would endanger commercial fishing along the Florida Panhandle.
Meteorologists inform that the drought is spreading into Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi, and according to the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California, it, too, is facing a major water shortage unless conservation increases.
Bill Muir, a spokesperson for the MWD, told The Final Call that although there is enough water on hand to meet needs in 2007, there is concern for 2008. He blames Southern California’s record dry conditions, as well as challenges faced by water import sources for the threat.
“On the Colorado River, we’re in our eighth year of the drought, which has reduced the amount of water available to California. Northern California, another source, also has the worst water year in about two decades. What compounds those challenges is a federal court ruling set for implementation in 2008, which could reduce our supplies from Northern California about 25 percent,” Mr. Muir said.
He is referring to a ruling issued in September by U.S. District Judge Oliver Wagner, which will prevent pumping by the State Water Project and Central Valley Project. Environmentalists charged that the pumps killed large numbers of the delta smelt, a tiny fish now facing extinction. The pumps redistributed water to parts of the Bay Area, San Joaquin Valley and Southern California.
“We’re not calling for water rationing at this time, but as we’re being challenged from imported water sources, we will have to remember that conservation will continue to play a role,” Mr. Muir added.
Dr. Ridgely Muhammad, manager of the Nation of Islam’s Muhammad Farms (www.muhammadfarms.com) in Georgia, warned that the drought experienced in Georgia, coupled with other weather trends throughout America, would hit consumers in big ways. “It’s a perfect storm in terms of prices going way up. There is an increased demand for wheat as people worldwide try to base their lifestyles on the west, moving toward a western middle class food culture. People are eating more bread, using corn for ethanol, and the droughts and floods that are occurring are putting pressure on both the supply and demand for grains,” Dr. Muhammad stated.