Drought in the news

Keep up with the latest drought news at the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Escobar, H. Feb 20, 2015. Drought triggers alarms in Brazil’s biggest metropolis. Science 347: 812. Driven by a mysterious atmospheric anomaly, a 2-year-long drought has triggered a crippling water crisis in southeast Brazil, a region of 85 million people that includes the nation’s biggest metropolis, São Paulo. The São Paulo government has reduced the water pressure in its mains, which regularly leaves faucets running dry. And it is now taking a carrot-and-stick approach to water usage, financially rewarding those who conserve and fining those who waste. Barring a sudden reversal of meteorological misfortune, officials are contemplating drastic rationing that would deprive millions of households of water for up to 5 days a week. “We are talking about the possible collapse of our most important water supplies.” Some are bracing for rioting. “There is a real risk of social convulsion,” warns José Galizia Tundisi, a hydrologist with the Brazilian Academy of Sciences.

A ‘megadrought’ will grip U.S. in the coming decades, NASA researchers say. Researchers from NASA and Cornell and Columbia universities warned of an 80% chance of mega-droughts lasting up to 40 years in the southwest and central USA, with major water shortages. This dries out vegetation, which can lead to monster wildfires in like recent fires in southern Arizona and parts of California.

There’s a 50% chance Lake Mead will dry up by 2050 and a 10% chance it will dry up by 2021.


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