Drought Concerns Continue Despite Record Rain

Drought has plagued various parts of the United States in recent years. And, it will take a lot of precipitation to cure it.

After a six-year drought Californians are suffering — or is it celebrating — record rainfall. The state has gone from five years of drought to the wettest year on record. That has led some to suggest an end to the drought in many parts of California and the Southwest.

In fact, in January, the National Weather Service in Reno, Nevada, even tweeted, “Bye bye Drought. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

Despite burgeoning dams and overflowing reservoirs, the celebration may be premature, says Peter Gleick, co-founder and chief scientist of the Pacific Institute, a hydroclimatologist, and a member of the US National Academy of Sciences.

“Even in a wet year in California, nature’s bounty of water is no longer enough to satisfy all the state’s demands, recharge over-drafted groundwater basins in the San Joaquin valley, or overcome the massive deficits suffered by California’s ecosystems and endangered fisheries,” says Gleick.

Despite record rains underlying weather issues continue and the water is not enough. Image: iStockPhoto.com

“This year should see a drop in groundwater withdrawals, but even a wet year won’t prevent some continued overdraft, and it won’t help thousands of people in disadvantaged communities whose wells have run dry in the Central Valley.”

Drought has also troubled communities in Texas, Nevada and even the water-rich Northeast. And, climate change has been blamed for these extreme weather events worldwide.

These events, which bring too much or too little rain, signal a water management issue that’s likely complicated by increasing water demands throughout the world. A 2012 report by McKinsey & Co., projects a 40 percent increase in global water requirements by 2030 under an average economic growth scenario. Efficiency improvements may help, but won’t likely solve the problem.

Simple economics suggest that this greater demand and the diminishing supply will raise the price of water. That means everyone’s water costs will increase, not just those in drought areas. And, this is a concern for growers and retailers (and gardeners) who rely heavily on water.

You can do something to minimize the financial impact on your business.

  1. Grow water-conscious crops.
  2. Install systems to harvest and recycle rainwater.
  3. Consider drip or flood floor irrigation for more direct water use.
  4. Prevent water/nutrient leaching with advanced hydrogels in your growing medium.

An increasing number of growers have found success adding STOCKOSORB® from Evonik Industries to their custom mixes. STOCKOSORB® is an advanced hydrogel placed in the growing media to absorb water and nutrients, which are then slowly released to plants as they need them.

A recent trial conducted by Chase Horticultural showed that plant performance and quality were maintained using 50% less water in roses, mums and geraniums planted with STOCKOSORB® 660 in the growing medium.

If adding STOCKOSORB® to your mix would reduce water use and improve plant health wouldn’t you use it?

Make your water go farther while improving the health of your plants. To find out more about how STOCKOSORB® advanced hydrogel can help your growing operation, contact Lynn Royal at 336-335-3781, email [email protected] or visit www.STOCKOSORB.com.