Midwest Drought Affects Industry

July 22, 2005 - 10:22

Within the last several weeks, the Midwest has been the victim of a drought. Many communities have put water restrictions in place and the only hope they have had are several-minutes-long damaging storms that come in and out in a blink of an eye. Lawns are browning, flowers are wilting, bodies of water are lowering and farmers are full of worry.

“The level of Lake Michigan is only slightly below normal. But Sadhu Johnston, commissioner of Chicago's Department of Environment, warned: ‘If Chicago and other cities along the lake just continued pulling more and more water out of the lake, the level would drop’ and devastate everything from fish to the shipping industry,” stated a recent article from the Associated Press.

“In Indianapolis, officials have pleaded with customers to cut back on their use of water. St. Peters, Mo., made a similar request. So did Chicago, where WGN-TV meteorologist Dennis Haller said this is the driest summer so far in 135 years,” also stated the AP.

In some places, homeowners are allowed to hand-water gardens, but they are not allowed to use a sprinkler without incurring large fines. Other communities are restricting water usage to every other day.

Currently, individuals are doing their best to conserve water as much as possible, but only so much can be done when there is a lot of brown in the middle of summer. Some people are using water in places other than their plants because they feel the plants are the least important things to keep watered at this point, the AP is reporting

“The city of Chicago has stopped watering the grass at parks. And the Fire Department decided to teach fire hose techniques to its firefighters at a park so the ground would benefit from the water sprayed,” said the AP.

According to the AP, “the drought-stricken area cuts a swath from eastern Texas up into the Great Lakes region, taking in parts of Missouri, Indiana, Arkansas, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and virtually all of Illinois.”

Chicago has seen about 12 inches of rain since January 1, 2005, which is approximately half of the 20 inches that normally falls by this time, the National Weather Service reported to the AP. “In June, Chicago got only about three-quarters of an inch, compared with the usual 3.63 inches. And July is shaping up to be even worse, with about 0.70 inches so far in a month that typically gets 3.51 inches.”

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