Region needs to prepare for droughts

The eastern United States is fortunate in not having to deal with the extreme drought conditions portions of the West — including the state of California — are experiencing.

However, those dry conditions are not merely a U.S. problem. Rather, drought is afflicting many parts of this planet beyond U.S. borders.

The scope of the dry conditions is prompting much use of the term “worldwide drought” — a term seemingly acquiring increased relevance with each passing month.

Record drought across the globe this year dried up rivers and reservoirs and sapped the world’s largest source of renewable electricity: hydropower, the Wall Street Journal reported in its Sept. 12 edition.

Beyond the United States, the article focused in part on China, parts of which have endured the hottest and driest summer in 60 years, the Yangtze River reaching its lowest level since records began being compiled, the Journal reported.

Even in Norway, a large producer of hydroelectricity due to an abundance of rivers and deep valleys, the government issued a warning in August that the country in the coming months might have to limit electricity exports.

A major question lurking is what degree of preparedness exists in this part of the United States, including Pennsylvania, if the dryness of the West were to shift to the East and become stationary for a prolonged period of time.

Is it reasonable to doubt that enough consideration has been given to the potential problem and that not enough actual planning time has been devoted to such an occurrence and the coordinated reaction or response that would be necessary?

California’s energy grid encountered its biggest blackout risk since 2020 earlier this month due to record demand and lack of electricity supply, including from hydropower stations described as “water-starved.”

All in all, for most people in the eastern United States, the persistent drought — and all of the dreaded fallout from it — has up to now been “somebody else’s worry,” not ours.

Unfortunately, that could start to change in months, not years, if unwanted conditions plant themselves and refuse to release their grip.


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