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Climate Assessment Committee: Conservation is key to mitigate drought in Nebraska

Posted at 7:42 PM, Jul 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-22 20:42:55-04

LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — The Climate Assessment and Response Committee met in one of their bi-annual meetings in Lincoln today. One of the topics of discussion was drought mitigation across the entire state of Nebraska.

A climatologist at the National Drought Mitigation Center located at the University of Nebraska, Brian Fuchs, explains that drought conditions right now are not the worst that we've seen for this time of year compared to what we've seen in the past.

Fuchs explained that we typically have not gone this long without a significant drought and that we have had above-average precipitation over the last 30 days.

“Prior to the drought that we are seeing currently, we went several years, seven, eight years without seeing really any significant drought in the state," Fuchs said.

He went on to say that only about 22% of Nebraska is in a drought and that soil moisture availability looks nice across the state. In fact, we haven't seen that many issues with water supply so far this summer.

"I don't think we have significant water supply issues across the state right now because we haven't had those long-term drought episodes taking place," he said.

Fuchs warned that drought development is likely along the western side of Nebraska.

"History has shown us that we're due for a drought episode," he said.

Trying to forecast how long or intense a drought could be is extremely difficult, as just one or two wet months could change the landscape substantially.

"It's too hard to really tell with any sort of accuracy that this drought could end with a really wet fall, or it could with a really dry fall like we saw last year," explained Fuchs.

Our recent weather conditions have been at or below our average temperatures. So, with a heat-up ahead, he is concerned about how drought conditions might change over the rest of the summer.

When asked about what we can do to help aid in a possible and near-drought, Fuchs explained that conservation is key.

"Conservation is always gonna be key when we're talking about droughts because water is a finite resource."

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