Drought and Western Snowpack
In 2020, the U.S. slipped into the most widespread drought since the summer of 2013. Mountain snowpack, which is an essential source of water for Western rivers and reservoirs, has declined by an average of 15-30% across the West since 1955.
Groundwater reserves that act as a buffer in bad drought years are also becoming depleted. The rate of water withdrawal outpaces the rate at which they are recharged by rainfall, creating an increasingly unsustainable situation which is only worsened by climate change.
At over $9 billion per event, drought has the second-highest price tag of any type of billion-dollar disaster event since 1980. In addition to combating climate change, sustainable water management strategies need to be implemented to maintain water security — in the U.S. and beyond.
Drought.gov now offers a number of new drought maps and local data, which may help you to tell stories about drought in your area.