It’s clear to see that Maine is in a drought, with dry vegetation and historic heat. Not only is Maine suffering, but the entire globe is struggling with heat waves. Reported by CBS, temperatures in Zhejiang, China reached 107 degrees Fahrenheit, and temperatures in the U.K. soared to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. According to WGME, 35% of Maine was experiencing a “moderate drought” during July, and the other 65% of the state was experiencing unusually dry condition. The U.S. Drought Monitor reported in 2021 that 8.14% of Maine was suffering through severe drought. This ongoing trend has been affecting Maine not only in 2022, but for multiple years.
Looking at our neighbors out west, the rationing of water is deeply troubling. The rationing of water is due to the drying up of the Colorado river. One of the main issues with the Colorado river is state seniority rights. In 1922, the Colorado River Compact was signed allocating water to states. Reported by Cal Matters, California doesn’t have to cut back on their water usage in 2023, unlike Nevada, Arizona, and Mexico. Additionally from Cal Matters, California has a claim of more than a third of the river. This is an issue for all surrounding states who have millions of people who rely on the river basin. Mexico, and local Native American tribes are on the short end of the stick. The true figures are unknown, but it’s estimated that hundreds if not thousands of heat related deaths due to the Colorado basin running dry this year alone.
The federal government’s handling of this threat, Deciding who gets water and who runs dry, will be a landmark case, and will be a precursor for what is to come. In the near future New England states could be fighting over water usage rights. Who gets to drink from Sebago? There are climate refugees in America migrating from the west coast to the east coast. People are trying to escape deadly wildfires that are becoming a year round occurrence devastating entire towns. Maine has become a safe haven for those fleeing deadly heat, and water rationed regions.
Despite this imminent danger, Mainer’s attitudes on the drought are dismissive. We still have drinking water and have a decent amount of groundwater. However, Maine’s 2021 spring thaw started 2-4 weeks early for the state. This trend has been going on for years and has no end in sight. The seasons are shorter, but more extreme. The earlier thaws will slowly reduce the amount of groundwater until it’s at a critical level. Drinking water isn’t the only concern as crop yield will be greatly reduced. Climate change isn’t an issue for future generations to solve, but for the current generations to fix.