Southwest US “Mega-Drought” Sparks Massive Wildfires, Dries Up Reservoirs

May 2, 2022

Drought in the US

The worst drought in 1,200 years in the American Southwest has fueled massive extra-juicewildfires and reduced water supplies by a lot.

The National Weather Service issued “extremely critical” wildfire alerts for huge parts of three states: New Mexico, Colorado, and Kansas. That's the most severe warning. In northeast New Mexico, wildfires have scorched more than 160,000 acres and burned at least 165 homes. Some people have been ordered to evacuate.    

Meanwhile, water levels have forced drastic cuts in water usage for the region. The federal government has slashed the amount of water states can draw from the Colorado River. Levels have fallen so much in one reservoir that experts fear there won't be enough to make hydroelectric power.    

Local governments have also passed some of the strictest rules ever for outdoor watering. As of June 1, outdoor watering will be banned for six days out of the week. That will cover much of Southern California. Without drastic measures, the region could run out of water by year’s end. That's according to a person responsible for water management in the region.    

Experts say climate change has made wildfires, extreme heat, and drought worse.

"It doesn't matter if this is exactly the worst drought ever," a climate scientist said. "What matters is that it has been made much worse ... because of climate change." 

According to information in the story and the infographic, which area of the US currently has the most extreme drought conditions? (Common Core RI.5.7; RI.6.7)
a. northwestern states
b. northeastern states
c. southeastern states
d. southwestern states
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