“I do not know if everyone realizes how serious the drought situation is for Barton County and the State of Kansas,” Barton County Emergency Manager Amy Miller said. She was responding to an announcement from Governor Sam Brownback’s office last week updated the state’s Drought Declaration for Kansas which now includes all 105 counties either in an emergency, warning or watch status.
To put this in prospective, this order places more than half of Kansas counties in an emergency drought status, including Barton.
“Kansans need to know no matter where you live in the state, the drought is not over,” Brownback said. “Some areas have been experiencing drought for almost five years.”
Lingering below normal precipitation patterns are not only depleting the little soil moisture the state has left, but is resulting in below normal levels in our reservoirs and further decline of stream flow conditions.
Furthermore, it is probably too late for rain make significant improvements to the 2014 wheat crop. But, the drought is still critical for spring planted crops.
A county-wide burn ban remains in place for Barton County. But, so far, no communities in the county have implement water conservation measures.
This is where we all fit into this problem. Water is crucial to all of us – from farmers who raise crops to city folks who water their lawns. Our livelihoods are intertwined and inextricable.
So far, our area has avoiding the stringent steps taken in cities like Hays – yet. However, that time may come.
It is up to all of us to do our parts and not waste this precious resource. It is, indeed, the lifeblood of our existence.