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Drought impacts near and far in the news

One story in the Southeast that has gotten little attention this week is the severe impact of recent drought conditions on the already stressed oyster industry in Apalachicola Bay on the Florida coast.  The combination of high salinity water due to drought, as well as pressures from water usage and industrial pollution as well as heavy harvesting, may force regulators to completely shut down the oyster industry for a protracted period of time to let the oyster fishery recover.  This would be economically devastating to the local communities, who depend on the harvest to bring in money to the area.  The decision in part will depend on winter rainfall in the coming months.  You can read the story from Gulf Seafood News here.

As you might expect, there have been a number of stories that have come out recently on the continuing California drought, which is in its third year.  The New York Times wrote about agricultural workers living in Porterville who are trying to get by with no running water in a story from October 3 (link).  Yahoo News wrote about the negative impacts of the drought on hydropower and how it is forcing utilities to burn more carbon-based fuels,especially natural gas, to keep up with electrical demand (link).  Finally, Curbed Los Angeles presented a story about how life in California might change if the drought turned into a megadrought lasting 72 years and how it would change life in LA.  The story discusses how residents could adapt to the drier conditions by removing lawns, reusing grey water, and changing agriculture drastically, potentially reducing it by half and removing some of the more water intensive and less valuable crops.