West Palm Beach Skyline Image credit:Wikipedia
With precious little water left in the reservoir serving West Palm Beach Florida, 100,000-some residents face an uncertain future. The metro area can, as an emergency measure, buy water from Palm Beach County. They may have to, as the Palm Beach Post indicates a 'significant threat exists to the public's health' posed by the drought. Something is needed - either a tropical storm to bring driving rains or ... I don't know ... folks deciding to stop finger pointing and take water conservation seriously. Praying for rain has a poor performance record.
Back in April, Texas' Governor Rick Perry asked citizens to pray for rain to help overcome that State's terrible drought: Facing Record Droughts, Gov. Rick Perry Proclaims Official Day of Prayer for Rain. The prayers didn't deliver, and since then conditions in Texas have worsened. It may not be helpful for Floridians to put God in the position of having to decide which State is more righteous.
Florida could offer tax breaks to help out those who have to buy extra bottled water for lawn watering and stuff. The drought is, after all, a State-wide problem for which a state-wide solution is needed: see Florida Water Worries: Serious Shortages For Tampa Bay, for another example.
Jesting aside, this water shortage is not just a Florida or a Texas drought, it is a Southern Drought.
US Drought Monitor for June 14th, 2011.
Consider a worst-case scenario, in which few or no tropical strorms make landfall this summer and the southern coastal drought intensifies.
Here's a question people should be asking themselves. Which southern city will lead an exodus to Seattle or Detroit, and how soon might it begin? Related: which water intensive business segments will redirect production northward? Here's what I'm talking about: Will Climate Again Drive US Internal Migrations?
Second and more immediately important question.
How might it strike residents of drought-stricken US southern states to hear a Republican presidential candidate (especially if the candidate is from a northern state) declare that the climate is not changing, or that government should not be involved in mitigation or adaptation measures?
I do not have a definitive answer but have a hunch that it could lead to unintended electoral consequences.