Drought tests our mettle
The Kansas City Star
The scorching drought of 2012 is not over. Far from it. Even more triple-digit high temperatures are forecast for the coming week in the Kansas City area.
And make no mistake: Even if it does rain a bit, the moisture won’t come close to replenishing local lakes or making up for weeks of stress on lawns across the region.
Like many natural disasters, this drought is creating problems that lead to little good news.
Food prices are going to spike as corn, soybeans and many other crops wither in the field. This will particularly drain the wallets of low-income area residents who spend a higher percentage of their income on food.
Electric and water bills are going to soar. That “normal” monthly bill of $100 or so for electricity? Try doubling it at least, even if you responsibly are bumping the thermostat up a few degrees to try to save money.
Tourist locations are going to be hurt as people stay home either to save money for utility bills or to stay off the roads.
Meanwhile, elected officials in Missouri and Kansas are properly being aggressive in seeking assistance. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon earlier this month sought — and the state was granted — federal disaster assistance for eligible farmers in all of its counties. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has made the same request for almost all counties in his state, too.
Around the region, cities including Lee’s Summit and Olathe have urged residents to conserve water. That’s a good tactic other cities should explore.
Given how long the drought and its effects could last — possibly stretching into the fall — the metro area must take precautions to make sure there will be enough drinking water to serve the public.
People come first, lawns and plants after that.