As the historic drought now searing more than 60 percent of the US drags on, the impact could soon be sweeping across the country and beyond, reports Gloria Goodale at the Christian Science Monitor. After the obvious push on food prices, drought experts say the cascading chain of secondary societal effects will range from higher utility prices and industry costs in the developed world to population displacements and potential political unrest in less developed regions. More farm and ranch foreclosures will occur since they tend to mortgage themselves for resources and equipment, noted Villanova University geographer Frank Galgano. That loss in turn undermines the tax base of a community which shrinks its capacity to fund every government function from schools to bridge maintenance. Globally the US is a breadbasket, feeding stressed arid countries, and allowing them to use precious water for civic uses, such as drinking. But if the food stops, water will need to be diverted towards growing crops, increasing water stress and discontent in these societies. Experts say the current drought is a wake up call, highlighting the need for better preparedness and mitigation.
US drought: how it could impact food, water needs around the world. The effects of the widespread US drought could range from higher utility prices and industry costs in the developed world to population displacements and political unrest in less developed regions. Christian Science Monitor http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2012/0719/US-drought-how-it-could-impact-food-water-needs-around-the-world