Press Release (Aug 6, 2021)
Local Officials Meet to Discuss Drought
Officials from across the area met in the county EOC in Madison on Wednesday August 4th to discuss the worsening drought conditions across the area. Lac qui Parle conditions have steadily worsened throughout the summer; to drought level of D2: Severe Drought on the USDA drought index across most of the county; with several locations near Boyd reaching D3: Extreme Drought category. According to Craig Schmidt, a service hydrologist for the National Weather Service out of Chanhassen, “Lac qui Parle County would need 5 inches of rain over the next month to get us out of drought conditions; with 9 inches needed over overall to bring the area back to normal levels.”
The meeting was organized by the county Emergency Management Department in an effort to discuss long-term planning in the event aquifer and other water resources run short and what trigger points for citizen and business reduction may be needed. Emergency Management Director Blain Johnson hopes to build on the meeting by creating, formalizing, and adopting a Drought Response Plan, using input from the meeting and other discussions, to guide and inform future response decisions and activity.
“The good news is that both cities of Madison and Dawson have wells that tap into substantial aquifers that do not dry out easily” said Johnson, adding “the only significant issues that may occur in the next year if drought conditions persists are older individual farm wells, which may be much shallower (80-120 feet) than city wells and could dry up if the water table gets low enough.” During the meeting, Don Tweet of the USDA Lac qui Parle County Farm Service Agency, highlighted the federal funding programs that are now open due to reaching the D3 Drought status in our county; assisting livestock and other agricultural producers. Mr. Tweet also discussed some of the restrictions that have been put in place due to the drought on producers which has frustrated some haying operations and other activities.
Area agencies with representatives included: Emergency Management, Madison city administration, Madison public works, Dawson public works, LQP-YB Watershed District, USDA-FSA, and the National Weather Service/NOAA.
The National Weather Service predicts the area will continue to deal with warmer and dryer conditions than normal. Another meeting may be scheduled next year if drought conditions persist or worsen through the fall and into the Spring of 2022.