Drought cycles in Colorado
You can't always count on unlimited water at the tap. If you look at the history of the state, you'll see that droughts are regular visitors to Colorado. In the 1900's alone, four prolonged dry spells occurred. There was one in the 1910s. Another, in the '30s, caused the dust-bowl period.The second worst drought on record occurred in the mid-50s. A series of hot, dry summers following a period of scant mountain snowpack created water shortages. The fourth drought hit parts of Colorado in the late 1970s. In this century, the most severe drought since 1723 hit the state in 2002. Prior to the 1700's, researchers looking at tree ring records have found evidence of even more severe droughts, some lasting many years.
It is not a question of if, but when, the next water crisis will hit Colorado. What can you do to prepare for the inevitable dry face of Mother Nature? Landscapes will be one of the first things affected by water shortages. High water-requiring yards easily fall victim to limited water. Do something now to minimize the impact of future droughts. Design and plant landscapes that can withstand drier periods. You'll be more in tune with living in the West.
For more information, see the following Colorado State Extension fact sheet(s).
- Xeriscaping: Creative Landscaping
- Xeriscaping: Trees and Shrubs
- Xeriscaping: Ground Cover Plants
- Ornamental Grasses
- Wildflowers in Colorado
- Xeriscaping: Retrofit Your Yard
- Drought Tip Sheets
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Updated Friday, April 19, 2013