The experts at the Governor’s Drought Advisory Committee Thursday left little room for optimism about this summer’s weather. All the forecasts pointed to a drought in Iowa this summer, and state climatologist Harry Hillaker says there’s a good chance it’ll be even hotter than normal, too. Back in October, the Iowa Army Corps of Engineers went to drought emergency status for the Corallville, Red Rock and Saylorville Reservoirs. Iowa’s the only Corps division in the nation to go to that status. Iowa Cattlemen’s Association president Dave Petty says livestock farmers in the southern third of Iowa are in dire straights.Adair County farmer Fritz Langguth says things are pretty bad for livestock farmers in his area. He says the immediate need is to get water and feed to keep the seed stock alive.All sorts of ideas were discussed, such as releasing Conservation Reserve Program acreage for livestock grazing — and lifting federal rules which prevent cattle from drinking water from ponds and streams in that C-R-P ground. Iowa Farm Bureau president Ed Wiederstein had another idea, haying road ditches.State officials allowed livestock to graze in road ditches in 1989. L-D McMullen, president of the Iowa Association of Water Agencies, says most large water systems which depend on rivers or underground water are o-k now — and most have back-up supplies. However, Ames and Newton depend upon surface water — and conservation measures are being planned.State officials expect to order farmers who draw water from streams for irrigation to stop soon, as river levels are too low. The task force will meet again in June, July and August. As the Governor’s Drought Task Force met, northeast Iowans continued a flood-fight. Winneshiek County Emergency Management Coordinator Howard Ness says a few hundred people turned out in Decorah to fill sandbags.He says sand-bag dikes on the west side of Decorah are at ’93 levels. Ness says they’re watching the Turkey and Upper Iowa Rivers.
You are here: / / Drought task force meets will flood battle continues