Fri, 09 Dec 2016 13:34:00 CST — by: David Evans
This year's drought was certifiably extreme. As od Dec. 6, Sewanee remains in a "severe" drought according to the lastest United States Drought Monitor Map. The impacts of this excessively dry weather have been striking. Lake Jackson reached a low point roughly 22 feet below it's normal level, because rain is the only source of water to refill the reservoir. Soils at the University Farm became so dry they could not carry a current, and some of the goats had to be confined to a smaller-than-normal area since their electric fence no longer worked. Gatlingburg, Tennessee, a resort town just outside of Smokey Mountain National Park was engulfed in a wildfire after a pair of kids played with matches in the nearby park, and abnormally strong winds fanned the flames. Locally, the drought and actions at the State-level eventually led the Sewanee Utility District to announce mandatory water restrictions, which were also embraced by our neighboring utility districts.
If you're curious where Sewanee's water comes from and want to see what the drought looked like in the Fall semester of 2016, check Sustain Sewanee's video on local water resources, below.