Drought and water rights

Published 11:29 pm Thursday, July 2, 2015


To the editor:

Drought. As I listen to the citizens of Polk County discuss the whys of water rights being sold for 75 years to another state, I wonder at the ability of the commissioners to forget just a few years ago when Polk County turned brown. They were here then, and are quick to point out to others that their roots are stronger than any newcomer. It is good to be proud that you are from Polk; it is indeed a beautiful place to live. When it isn’t brown.

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It is easy to look out the window at the summer rainstorms and ask, “What is the problem?” Well, the problem is, Polk County is already 10.64 inches behind what we should have this year by the end of June. That is 35 percent behind already, and summer has just begun. Look at the chart. The latest normal amount of rainfall for Polk is 65.43 inches of rain.

Another argument is that droughts don’t happen very often. Really? Are you prepared to bet your farm on that, or your business? I would recommend fixing the dam, a onetime deal, and SELL our water to South Carolina or other places that want it. For drought is real, and it will be back. Soon.

Look it up for yourself. Don’t take my word for it, or the word of someone that won’t even tell you why they are willing to give away the water rights for your great grandchildren.

I looked at the official weather data from Station 318744, a co-operative station in Tryon, N.C. that has been recording weather data since 1917. The data is available from the State Climate Office of North Carolina in Raleigh and is in the CRONOS database. You can use this link to see a wealth of climate information about North Carolina:


The data is collected daily at the Tryon co-op station and sent to Asheville to NOAA’s National Center for Environmental Information (formally the National Climatic Data Center NCDC) to be archived and used for climatic studies. The link to NCEI is http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/. The NOAA drought website is http://www.drought.gov/drought/.

David Smith
Columbus, N.C.