How drought conditions are impacting South Dakota

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – You don’t have to look far to find dry conditions in KELOLAND – just a few weeks ago we talked with people across the state dealing with the the drought.

Mark Sweeney is a professor in the department of sustainability and environment at the University of South Dakota.

“With climate change, we tend to get more things on both ends of the scale, so we will get the extremely wet years and extremely dry years and so I do anticipate we will be seeing more of this type of thing in the future,” professor in department of sustainability and environment, Mark Sweeney said.

He says the northern part of the state has been one of the hardest hit.

“Northeastern South Dakota, north-central South Dakota seem to be the most impacted and that, of course, is pretty bad because that area is so intensively, has intensive agriculture, grow a lot of crops, and so that’s where we will see some of the worst impact,” Sweeney said.

It’s also impacting resources that farmers and ranchers use for livestock.

“I haven’t heard a whole lot about groundwater impacts yet this year, although there have been a lot of surface water impacts for stock dams and stock ponds for people who raise livestock,” Sweeney said.

While we continue to see hot, dry conditions, it’s something we should take seriously.

“Things like this really should make us focus on making sure we have plans in place for really severe droughts in this state so that ultimately the economic impact can be minimized to the best extent possible,” Sweeney said.

He also says when it comes to river levels, systems like the Big Sioux River and James River have lower flows compared to recent years.

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