THE MEGADROUGHT SERIES

Only One State Can Say They’re Still In The Megadrought

Arthur Keith
ILLUMINATION-Curated
10 min readJun 4, 2024

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And I happen to be living in it

The more red the color, the worse the drought. The most red and dark red areas are in New Mexico. (Yes, that’s a state!) Graphic by the National Weather Service and NOAA for the week of May 18, 2024.

Introduction

New Mexico bears the brunt of jokes as it is almost always at the bottom of the fifty U.S. states in many categories, such as education and average salaries.

We’re constantly vying with Mississippi and West Virginia over last place.

I think we’re the most misunderstood state.

However, it is a beautiful and varied land with deserts, mountains, and forests. But now it’s at the bottom of another metric: rain.

Since I moved here, writing about climate change, especially that of the Southwest U.S., has become very dear to my heart.

Learning about the Southwest, I knew the Colorado River was at the epicenter of the West’s drinking water and power generation issues. Still, I never knew that New Mexico was involved in it. The Colorado doesn’t flow through New Mexico.

As it turns out, a Colorado tributary, the San Juan River, flows through northwestern New Mexico, allowing the state to receive 11.5% of the Colorado’s water. We are also credited with our contribution from the Gila River, which begins in the Southern part of the state, flowing through Arizona to the…

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Arthur Keith
ILLUMINATION-Curated

My goal is to inform, educate, & entertain. Top writer in LGBTQ, Music, Climate Change. Directionally dyslexic with an excellent sense of direction.