For the first time ever, rancher Jimmie Hughes saw all 15 of the ponds he keeps for his cattle dry up at the same time this year.
Now, he and his co-workers are forced to haul tanks of water two hours over dusty, mountain roads to water their 300 cows. “It’s just a daily grind, we’re not making any money,” the 50-year-old Mr. Hughes said one day late last month, amid another day of unwavering sun in a winter that has seen very little rain here in Southern Utah.
The Southwest is locked in drought again, prompting cutbacks to farms and ranches and putting renewed pressure on urban supplies. Extreme to exceptional drought is afflicting between 57% and 90% of the land in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Arizona and is shriveling a snowpack that supplies water to 40 million people from Denver to Los Angeles, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.