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Southern Alberta continues to battle drought despite wet July

Southern Alberta continues to battle drought despite wet July
WATCH: Dry conditions have improved across Alberta this summer, however, a long-term moisture deficit is holding the southeast in a drought. Meteorologist Tiffany Lizée explains.

Wet weather throughout June and July has improved dry conditions across much of the Prairies, however, pockets of moderate to severe drought can still be found in southeastern Alberta.

At the end of May, 37 per cent of the Prairies were dealing with moderate to exceptional drought but, now that it’s August, that number has improved to six per cent.

READ MORE: Lack of snow in southern Alberta causing drought concerns for spring (Jan. 11, 2019)

That six per cent includes areas in southeastern Alberta. Areas like Brooks and Lethbridge are still experiencing the effects of long-term moisture deficits and that’s having a major impact on farmers and producers.

The Canadian Drought Monitor showing the most recent conditions across southern Alberta as of July 31, 2019.
The Canadian Drought Monitor showing the most recent conditions across southern Alberta as of July 31, 2019. Canadian Drought Monitor

Bob Bildersheim has land west of Brooks, Alta., and said there hasn’t been much moisture over the past couple of years.

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“When the rain happens, the grass grows,” Bildersheim said Monday. “When the rain doesn’t happen… it doesn’t grow.”

Since May, the Brooks region has only had 53 per cent of the normal rainfall.

This is forcing ranchers like Bildersheim to get creative with their livestock.

Bob Bildersheim has land and livestock west of Brooks, Alta where conditions are currently in a severe drought state.
Bob Bildersheim has land and livestock west of Brooks, Alta where conditions are currently in a severe drought state. Global News

“That’s the tough part out here,” he said. “If I’m depending on runoff water for the pasture, it’s drying up pretty much.

“I have to move the pasture and move the cattle out of that pasture when the water supply dries up.”

With harvest and haying season around the corner, producers in southeast Alberta are hoping for a wet end to summer and then dry weather for fall.

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WATCH (July 19, 2019): Alberta growing season: drought then too much rain

Alberta growing season: drought then too much rain
Alberta growing season: drought then too much rain

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