How soon will our drought have an effect beyond growing grass or corn? Eventually, it will impact the water supply, says state climatologist Jim Angel. “The first thing to dry out is the soil moisture, so that has the biggest impact on homeowners with their landscape and the farmers. The second thing to go is usually the stream flows, and then the lake levels, and then the final thing is ground water supplies,” he said.
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Cities such as Decatur and Springfield, whose water supply comes from lakes, will feel a pinch from the drought first, because the lakes aren’t being replenished, and are subject to evaporation. Cities that depend on an underground aquifer are less likely to have a problem with the water supply, and more likely to have a problem pumping the volume their citizens need in the hot, dry weather. Navigation on the Ohio, Mississippi and Illinois rivers could be impacted too, but it will take a long drought, Angel says.