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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – An “exceptional” drought is impacting our state’s rivers, therefore it’s impacting us. Some experts said earlier precautions would have put our waterways in a better position. They said state leaders need a solid drought plan.

The Alabama Rivers Alliance said it could be several months before the drought’s end is in sight.

“Fortunately, we’re out of the growing season,” Program Director Mitch Reid said. “So, farmers who have really been hit hard with hay harvest, and haven’t been able to bring in as much this year because of that lack of rainfall, won’t find the pressure to irrigate until next year.”

But, experts said helping our rivers should begin today.

“If we can all be mindful of do I need to use this water, is there a way I can hold off on watering or irrigating so that I can save a little bit of water in the stream,” Reid said of how we could help the situation in the state.

Officials said the problem is some of the water we use doesn’t go back into the streams.

“If you’re using that water for say, irrigation or watering your grass, that water’s not going to go back into the stream,” Reid explained.

Unfortunately, cutting back on water use puts a bigger burden on some.

“The system we have now is really unfair to farmers and lawn and garden people because once we start talking about, ‘oh, we’re in drought,’ the people who have to cut back become those lawn and garden people,” Reid said.

Now, experts are calling on state officials to come up with a plan.

” If we incentivize people to use less water in May, the drought of October wouldn’t be as painful for everybody,” Reid said.