CHICAGO, Ill.— Yesterday I was surprised to notice the irrigation of corn fields along the Ronald Reagan Toll Road, or Interstate 88 in Illinois. What defines the Midwest and its row crops is the generous rainfall that enables crops without irrigation. This isn’t Nebraska after all.
Maybe the rigs have been there for a while, but they were not a good sign of how the Midwest is contending with dry conditions. It was irritating to see the nozzles aimed poorly, watering large sections of roads. Not irritating enough to stop the car, find the farmer and ask him or her about it. I didn’t want to be late.
In preventing the effects of climate change, depleting our aquifers for crop irrigation is not the right path.
There was plenty to think about as I made my way into the loop and McCormick Place for the conference. Water management in the climate changed Midwest is a thought that persisted until morning.