Govt. hauls water to horses in drought-ravaged West

Farm Forum

Persistent drought in the West has prompted federal agencies to begin hauling water to herds of wild horses in Nevada and restricting grazing on public lands across the region.

In one part of Lincoln County, Nev., the Bureau of Land Management said it is trucking 25,000 gallons of water a day, five days a week to four locations at a cost of $5,000 a day.

Temperatures in the state have soared well above normal, and parts of Nevada have received scant rain – 0.1 to 0.5 inches recently.

The result, the BLM said, is “sparse, poor-quality forage,” which also affects wildlife and livestock that depend on federal land.

Agency workers have reported that some of the wild mustangs were not drinking the trucked-in the water or eating supplemental hay, suggesting they were in stress. A federal veterinarian is expected to examine the animals soon.

More than 60 percent of the state is experiencing severe or extreme drought. In neighboring New Mexico, 93 percent of the state’s range lands and pastures are in poor or very poor conditions, the BLM said.

The agency is asking federal land grazers to reduce the acres they use for livestock.