Having grown up in the Northeast, the only time I lived in a climate that was significantly different was half a year in Pueblo, Colorado. I am used to a climate that has cold winters, hot summers and about 40 inches of rain a year, pretty evenly spaced throughout all four seasons.
I’m now in the Willamette Valley in Oregon which has a similar climate except the rain tends to take place mostly in the winter.
Driving west across the United States this past week has reminded me how much of the central part of the nation has a lot less rain. The trees disappeared in eastern Kansas, reappeared along the eastern part of the Rockies west of Denver, and then faded away again. Eastern Oregon right is high desert and there are no large tracts of trees here now. I did learn that junipers were harvested…and then found not to be a commercial wood. But the trees which had taken hundreds of years to grow were gone, and there are no new trees now.
Sure, planted trees grow. I’m not talking about the classic windbreaks planted around homesteads on the prairie. I’m talking about natural forests. They are an indication of ground water. In much of the central portion of the country, the only places you see natural tall vegetation (besides the timothy grass) is along water courses.
It surprises me that so much spray irrigation and open canal irrigation is in use instead of drip irrigation. I suspect there is a lot I don’t know, but loss to evaporation has to result in water loss that is open to the air.