Repeat of the drought of 2000-05 Could drain Lake Powell - Mountain Buzz
 

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Old 09-04-2016   #1
 
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Repeat of the drought of 2000-05 Could drain Lake Powell

For the water geeks out there, and folks that want to run the Grand in the future:

Absent deep water use cuts, repeat of the drought of 2000-05 would drain Lake Powell

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Old 09-04-2016   #2
 
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Bummer

Quote:
“Today it’s about half full,” Kuhn said. “You can’t go into a drought like that today if it’s half full. Things will have to change in how we do business.”
I read somewhere awhile back that when the SW water use planning was being set up circa 90 years ago it was during a somewhat wetter 10 year period.
Being optimists we went for it.
We were living in a Base Rate Fallacy.
I don't believe we understood or had the tree ring data to work from.
Plus other science.

The west is primarily arid and has had serious droughts scattered throughout the past 1,000 years.

Fact:
There isn't the slightest chance of this country dealing with this problem in a proactive way.
We are in too deep and no one is going to give in anyway.
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Old 09-04-2016   #3
 
Redmond, Oregon
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Move to Bend Oregon.

Not for river running necessarily.

The aquifer under Bend is stunning.
Quality and quantity.

This is going to be a much bigger deal in a couple decades.
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Old 09-04-2016   #4
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Makes me me wonder what this does to population growth in the areas that have, or can get, water. Could even affect areas like Denver, at least for a while, till the water is used up. Denver water might get even wealthier for it's efforts.
Will it increase the odds of Glen canyon dam going away?
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Old 09-04-2016   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BilloutWest View Post
I read somewhere awhile back that when the SW water use planning was being set up circa 90 years ago it was during a somewhat wetter 10 year period.
Being optimists we went for it.
We were living in a Base Rate Fallacy.
I don't believe we understood or had the tree ring data to work from.
Plus other science.

The west is primarily arid and has had serious droughts scattered throughout the past 1,000 years.

Fact:
There isn't the slightest chance of this country dealing with this problem in a proactive way.
We are in too deep and no one is going to give in anyway.
Bill,

I think the actual stat is that it was the wettest 20 years of data that they used to set the allocation between the Upper and Lower Basin states. The data were from around the turn of the last century. And yes, it's total BS that this is how it was done and there's little chance of revisiting that allocation.

One way out is for water managers to better understand the decoupling of water usage and economic and population growth that's occurring. That is, busting the myth that economic and population growth are tied to certain levels of water use. A great example of this is that "Denver residents have managed to reduce water consumption by more than 20 percent in the last 15 years, even with a 15 percent increase in population," as is buried in this Gross Reservoir article from 5280 Magazine. It was disappointing that the author didn't really follow up on the fact water conservation can render projects like that unnecessary.

Here's an article on decoupling. It's a bit long and semi-scholarly but worth the read.

The article begins:
Quote:
When Bart Fisher returned home from college in 1972, his family’s alfalfa fields outside Blythe in California’s southeastern desert produced 7 tons of alfalfa per acre. Today, the Fishers get 10 tons per acre from the same land. They do it with the same amount of water as a much younger Fisher and his family used four decades ago.
That example represents almost a 50% increase in crop yield with the same amount of water. Not bad.

Will there be a lower limit beneath which you simply can't conserve your way out of water over-allocation? Yes, most certainly, but we've still got a lot of slack in the system for greater conservation savings.

Happy reading,

-AH
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Old 09-04-2016   #6
 
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Bend area starting to struggle to keep enough cold water in the rivers to support fish. It's still a desert there which means you can't escape the limited supply/unchecked demand situation. It's the same wishful thinking that has gotten the SW in trouble.
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Old 09-04-2016   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueskypete View Post
Bend area starting to struggle to keep enough cold water in the rivers to support fish. It's still a desert there which means you can't escape the limited supply/unchecked demand situation. It's the same wishful thinking that has gotten the SW in trouble.
The aquifer is still there.
Its is still huge and barely touched even with Bends Growth.

The river is a separate source and a relevant source mostly outside of Bend as it moves in the canals.
Bend is a selfish place.
Folks there don't want canals to be covered or "in a tube". This cuts loss by evaporation. But it hurts their view of and removes the ambient sounds of flowing natural canals "that are historic".

That aquifer isn't wishful. It is absolutely huge.

The geology.

The Bend area never has had much in the way of streams since 7700 years ago.

Mt Mazama erupted.
Dumped so much ash it killed all the large mammals in central Oregon. Deer, Elk, Bear and Humans. Native American presence disappeared for 1500 years in the area.
St Helens was nothing compared to the many feet of ash.

That popcorn pumy soil doesn't allow for much in the way of water channeling into streams. It just goes into the ground. We don't get traditional flooding. The aquifer fills. Especially when one looks at the Cascade Rain/Snow dumps. When one looks at Bachelor and the Three Sisters we should not think of rivers filling in the spring as much as that aquifer.

I know this because I live in Redmond.
We don't have that water.
We get ours from lessor wells and the river.
waaahhhhh
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Old 09-04-2016   #8
 
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Andy.

Part of the problem is water release needs for air conditioners.

Put me down for still too many hands not ready to give in.

I suspect that charging a huge fee for water is the only answer.

We need to put farmers out of business that don't go drip or change crops.

I don't need almonds anyway.
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Old 09-05-2016   #9
 
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Before people get all up in arms over farming irrigation practices they better start cutting back their beef consumption.

55% of the water consumed in the US and 1/3rd of the world's fresh water goes to animal based agriculture.

1000 gallons of water are required to produce 1 gallon of milk.

2500 gallons of water are required to produce 1 pound of beef.

Livestock or livestock feed cover 1/3rd of the Earth's ice free land.

Livestock and their byproducts account for 51% of all world wide greenhouse gas emissions.


COWSPIRACY: The Sustainability Secret
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Old 09-05-2016   #10
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Wow, that's pretty incredible. Could definitely see other advantages to cutting back our beef consumption to, like the damage grazing and over grazing does to at least some of our public lands.

Would be good to see a list of the the most heavily irigated foods if anyone has ever come across one.
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