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AIRE Jag
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It might be worth mentioning, that the shitty hand that they have been dealt is entirely of their own making..
Agree, 100%. And it's been a known problem for decades. And it came with all the data and projections you could possibly need/want.

I'd love for anyone out there to provide an example of how this country has ever been proactive vs. reactive when it comes to matters like this. Or demonstrate how we don't have the worst perpetual case of collective amnesia about essentially every crisis/problem ever.* I guarantee if the Colorado basin was magically gifted 2-3 years of above-average water, most people would totally forget about this and the powers that be would not use the opportunity to meaningfully get ahead of things.

*Please also see covid, every oil crisis, recession, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #182 ·
I wouldn't hold my left hand on my ass waiting for this to materialize, the government is has and likely always will be reactive, while claiming to be proactive, but if there isn't a clear and compelling threat to something, the government ignores it and chugs along as if nothing untoward is happening, right up until it all crashes down around them

That being said, I just came across this. Kudos to Utah!

 

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What makes you think they aren't considering long term effects? What makes you think there aren't negotiations going on right now? Just because BOR needs to release water right-now to keep power generation going doesn't mean they have their heads up their asses. You seem to think decision makers only go the easy route, but what other solutions are there? They need water in the lake to keep power generation up, they aren't trying to fill the reservoir. If the lake goes to deadpool, they are genuinely and truly fucked. And when you can't run the GC you all will be bitching that they didn't empty the upper reservoirs soon enough. Does the long term management of the Colorado River Basin need to be updated and changed? Abso-fucking-lutely but those negotiations aren't easy and will take some time to work out between all of the stake-holders. In the meantime, BOR is just trying to keep their head above water while being dealt a really shitty hand.
I respectfully disagree. Government bureaucracy (aka BOR) is generally slow, cumbersome, and resistant to innovation and change. Water law/rights are also incredibly complex. And those upper basin users are going to fight like hell to not lose their water. I can all but guarantee that if BOR were to try to open the drain on the upper reservoirs, it would immediately go to court. Injunction is issued. Water is not drained. Slow expensive litigation begins.

The plan is a 6-9 month band-aid at best, assuming BOR is even able to implement said plan on demand. And it comes with serious ramifications for a whole bunch of upstream water users. And I'd bet the bank BOR is not doing as much as they could/should to figure out a real solution because myriad organizational/political constraints.
 

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I agree with all ya'lls statements on short sighted government bureaucracy and how they haven't handled it well and how it seems unlikely that much will change any time soon. What I don't see, and I'm truly interested in an answer, is ideas for real solutions on how to truly handle the problem. A lot of "they're doing it wrong" but not a ton of actual solutions beyond cutting water use in general which is easier said then done in any meaningful way. It is far from an easy thing to figure out. The only certain thing is that it seems we have less water to work with and more resources that require it... how we make that work is very unclear to me.
 

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I agree with all ya'lls statements on short sighted government bureaucracy and how they haven't handled it well and how it seems unlikely that much will change any time soon. What I don't see, and I'm truly interested in an answer, is ideas for real solutions on how to truly handle the problem. A lot of "they're doing it wrong" but not a ton of actual solutions beyond cutting water use in general which is easier said then done in any meaningful way. It is far from an easy thing to figure out. The only certain thing is that it seems we have less water to work with and more resources that require it... how we make that work is very unclear to me.
While much of this highly unlikely considering how stubborn we are as a country and resistant to change, here is a short list of a few tough things I think could/should be happening.

Again, I emphasize should happen but probably won't happen.
  • Curtail or stop growth in the most Colorado River-dependent areas of Southern California, Phoenix, Las Vegas (People shriek about economy and freedom, doesn't happen)
  • Buy-out the biggest water users in the aforementioned metro areas, relocation incentives/assistance. This includes industry and agriculture. We probably don't need to grow super water intensive crops in a blistering hot desert. (More shrieking about freedom and rights, people fighting to preserve lifestyles and $$).
  • Implement wide-sweeping water conservation measures in So Cal, PHX, LV. Further incentivize ripping up grass, xeriscaping, etc. No more corporate fountains, pools, ponds/lakes, acres of watered grass no one ever sets foot upon. (Again people shriek about personal freedom, rights, etc.).
  • Decrease power demand. Create energy efficiency incentives for industry and individuals. How about car dealerships and shopping malls not keep acres of lights shining on acres of cars or empty pavement at 2:00am.
It won't happen. We have the means, but we ultimately lack the political will to do most things that are tough. People would rather preserve their sacred cows while simultaneously destroying them. You can't make water appear out of thin air, yet all these metro areas will actively pursue growth and new businesses, residents, etc. because that's how our economy works. And in the U.S. it's economic growth above all else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #186 ·
While much of this highly unlikely considering how stubborn we are as a country and resistant to change, here is a short list of a few tough things I think could/should be happening.

Again, I emphasize should happen but probably won't happen.
  • Curtail or stop growth in the most Colorado River-dependent areas of Southern California, Phoenix, Las Vegas (People shriek about economy and freedom, doesn't happen)
  • Buy-out the biggest water users in the aforementioned metro areas, relocation incentives/assistance. This includes industry and agriculture. We probably don't need to grow super water intensive crops in a blistering hot desert. (More shrieking about freedom and rights, people fighting to preserve lifestyles and $$).
  • Implement wide-sweeping water conservation measures in So Cal, PHX, LV. Further incentivize ripping up grass, xeriscaping, etc. No more corporate fountains, pools, ponds/lakes, acres of watered grass no one ever sets foot upon. (Again people shriek about personal freedom, rights, etc.).
  • Decrease power demand. Create energy efficiency incentives for industry and individuals. How about car dealerships and shopping malls not keep acres of lights shining on acres of cars or empty pavement at 2:00am.
It won't happen. We have the means, but we ultimately lack the political will to do most things that are tough. People would rather preserve their sacred cows while simultaneously destroying them. You can't make water appear out of thin air, yet all these metro areas will actively pursue growth and new businesses, residents, etc. because that's how our economy works. And in the U.S. it's economic growth above all else.
Well put, and I completely concur that we should be doing this, the town in Utah in my opinion is taking a step in the right direction, but this won't work unless entire states adopt this mindset. Wishful thinking...
 

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You know, I'm gonna catch a whole lot of hell for this - but I think it's time we question on a world wide level if perhaps we have indeed reached, if not surpassed the tipping point on what is sustainable healthy balanced living when it comes to how we are closing in on eight billion people fast, when I seem to think it was six billion about 15 - 20 years ago, and perhaps just one billion one hundred years ago or so.

I'm reading about record setting storms one right after the other, what just happened in Europe and now what is happening in China.

What's going on out west here in the states now is definately not something that was going on say 25 years ago, unless I am missing something - and please forgive me if I am.

I know I know, the whole human population can fit in Texas, and even Rhode Island if we think vertically and perhaps even Bridgeport CT if we tunnel deep enough - but that's not the point.

Something is very very wrong if we keep needing to have to come up with new ideas to increase food production, power demands, living space - and funny you never hear about the increase in pollution, waste water, garbage, etc....

This thread needs to be on the cover of every national newspaper - that's how important this discussion is.
 

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I know this is naive...but would it work if we just changed our lifestyles say 35-50%? You know. Rain catchment, perma culture, ride bikes to work 3 times a week buy local veggies yada yada yada? Victory gardens! Solstice ritual sex parties....maybe if we listened to that whiney little Greta and just did a little it would snow again? Is it going to snow again? Cause my two steoke polluting snowmobile still not broke in! Nevermind we should event some pocket sized nuclear shite...
There is both good news and bad news about our future. The good news is that solstice ritual sex parties will solve everything. Oh, wait, sorry, that may not be true. EDIT TO ADD: But what the hell, maybe it's worth a try? haha.

The true good news is that all predictions abut the future do not need to come true. It all depends on what we do now. If we stop adding greenhouses gases to the atmosphere (from burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and harmful agriculture practices), global warming will stop and the planet will not get hotter. Predictions about worsening drought and soil-drying heat would not come true.

The bad news is that even if we stop emitting greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane, the climate will not return to what it was previously and the drought in the SW will not go away. The climate won't continue to change for the worse, but it also won't return to the previous climate (you know, the one we've had for the past 11,000 years that allowed humans to develop agriculture and civilization and that all of our current infrastructure was built for). The only way to return to the climate of 50 or 150 years ago is to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, and we don't currently have the technology to do that.

Scientists have understood the greenhouse effect and global carbon cycle for more than 150 years, and these are relatively easy to model. The variable that is hardest to model is what humans will do -- will we keep on emitting greenhouse gases or will we change? We have most of the technology we need to rapidly get to zero emissions but we don't have the political will to do it.

In the future we will still have wet years and cool years, but the general trend is hotter and drier in the SW, even if we stop emitting greenhouse gases today. Global emissions are continuing to rise, so things will get worse for awhile.

And yes, we need to stop consuming and building in arid regions.
 

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Good luck getting people to voluntarily stop popping out kids. Heck, even when China had the one child mandate people were going to big lengths to get around it. I think major cut backs on water use are the first step and relatively easily remedied. Las Vegas and other southwestern cities have already started SOME of that with requiring golf courses to cut back grassy areas, maximum lawn sizes, strict watering rules and actually enforcing them, and some other stuff. Still a ton more to be done though. Industry and Agricultural water use reform need a lot more restrictions. Its really unfortunate how the "water market" was created in the Western US. It makes it very hard to get people to reduce their use. It would be nice if they didn't own a certain amount, but instead had a percentage of what was available. Also, some incentives to being more efficient and not using all that is technically available for your use.
 

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In my opinion, there are many reasons the Colorado River is not servicing the current demands for it's water.

Probably the main ones are growth of farms, cities and population along the river's path. These and more reasons demand more water than is available.

Back when the dams were built, my guess is plenty of water for that time.

Now, the demand is far greater than ever thought.

Droughts come and go. Recent growth tho is growing faster than river flow allows.

We are currently in a drought situation. Current water demand plus the cyclical drought puts the population in a bad place.

My guess is changing the weather patterns is going to be difficult. Changing demand is also going to be difficult buy may well be the only solution at this time that works.
I would argue that we are not in drought period whatsoever and actually still wetter in comparison to the average over the last several thousand years. The early 1900's when the Colorado Rive Compact was signed were historically much wetter than the norm. We're in for a world of hurt with the population increase in the Southwest. Move out before it's to late! :)
 

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Sarcasm is the same as doing nothing but unfortunately in this situation I think we’re so completely fucked it’s not gonna matter. I have heard that lake Powell is shutting down certain aspects of operation and houseboats in Wahweap need to be out by Saturday. I have some pictures from about two weeks ago taken from the upper delta below the cataract take out which I will try and post tonight which are very telling.
 

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These photos were taken in early July by a buddy who went down to run cataract but the rest of the group was not willing to deal with issues at the takeout and bailed so he decided to go on to Lake Powell and drive up past Hite and see what the Delta looked like up there and spent over a week riding around on his bike and walking. Assuming I have these loaded in the right order they should be taken from above and then down towards the lake.

from what I have just heard motorized traffic is being pulled from the lake and only IKs and Paddle Board‘s are being allowed.
 

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I forgot to mention that he ran into a couple park service employees up there who work on the lake and we’re just checking things out and were curious to see all of his photos and why he was up there but they seem to understand that their situation was not going to a last for more than a year or two at most. The mud up there was obviously pretty stinky and travel was not easy but the bike worked well for him apparently once he was able to get above the muck onto dry ground.
 

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Discussion Starter · #196 ·
That's grim.. I'll bet it was stinky, all those houseboats dumping all that sewage all those years.. Or just decomposing detritus, but none the less. Thanks for sharing that.

Interesting article this AM about the UAE and their "rainmaking"..

One can't help but wonder if all this engineering of nature is going to have unintended consequences..
 
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No kidding, we've allowed corporations to influence the weather without a care for decades.


Then they just stop when they want

and who knows the consequences of any of it...no one. That valley had historically low flows this year though. Makes you go hmm. Businesses, like Vail Resorts, doen't care, exploitation is the name of the game.
 

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Discussion Starter · #198 ·
On the subject of Nuclear reactors, here's one they are developing in China, waterless, instead molten salt.
 
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I go back and forth on Nuclear Energy.

Personally, I think it's really the only real viable solution based on what we have today, because solar and wind just ain't gonna cut it - BUT - it has to be done responsibly, otherwise as we all know very bad things happen.

I had an uncle who recently passed away, Eckhart Ewest from the German side of the family back home, and he spent his entire career on Nuclear Energy from I believe the scientific point of view, and even has a few interesting patents to his credit:

Sadly, he died far too young and suffered greatly from bone cancer.

I can't help but wonder if the two were somehow related.

But he loved life, nature, and while he was alive - never took anything for granted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #200 ·
For those of you interested, here's the latest BOR report


And the latest drought update.

BUREAU OF RECLAMATION DROUGHT OPERATIONS UPDATE
Sent via Email on July 22nd, 2021 In the next few days, Lake Powell’s water surface elevation will drop below
3,555.10 feet, which was the previous record low reached back in April 2005
following the initial years of the drought. Lake Powell’s elevation is expected to drop another two feet by the end of July and
will likely continue to decline until next year’s spring runoff into the Colorado
River begins. To further help put things into perspective, since its pre-drought high elevation of
3,700 feet (95% capacity) in September 1999, Lake Powell has dropped more than
145 vertical feet, lost 16 million-acre feet of water (enough to service 64 million
suburban households annually) and is currently at 33% capacity. In anticipation of increasingly severe drought, the Upper Basin states and
Reclamation entered into a Drought Response Operations Agreement in 2019. Under this agreement, we initiated delivery of supplemental water to Lake Powell. We will continue to closely monitor conditions and projections as we work with
the seven Colorado Basin states on a Drought Response Operations Plan in the
coming months. You can visit our website to view the current elevation at Lake Powell

Sobering....
 
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