Water Woes

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Res Ipsa
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Water Woes

Post by Res Ipsa »

The Bureau of Reclamation has declared a Tier 2 water emergency for the Colorado River, triggering new cuts.https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate- ... clamation/ (Paywall)

Highlights (or, rather lowlights):
The Colorado River’s decline has drained three-quarters of the water from the nation’s largest reservoirs, and falling closer than ever to levels where hydroelectric dams can’t generate power and millions of people lose access to drinking water and irrigation supplies across seven states.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation declared that the Lower Colorado River Basin has reached what’s called a “Tier 2” shortage, requiring cuts in water use that will diminish what Arizona gets by 21 percent, Nevada by 8 percent and the country of Mexico by 7 percent.
The Bureau of Reclamation’s announcement Tuesday means that water releases from Glen Canyon and Hoover Dams, on Lakes Powell and Mead, will be further reduced next year. This is the second consecutive year that authorities have declared such shortages.

Lake Powell is expected to be at 3,522 feet by Jan. 1, 2023 — a level that is just 32 feet above an electricity-generating threshold known as the “minimum power pool.” Lake Mead is expected to be at 1,048 feet, prompting the additional cutbacks in Nevada, Arizona and Mexico.
Wade said that some 690,000 acres are expected to be left fallow in California this year, leaving crops such as tomatoes, melons, rice and alfalfa in shorter supply, and more is expected with future Colorado River cuts. Paul Orme, a lawyer who represents farmers in Pinal County, Ariz., said that of the 250,000 acres of irrigable land in the county, up to 100,000 will have to be left unplanted, a situation that’s “bad in every direction.”

“'Fallowing' is the F-word around here — nobody likes it,” said Robert Schettler, a spokesman with the Imperial Irrigation District in California, a supplier of irrigation water from the Colorado River. “It has an impact on the local economy. And agriculture is our backbone. Productive land is taken out of production. There’s less work for farmworkers, seed salesmen, hay balers and everything that goes with it.”
He said that the past few years have revealed a disturbing trend: that even in years with close to average precipitation, the amount of runoff making it into reservoirs is dramatically down, suggesting a fundamental long-term change in the relationship between the snowpack in the mountains and how much water will make it through the drought-parched West.

“Now the thinking is: To get average inflows into the reservoirs — that would lead to an average operation — you actually have to have significantly higher-than-normal precipitation and snowpack,” he said.

“That’s a game changer,” he said.
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Doctor Steuss
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Re: Water Woes

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Res Ipsa wrote:
Tue Aug 16, 2022 5:44 pm
The Bureau of Reclamation has declared a Tier 2 water emergency for the Colorado River, triggering new cuts.https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate- ... clamation/ (Paywall)

Highlights (or, rather lowlights):
Lake Mead is expected to be at 1,048 feet, prompting the additional cutbacks in Nevada, Arizona and Mexico.
As of yesterday, Lake Mead's level is now 1,042 feet; and that's with the modest bump from the recent rain. :cry:

Unrelated, but related: Fourth set of human remains found as Lake Mead.
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Doctor CamNC4Me
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Re: Water Woes

Post by Doctor CamNC4Me »

My wife and I moved to the Colorado River Basin a little over a year ago. The first thing we did after taking possession of the property was to bury it in about 8” of shredded tree carcasses. No lawn!

So. Yeah. We installed a yard-wide drip system, and are now growing an enjoyable garden. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that not only is our yard’s biome recovering quickly, but what we’ve planted has grown very well - it’s lush, healthy, etc. I can’t quite figure out how much I’m saving in terms of gallons versus someone who has a well-maintained lawn, but if it takes ~3k gallons to water a property that’s ~1/4 acre x 3 waterings per week x 4 weeks, I’m coming in at 25-30% their usage.

Of course, if climate trends hold I’ll be xeriscaping sage brush and cacti in about 5 years.

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1. Speech is aggression.
2. Every utterance has a winner or a loser.
3. Curiosity is feigned.
4. Lying is performative.
5. Stupidity is power.
Res Ipsa
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Re: Water Woes

Post by Res Ipsa »

And it’s not just the U.S. — China is facing similar problems. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/ch ... e7d650ebe3
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Re: Water Woes

Post by ¥akaSteelhead »

150-300 million climate refugees by 2050 makes a real interesting scenario for geopolitical lines.
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canpakes
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Re: Water Woes

Post by canpakes »

Doctor CamNC4Me wrote:
Tue Aug 16, 2022 8:26 pm
My wife and I moved to the Colorado River Basin a little over a year ago. The first thing we did after taking possession of the property was to bury it in about 8” of shredded tree carcasses. No lawn!
Make sure that this mulch layer doesn’t ride up against the house, and every so often, dig down through it in random spots to check for termite action. They love this stuff, and you don’t want a random colony that’s just getting started to think that your house is part of the smörgåsbord.
So. Yeah. We installed a yard-wide drip system, and are now growing an enjoyable garden. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that not only is our yard’s biome recovering quickly, but what we’ve planted has grown very well - it’s lush, healthy, etc. I can’t quite figure out how much I’m saving in terms of gallons versus someone who has a well-maintained lawn, but if it takes ~3k gallons to water a property that’s ~1/4 acre x 3 waterings per week x 4 weeks, I’m coming in at 25-30% their usage.

Of course, if climate trends hold I’ll be xeriscaping sage brush and cacti in about 5 years.

- Doc
The neighborhood is getting cautions with secondary water usage, so I’ve been experimenting with borderline xeriscape plants, like certain types of penstemon, agaves and desert grasses, that might survive winter in USDA zones to 5 or 6. A lot of their success is dependent more on soil preparation (good drainage, less organic matter) and snow management (keep melting wet snow off of them, as they prefer a ‘dry cold’). It would be great to get more of these in the yard and to begin to scale the lawn back.

Your garden is going to love your approach. If you’re willing, post a pic!
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canpakes
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Re: Water Woes

Post by canpakes »

Doctor Steuss wrote:
Tue Aug 16, 2022 6:07 pm
Res Ipsa wrote:
Tue Aug 16, 2022 5:44 pm
The Bureau of Reclamation has declared a Tier 2 water emergency for the Colorado River, triggering new cuts.https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate- ... clamation/ (Paywall)

Highlights (or, rather lowlights):
As of yesterday, Lake Mead's level is now 1,042 feet; and that's with the modest bump from the recent rain. :cry:

Unrelated, but related: Fourth set of human remains found as Lake Mead.
We’re up a foot today! w00t!

Here’s a link to check in whenever curious:

https://mead.uslakes.info/level.asp
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Doctor Steuss
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Re: Water Woes

Post by Doctor Steuss »

canpakes wrote:
Sun Aug 21, 2022 5:30 pm
We’re up a foot today! w00t!

Here’s a link to check in whenever curious:

https://mead.uslakes.info/level.asp
Having the two previous years shown is a bit of a kick in the ole reproductive bits.
Res Ipsa
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Re: Water Woes

Post by Res Ipsa »

Meanwhile, in France:

https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/fr ... 022-08-17/

Not only is the river short of water, the nuclear power plants that use the river water for cooling have to operate at reduced capacity. The photos of dried up tributaries are pretty dramatic.
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Doctor CamNC4Me
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Re: Water Woes

Post by Doctor CamNC4Me »

Understanding up front that individuals make essentially no difference when it comes to overall water conservation, what are you all doing to conserve water so you’re acting within your own ethos? My wife and I have a fairly strict ‘if it’s yellow let it mellow’ policy, though it’s always fun to drive by a farmer’s thirsty corn field to witness the end cap to a large side roll watering system detached and thousand of gallons spilling onto the high desert floor … just pooling.

- Doc
1. Speech is aggression.
2. Every utterance has a winner or a loser.
3. Curiosity is feigned.
4. Lying is performative.
5. Stupidity is power.
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