Sunday, April 5, 2015

Nothing New Under The Hot Sun In California -- April 5, 2015


April 6, 2015: the WSJ weighs in -- "green" policies are exacerbating drought conditions in California.

Later, 10:52 p.m. CT: well, that was fast. WeatherUnderground is reporting:
Forecast: Western Snow Significant.  Snow is likely in the Cascades, Siskiyous, Sierra Nevada, Bitterroots from Easter Sunday through early Wednesday. Total snow over parts of the Sierra and Siskiyous may top 1 foot through Wednesday.
Later, 8:41 p.m. CT: another reader provided this comment --
California has lost ALL PERSPECTIVE on the supply and uses of available fresh water supplies in the state. Believe it or not, there is a fresh water inventory on supply and uses of water, based on dry, normal and wet years in CA. 
The public and media ignorance on this is alarming. Notice the official California water supply and usage inventory maintained by the CADWR linked below. This inventory shows that in a dry year, TOTAL URBAN use of water is only about 13%.
ENVIRONMENTAL WATER is 35%, and AGRICULTURAL USE is about 52%. Of course the percentages of Urban use (and the other 2 categories) is less during average and wet years as you might expect. 
See chart at bottom of this page: I  have seen other data showing that of the 8% to 13% (depending on wet, avg, and dry years), only a little more than half of those amounts are used for OUTDOOR residential watering in CA
The Sierra Club used to have a webpage showing this but have removed the page from their website. A PDF printout of the Sierra Club's publication (The Yodeler) provided data obtained from state agencies. They show the breakout of water use in more detail.
Again some simple math can give you the percentages. One immediately notices the extremely small amount of water used by residential households both for indoor, and outdoor water use. All these restrictions are "hammering down" on the wrong sources of usage. The water use is for environmental purposes is huge -- much of which is simply fresh water drained into the Pacific and various CA inlet areas to protect the flora, fauna, and fishes. 
My comments: a) California's leaders and the top 15 "green" Hollywood actors have lost perspective on more than just water usage; b) I've also noticed websites coming down once the story line does not fit environmentalists' agenda; and, c) as the implications of the drought worsen, the battle among environmentalists, farmers, and the uninformed will get much worse.
Later, 8:33 p.m. CT: a reader sent in two comments regarding the post below.
First: I grew up in North Dakota and lived there until I went to college in Arizona in 1969. I have had bad allergies since early childhood. These allergies went away when I moved to Arizona. I did not have any problems for 15-plus years. Then the Midwest people started importing all those non-desert plants from home including the weeds that came with the plants and my allergies came back. So the desert at one point was a good place for someone with allergies to live. It is till not as bad as North Dakota. Arizona now has laws that ban importing some of those plants.
Second: With regard to Lake Mead, back in the late 90's there was hardly a "bathtub ring." A recent picture of Lake Mead sugggests the ring is 100 feet. The marinas I used on Lake Mead back then are not even there anymore. 
Later, 2:32 p.m. CT: a reader found this interesting PDF that dates back to the California drought back in 1977. The pdf:

Original Post

Does anyone recall this? Years and years and years ago, folks in the Midwest who had severe "hayfever" allergies (weeds, flowers, and trees) were advised to move to the desert, and that's part of the reason Phoenix is Phoenix today.

But then, unbeknownst to all those allergy sufferers and allergist physicians, Phoenix, vis-a-vis pollen, was no different than Williston, North Dakota -- maybe worse. With irrigation, Phoenix turned desert into AllergyLand.

Same with California, but to a lesser extent because much of California already had a vibrant flora environment.

Wouldn't it be interesting if the water shortage in Californa (which will soon extend to Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, and Arizona) reversed that phenomenon as folks replace their luxuriant temperate-based yards and gardens with a desert look (or more likely: green-painted cement yards)?

For the archives, this article from The New York Times: California Drought Tests History of Endless Growth.
For more than a century, California has been the state where people flocked for a better life — 164,000 square miles of mountains, farmland and coastline, shimmering with ambition and dreams, money and beauty. It was the cutting-edge symbol of possibility: Hollywood, Silicon Valley, aerospace, agriculture and vineyards.
But now a punishing drought — and the unprecedented measures the state announced last week to compel people to reduce water consumption — is forcing a reconsideration of whether the aspiration of untrammeled growth that has for so long been this state’s driving engine has run against the limits of nature.
The 25 percent cut in water consumption ordered by Gov. Jerry Brown raises fundamental questions about what life in California will be like in the years ahead, and even whether this state faces the prospect of people leaving for wetter climates — assuming, as Mr. Brown and other state leaders do, that this marks a permanent change in the climate, rather than a particularly severe cyclical drought.
This state has survived many a catastrophe before — and defied the doomsayers who have regularly proclaimed the death of the California dream — as it emerged, often stronger, from the challenges of earthquakes, an energy crisis and, most recently, a budgetary collapse that forced years of devastating cuts in spending.
These days, the economy is thriving, the population is growing, the state budget is in surplus, and development is exploding from Silicon Valley to San Diego; the evidence of it can be seen in the construction cranes dotting the skylines of Los Angeles and San Francisco.
But even California’s biggest advocates are wondering if the severity of this drought, now in its fourth year, is going to force a change in the way the state does business.
My hunch is that the drought is incredibly serious. My hunch is that until water bills for consumers become much more onerous, not much will change. 

By the way, did you all notice that in bold, "... now in its fourth year ..." Quick, have we ever seen this in California before?

The lede from this article as reported by The Los Angeles Times:
While most citizens are encouraged to drive dusty cars, let their lawns turn brown and forgo ordering water at restaurants, Southern California's major theme parks and water slide complexes will be splashing through business as usual this summer.
California enters its fourth drought-ridden summer next month, according to state water officials, but the millions of visitors at Disneyland, Magic Mountain, Knott's Berry Farm and five other amusement parks won't have to worry about coming through dry on Splash Mountain, Tidal Wave or Big Foot Rapids.
Theme parks will be the last to feel cutbacks, said Tim Scrove, Metropolitan Water District media representative.
"They are industries," he said. "They employ a lot of people. In a water-saving situation, the industry and economy are protected at all costs. There will be mandatory residential restrictions before (the) industrial base is infringed upon."
"...  California enters its fourth drought-ridden summer ..." --- when was that article written.

In 1990.

Nothing new under the hot sun.


I lived in California during the 1976 - 1977 "short-term drought." The drought was pretty severe. I got married in 1977 (if I recall correctly) and had dated four wonderful women in those two years (1976 - 1977).  My courting, as they say, with my wife-to-be was, in retrospect, very much a whirlwind affair. The biggest thing I remember about the "short term drought" in 1976 - 1977 was the admonition by Sacramento for folks to take showers together. I know in San Francisco that went over very, very well. That may have accelerated our whirlwind affair, but I don't recall the specifics.

No comments:

Post a Comment