Author Topic: Western water  (Read 98 times)

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Offline shnozzola

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Western water
« on: Yesterday at 08:51:25 AM »
Every once in a while, I get on my high horse about fresh water, and this interesting article made me think about it again.  We all hear about the drought in California.  The western US has some of the most beautiful country in the world, and people love to live there, farm there, but our current system is unsustainable.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/05/25/the-disappearing-river

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[Pumps] push lake water up a steep slope directly behind the plant, and through a mile-long tunnel to a reservoir in the Whipple Mountains. A second pumping station then pushes the water higher still, to a bigger reservoir. Nash said, “Then it goes by gravity down to Iron Mountain and Iron lifts it a hundred and forty-four feet; then to Eagle, and Eagle lifts it four hundred and thirty-eight; then to Hinds, and Hinds lifts it four hundred and forty-one.” Altogether, there are five pumping stations, ninety-two miles of tunnels, and a hundred and forty-seven miles of open aqueducts, buried conduits, and siphons. Water takes approximately five days to travel from Havasu to Lake Mathews, forty-five miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles.

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Groundwater depletion is hard to quantify, but recently scientists have been able to estimate it by using data from a NASA mission called the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment. GRACE employs two satellites, which follow each other in orbit around the Earth. Jay Famiglietti, a scientist who works on the project, told me, “The satellites are separated by two hundred kilometres, and the primary thing they measure, using infrared lasers and G.P.S., is tiny changes in that distance, plus ups and downs.” The fluctuations are caused by variations in the Earth’s gravitational pull, which are caused by variations in the mass of whatever the satellites are passing over. The original focus of the mission was on such obviously climate-related phenomena as melting glaciers and rising sea levels, but the scientists eventually realized that they could also detect changes on land caused by fluctuations in groundwater volumes.
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[The Colorado river in Mexico]...We drove down the embankment and parked, and Pitt pointed out the whitened shells of river clams and apple snails: vestiges of a time when the river used to flood that far. Then we hiked over to the channel. The river was roughly the size of a creek, but Hinojosa Huerta explained that it wasn’t even that. “At this point,” he said, “it’s all just gains from groundwater.” A little farther along, the stream had become so narrow that we could easily step across it. “So this is Mexico and that’s the United States,” he said.   ......     And then I saw our destination, a mirage-like line of green a couple of miles ahead: a forty-thousand-acre wetland called the Ciénega de Santa Clara. The water comes not from the river but from the Wellton-Mohawk Irrigation and Drainage District, an agricultural region in southern Arizona. Farmers there irrigate with water from the Colorado River, but they simultaneously have to pump groundwater out from under their fields because the groundwater becomes so salty that it would kill their crops if they didn’t.
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Offline Nick

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Re: Western water
« Reply #1 on: Yesterday at 02:54:22 PM »
Water will be gold someday.  My concern is the Keystone Pipeline.  We just saw what is going on in California with that leak.  The Nebraska aquifer supplies all the fresh water to the Midwest.  If a leak happened in that how would you clean that up.  It is nuts putting that thing over that.
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

Tide goes in, tide goes out !!!

Offline shnozzola

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Re: Western water
« Reply #2 on: Yesterday at 03:17:29 PM »
Yes.
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The Ogallala Aquifer is a shallow water table aquifer located beneath the Great Plains in the United States. One of the world's largest aquifers, it underlies an area of approximately 174,000 mi² (450,000 km²) in portions of eight states (South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogallala_Aquifer

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An aquifer is a groundwater storage reservoir in the water cycle. While groundwater is a renewable source, reserves replenish relatively slowly. The USGS has performed several studies of the aquifer, to determine what is coming in (groundwater recharge from the surface), what is leaving (water pumped out and baseflow to streams), and what the net changes in storage are (rise, fall or no change — see figure above).
Withdrawals from the Ogallala Aquifer for irrigation amounted to 26 km3 (21,000,000 acre•ft) in 2000. As of 2005, the total depletion since pre-development amounted to 253,000,000 acre feet (312 km3).[7] Some estimates indicate the remaining volume could be depleted as soon as 2028. Many farmers in the Texas High Plains, which rely particularly on the underground source, are now turning away from irrigated agriculture as they become aware of the hazards of overpumping.
We have guided missiles and misguided men.  ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Why can't girls have dinosaur shoes?"

Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Western water
« Reply #3 on: Yesterday at 03:23:31 PM »
Humans are the cause of all the damage to the environment. It wouldn't be this way if it wasn't for all the scientific advancements that allow us to exploit the earth for our convenience. Science is what has enabled us to so completely fuck up our environment that now every single human on the face of the planet is at risk. The only solution is to bring our population down to more sustainable levels.

On the one hand, you have people who are trying to save lives through advancements in modern industry and medicine and agriculture, thus adding to the burden of overpopulation which requires even more advancement in techniques to feed and clothe and house and entertain all the people who are living longer and longer lives thanks to modern science. This leads to destroying the environment in order to make our lives easier. It's a catch 22.

The only way to save the planet is either through tightly controlled and enforced eugenics programs where only a small fraction of the population is authorized to reproduce or abandon all the modern conveniences which extend our lives and make it easier for more people to thrive.  ;D



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Offline Nick

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Re: Western water
« Reply #4 on: Yesterday at 05:50:03 PM »
We need hard population control, abortion on demand, birth control free, and the ability to say when you want to end it.
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

Tide goes in, tide goes out !!!

Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Western water
« Reply #5 on: Yesterday at 09:06:19 PM »
We need hard population control, abortion on demand, birth control free, and the ability to say when you want to end it.

Abortion on demand, free birth control and assisted suicide is not "hard" population control because all of those things are still voluntary actions. What we need is real "hard" population control. The kind where a centralized world government dictates who and how many people are allowed to live and procreate. I'm talking 100% oversight in regards to management of land, air, water, animal and human resources. It all has to be controlled in order to preserve our environment. These actions must be taken immediately because the threat is imminent. We are all about to die. The environment IS our #1 concern because it affects all of us...climate change IS thee greatest threat to our security and survival as a species.

There is no point in debating the issue because the science is settled. Debate is just a waste of time. Time that we don't have. Immediate action MUST be taken before it's too late.

Wake up people! We can no longer enjoy the luxury of personal freedom or independence. We can no longer enjoy the comfort, convenience and efficiency of relying on fossil fuels. We must ALL be willing to sacrifice our current way of life so that future generations can even have a chance.

Period.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 09:08:10 PM by Mr. Blackwell »
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Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Western water
« Reply #6 on: Yesterday at 09:43:14 PM »
As a westerner who will be directly affected by the current drought (which is ll over the west, not just California), the best I can hope for is that the forest fire smoke won't be too bad. Bad is when it turns on the street lights in the daytime, which it has been known to do.

At worse, we'll have range wars for the water. The subject is a sensitive one in the first place, with all sorts of tradition about water rights, and the reality of what people will do when they are thirsty. Toss in capitalism, like Nestle, who will continue to pump ground water out of California so that they can sell it for a buck a bottle. Add California farmers, who produce nearly 100% of some of our grocery store veggies, who are now trying to figure out what they can manage to grow with reduced water, or if they can make even more money by not growing anything and selling their water to the highest bidder, and things start getting interesting. Toss in the reality that most of the water is now used to grow alfalfa and other crops for the cattle industry, and things start getting just plain ugly. At least in the name-calling department.

Then you have the anti-government landowners who will start shooting people over water, especially when there isn't any. Dying of lead poisoning over water that isn't even there has to be a bummer.

Now, if you're still in the mood for bad news, add to all of that our crumbling dam infrastructure here in the west; some of them may fail in the foreseeable future because nobody wants to spend any money maintaining them at the level required to keep them from falling apart. Which, in most cases, will be fatal to at least some of those living down stream.  OF course, if all the water dries up, the dams won't hurt anyone when they fall apart. A bright spot in an otherwise bleak picture.

Other than that, how has your day been?
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Western water
« Reply #7 on: Yesterday at 10:20:43 PM »
You have basically just validated everything I said. It's bad. Really bad. Something needs to be done 50 years ago to alleviate the stress our existence places on our environment. 

Even the people who take the problem seriously don't take it seriously enough. That's a problem.
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Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Western water
« Reply #8 on: Yesterday at 11:17:27 PM »
You have basically just validated everything I said. It's bad.

We measure droughts in the west by looking at our snowfall for the winter. Most places now have less than 10% or their normal snow for this time of year. I'm lucky. Here in montana we're at about 25%. Last year we were over 200% here in Montana, but somewhere under 50% in most other parts of the west.

Things vary naturally as it is. And snowfall has been decreasing since the 1950's. But it didn't really matter until fairly recently, when, with the ridiculously warm winters, we started getting less snow accumulation and faster melt-off when spring came.

So like you said, MR. B, its bad.

The things is, we don't know how bad. Everyone is hoping that we've just had a few bad years (or, as here in Montana, just one bad one) and that things will get back to normal next year. But places like California and Oregon have been hoping that for a long time, and it never happens.

So yea, we're about as well prepared for this as we were for 9/11. Except there is nobody to bomb for revenge. Except maybe ourselves, but that never seems to go as well as we want.
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Western water
« Reply #9 on: Yesterday at 11:36:28 PM »
So yea, we're about as well prepared for this as we were for 9/11.

No one expected the inquisition.
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Online Nam

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Re: Western water
« Reply #10 on: Today at 02:59:31 AM »
I live in a tropical climate. I'm safe.

;)

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