Water cupboard bare in US Southwest

https://www.cnn.com/2022/08/16/us/colorado-river-water-cuts-…

Global climate change is not only threatening the habitats of salmon and polar bears, but that of humans in a large portion of the US. The water from the Colorado River feeds both the population and the agriculture of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and parts of New Mexico, Wyoming and California (as well as a bit of Mexico).

The usage of the water was codified about a century ago during a “wet” period, and like in the show, The Producers", more than the whole was accounted for. That brings us to today, when all parties are clamoring for their “fair shares” and there is simply not enough to go around.

It was just a year ago that the Department of Interior declared the first shortage on the Colorado River – a Tier 1. But the past 12 months did not bring enough rain and snow. A report from July shows Lake Mead, which the agency uses to determine shortage conditions, is hovering around 1,040 feet above sea level, after having dropped 10 feet in just two, dry months.

The reservoir is at just 27% of its full capacity.

Tuesday’s report is all but certain to show Lake Mead will be below 1,050 feet come January – the threshold required to declare a Tier 2 shortage beginning in 2023. The question is how far below that threshold it will be. If the forecast is below 1,045 feet, which recent forecasts would suggest it will be, then mandatory water cuts will expand beyond Arizona, Nevada and Mexico and into California for the first time.

But the growing concern is that the mandatory cuts – a system that was updated as recently as 2019 – aren’t enough to save the river in the face of a historic, climate change-driven drought. States, water managers and tribes are now back at the negotiating table to figure out how to solve the West’s water crisis.

Can’t get blood - or water - from a stone

Jeff

13 Likes

Southwest Cities Learn to Thrive Amid Drought
https://e360.yale.edu/features/a-quiet-revolution-southwest-…
Water officials in San Diego, though, say they are not worried. “We have sufficient supplies now and in the future,” said Sandra Kerl, general manager of the San Diego Water Authority. “We recently did a stress test, and we are good until 2045” and even beyond.

San Diego is not alone. While the public image may be that booming southwestern cities such as San Diego, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Albuquerque are on the verge of a climate apocalypse, many experts agree that these metropolitan areas have enough of a water cushion to not only survive, but continue to grow into the surrounding desert for the foreseeable future, even during the worst drought in 1,200 years.

DB2

5 Likes

Jeff, have a rec for the Producers reference. Mel Brooks is one of my heroes.

How could this happen? I was so careful. I picked the wrong play, the wrong director, the wrong cast. Where did I go right?

AW

But but, but the MegaFloods! The MegaFloods!!

weco - hoping we’ve fewer firestorms this summer…

1 Like

St. George, UT hasn’t read the memo.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2022/08/15/st-george-u…
St. George and surrounding Washington County, two hours northeast of Las Vegas in Utah’s hottest and driest corner, was once known mostly as the gateway to Zion National Park. Now its stunning landscape is drawing droves of retirees and remote workers from northern Utah and beyond. The county’s population of about 180,000 is expected to more than double by 2050 — even though its single water source, the Virgin River basin, is dwindling as the West remains locked in the worst drought in 1,200 years.

8 Likes

St. George, UT hasn’t read the memo.

They need to up their game. From the Yale 360 article:

https://e360.yale.edu/features/a-quiet-revolution-southwest-…
Major cities in the U.S. Southwest have so far been able to decouple the need for more water from growth…An analysis last year showed that the city’s [San Diego] water use dropped from 81.5 billion gallons in 2007 to 57 billion gallons in 2020 — a 30 percent decline. Nine cities surveyed in the Colorado River Basin lowered their water demand in the range of 19 to 48 percent between 2000 and 2015…

San Diego paid to line with concrete the 82-mile All American Canal — the largest irrigation canal in the U.S. — and the Coachella Canal. Unlined canals lose up to 50 percent or more of their water to seepage, and lining can reduce that loss by 95 percent. San Diego also paid farmers to switch from flood to drip irrigation…

A growing amount of wastewater is also being recycled to drinking water standards. The city of Oceanside, near San Diego, just opened the first advanced water purification facility in the region that allows so-called “toilet to tap” recycling…Las Vegas, where only 4 inches of rain falls each year, has dramatically upped its conservation game, and Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, has a robust cash-for-grass program that pays more than $32 a square meter. It also uses a series of hydrophones in its pipes to listen for leaks and repair them quickly…

DB2

3 Likes

Las Vegas, where only 4 inches of rain falls each year, has dramatically upped its conservation game,

Back to St George Utah …

They’ve put in eleven golf courses surrounding the hundreds of tract homes going up like weeds…
https://www.stgeorgeutahgolf.com/list-of-st-george-golf-cour…

2 Likes

San Diego paid to line with concrete the 82-mile All American Canal — the largest irrigation canal in the U.S. — and the Coachella Canal.

The city of Oceanside, near San Diego, just opened the first advanced water purification facility in the region that allows so-called “toilet to tap” recycling…Las Vegas,… and Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, has a robust cash-for-grass program that pays more than $32 a square meter.

That is all socialistical “big gummit” spending. In Michigan, the narrative from the (L&Ses) is consistent: “all the money has to be given to the ‘JCs’”.

Steve

From the WaPo article on the idea that St. George limit new home construction:

“Their first reaction, I think, is to say: ‘Just stop the growth,’” Randall said. “The problem with that is over 30 percent of our economy is still attached to the building industry in one way or the other. We would kill our economy overnight.”

Is there a glossary for all your shorthand names?

What are L&Ses?

Thanks

Saw this coming decades ago.

What are L&Ses?

“Leaders and Statesmen” aka the leadership of the Michigan House and Senate, who cemented themselves in place with an election district map that a court held to be “gerrymandered to a historic degree”. It is used with at least as much sarcasm as “JCs”.

Is there a glossary for all your shorthand names?

Probably not written down anywhere. Usage comes and goes as policies shift. We don’t see “Rant #37” much anymore, as it has been proven so many times over the last 15 years that calling it out would be redundant.

Steve

I’ve always known that as Lying and Standing blood pressure…
Very common abb.

L&S