Drought-Stricken States To Get Less From Colorado River - Slashdot

2022-08-20 18:19:28 By : Ms. Aimee Zhang

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I guess it's a good time to re-watch Chinatown though.

Time to re-read Cadillac Desert

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

It is bad, but itâ(TM)s also solvable with smarter resource allocation.

Yes, we have to give up lawns and golf courses and inappropriate ag. But simply revising the antiquated prior rights regime will allow an equitable redistribution and flow the water where itâ(TM)s best used.

Re Northern California and the lower half of Oregon, they are under drought right now:

          http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/ [unl.edu]

Agriculture is where it is because its cheapest there. Growing things where there isn't a lot of rainfall, seems crazy at first glance, but its actually really smart. You see, when you don't get a lot of rain and you provide all water to plants artificially ( ie not through rain), you can control exactly when they get water, so they don't get too little or too much. Now in somewhere like the midwest they can grow the same crops during spring, summer, and part of fall, but sometimes the crops will be wiped

So its a lot more variable outside of a desert,

As someone that actually *lives* in the Midwest, I can tell you that the variability is highly localized. On average over the entire Midwest crop growing is extremely predictable and way cheaper (and far less stupid) than irrigating the desert.

Agriculture is where it is because its cheapest there.

Agriculture is where it is because its cheapest there.

No. Is is where it is because water rights allow you to have an unrealized cost on a commodity (water) that you are not actually paying for because of a century old allocation law originally intended to protect gold prospectors water-blasting rocks. No one should have a right to water unless they pay for it, and at the same rate as anyone else. It should cost the same per gallon for me to brush my teeth as it does for you to water an orange tree.

Nope. We're getting set to hand a major chunk of our irrigation resources back to the Native American tribes. So they can sell rotting salmon to stupid white people.

The river provides water across seven states and in Mexico and helps feed an agricultural industry valued at $15 billion a year.

The river provides water across seven states and in Mexico and helps feed an agricultural industry valued at $15 billion a year.

I am sorry, but $15b a year? That is not a lot of revenue. The produce can be imported from places where water isnt as in demand. Same goes for the San Joaquin valley. Look, the SW is a desirable place to live for millions and millions, and we are going to have to get used to the idea that we cant also grow a metric fuck ton of food there. We can move it north and run roughshod over the weed farms in the emerald triangle if need be. Sorry, but you arent going to convince 30m people to stop their way of lif

After a few years of hearing this as a coming crisis, it's going to be very interesting to hear what gets cut and how. And how do you enforce it?

For instance, no lawn watering is probably on the immediate horizon. But how do you figure out who's watering their lawn surreptitiously? Sheer water utilization? Neighborhood watches? And how do you handle it? Fines, I assume - but that would mean being caught in the act.

In what order to you cut agriculture use? By region? By crop? Perhaps by whomever greases enough palms to go last?

My guess is the poorest suffer first.

how do you figure out who's watering their lawn surreptitiously?

how do you figure out who's watering their lawn surreptitiously?

It's greener than all the others?

Oh why didn't anyone else think of this simple solution? After all, things like length of growing season, number of heating/cooling days, soil fertility, proper terrain, etc, don't really matter when trying to grow plants.

My guess is that they are caping at the intakes. There are probably pipes from the river to massive reservoir that serve to feed local regions. You should be able to have the state agree to report how much they take.

And getting caught taking more is probably a gigantic federal law suite so states wouldn't actually take more.

Now, you probably can't prevent minor hyper local taps. But you should be able to get a sense by measuring water flow and volume up stream and downstream. If there is a significant diffe

I'm not sure who you're talking to. I was the parent poster, but I think you're talking to the royal "you"? I'm not American and I'm punching neither up nor down. I'm a curious bystander, wondering what will be done.

Regardless, I ask this question. If beef becomes astronomically expensive, will America cease to be? Of course not. Beef just won't be as common anymore. No big deal. Won't be the first time a dietary staple came and went. People aren't buying a lot of rabbit these days. I ate steak au poivre t

He has to invent more and more evil boogeyman to blame instead of accepting responsibility for his own failures. Look at his post history, he's been here every day for 12 years demanding other people pay his bills.

Which party decided to shower those nice corporations with yet more tax benefits in the last tax cut bill?

The latest bill you mean, the Inflation Reduction Act that showered corporations with money to greenwash some more?

For instance, no lawn watering is probably on the immediate horizon. But how do you figure out who's watering their lawn surreptitiously?

You have water police. They go around and look for the obvious signs someone is watering their lawn when they shouldn't be. Such as having green grass [youtube.com] in the middle of a drought.

Also, along the same lines, it's possible Las Vegas only has 40 days left of water [krqe.com]. However, they recently had some monsoon-like rain (for their area) which flooded casinos [cbsnews.com], so they might get a f

However, they recently had some monsoon-like rain (for their area) which flooded casinos [cbsnews.com], so they might get a few extra days.

Thing is, it doesn't take a lot of rain to flood deserts, as dry landscapes don't have much vegetation and such to soak up the rains. From your link:

Planz said 0.58 inch of rain was recorded at the official measuring spot at Harry Reid International Airport, bringing the total to 1.28 inches during the June 15 to Sept. 30 monsoon season. "That makes this the wettest monsoon season in ten years," the weather service said . . .

Planz said 0.58 inch of rain was recorded at the official measuring spot at Harry Reid International Airport, bringing the total to 1.28 inches during the June 15 to Sept. 30 monsoon season. "That makes this the wettest monsoon season in ten years," the weather service said . . .

Even though other areas got more, that's a pretty low amount to think it might have an impact on a drought. Probably what the area needs is a lot of snow in the mountains so snow melt can feed the rivers next spring.

But how do you figure out who's watering their lawn surreptitiously?

But how do you figure out who's watering their lawn surreptitiously?

You check for outliers in the usage. You check trends to see whose hasn't dropped. You check to see if someone has greener grass than everyone else.

It's not really hard and plenty of countries have enforced restrictions in the past. We even had an inspector show up at our house in Australia who was quite bemused to see our brown grass, turns out we has broken pipe in a gravel area that had been leaking and we showed up as an outlier.

In what order to you cut agriculture use? By region? By crop? Perhaps by whomever greases enough palms to go last?

In what order to you cut agriculture use? By region? By crop? Perhaps by whomever greases enough palms to go last?

By crop obviously. That's how everyone does it. I'm not sure why you're ask

Well, take a wild guess why those crops are being watered. Hint: It's not because they're pretty.

By "elites", I presume you mean those in Kentucky that were washed out by flooding. Or the farmers in the West complaining they have no feed for their cattle, or the fisherman along the East Coast who are complaining about the fish moving further north to escape the heat and it costs them more to chase them up there.

"They want their cake and eat it too," What crock, nice straw man you have constructed to fit your world vision.

It really comes down to the fact that some people will blame anything but the fact that we've spent over two hundred years pumping GHGs into the atmosphere and now the inevitable thermodynamic effects are hitting home. But somehow they still don't want to believe it, so they bring up population control (as if most of the industrialized world wasn't in a long term demographic decline).

AGW is not caused by populations, it's caused by GHG emissions. Want to blame any population, blame the population of auto ow

...blame the population of auto owners.

Actually I thought I read not long back that the contribution of GHG's from auto's is dwarfed by food production.

Amazingly enough, "cow farts" contributed more than car exhaust.

Apparently we're hellbent on pumping out more units for some reason, so don't ask how we could reduce the population, it seems the opposite is currently en vogue.

Other than immigration, the US has been shrinking in population for years. Perhaps we should enforce immigration law, that might help.

Payments to single mothers are obscene and unsustainable.

Payments to single mothers are obscene and unsustainable.

Well, they're pretty rare. About 700,000 parents nationwide, with a total of 1.9 million children, receive TANF benefits in the US. And the payments aren't very much; in most states the maximum benefit (if they have no other source of income) is under 30% of the federal poverty line. I'm not persuaded that's a "reward". There's also a lifetime limit; the federal funding won't last over 5 years for the same parent, no matter how many children--and many states have lower limits than that.

So, not very much money to not very many people for not very long. Also, Medicaid completely covers basically every form of contraception. It's hard to blame the welfare state for overpopulation. Basically every wealthy country, from very capitalisit to very socialist, has a relatively low birth rate.

Uncomfortable? As long as the total world population is still increasing, there is no danger whatsoever that humans could go extinct any time soon.

Population growth = more seats in the House = more power. Team D owns the shitshow in CA, whether it be electricity or water, and yet CA is not facing additional restrictions this time around. CA did announce plans to keep the nuclear plant going, desalination, and more reservoirs. We still want more seats.

Didn't California actually LOSE a house seat here recently per the last census?

There's been such an outflow from CA post covid, next time around they actually might could lose another one I'm guessing.

Yes CA lost a seat. At the same time the population of CA was growing. I'll leave it as a reader exercise to figure out why.

Funny, but didn't California just kill off the plans for desalinization plants because of concern over the brine, despite good plans for how to use the brine for various industrial uses.

Everything that might help solve problems seems to get killed by Greenies concerned over the environmental impact. It reminds me of the statistic that PETA shelters kill more animals than other shelters because they feel it is more humane.

Funny, but didn't California just kill off the plans for desalinization plants because of concern over the brine, despite good plans for how to use the brine for various industrial uses.

Funny, but didn't California just kill off the plans for desalinization plants because of concern over the brine, despite good plans for how to use the brine for various industrial uses.

One desalination plant was denied by the coastal commission. Several others have been approved -including the one near me that our local water company refuses to build even tho they are being fined by the state for overpumping from the carmel river and the local taxpayers voted to directly subsidize the cost of building the fucking thing... /rant

We don't even need to do all that. Simple reform would suffice. Because of that idiotic patchwork of screwball laws dating all the way back to the goddamned treaty of Guadalupe Hildago; and industry (agriculture) that comprises only 2% of our economy has effectively exclusive rights to 80% of the state's water. That is utterly insane.

So, reform the laws. Eliminate the senior vs junior rights distinction where some users get basically all the water they want for free and have no incentive to use it wisely

Well, there is another option. It's to essentially abandon these artificially-sustained areas of arable land. That may be the politically unsavory solution, but it's a helluva lot easier than building massive desalination plants, using up absolutely monumental levels of energy, and then having to figure out what the hell to do with all the salt and other minerals which in high concentrations are pretty much toxic to most species on the planet.

They get a large fraction of their water from the Colorado river,

They get a large fraction of their water from the Colorado river,

[Citation needed]. Most of the water from the Colorado river goes to Imperial valley and Los Angeles, where they don't grow almonds. The water for the almond growing regions comes from the Sierra Nevadas.

Water from the Sierra Nevada is already being drawn down into Los Angeles. That's why you see pictures of Obama in brown fields in Bakersfield [wp.com]: the water was rerouted to LA.

Los Angeles is right next to the ocean, they could purify the water, and yet they insist on stealing water from the the entire southwest portion of the united states.

As a politician the grief and aggravation you get for trying to address medium term problems in ways that upset vocal interest groups makes it almost inevitable that crises like this won't get sorted till it hits HARD. E.g. in this case: you are a state rep, from LA. There's NO benefit for your constituents in progress on this until it BITES. So can we really expect such people to risk their political career on a worthy cause when the farming industry is likely to fund a primary challenger if they do?

It is especially hard when there are so many agitating against the projects that need to happen.

https://www.latimes.com/busine... [latimes.com] https://www.governing.com/now/... [governing.com]

The Coastal Commission staff had advised the commission to deny approval — citing, among other factors, the high cost of the water and lack of local demand for it, the risks to marine life and the possibility of flooding in the area as sea levels rise.

The Coastal Commission staff had advised the commission to deny approval — citing, among other factors, the high cost of the water and lack of local demand for it, the risks to marine life and the possibility of flooding in the area as sea levels rise.

So, there isn't a local need for water? High cost, compared to having none?

California makes no sense to me, people try to solve the problems, and have to fight tooth and nail to get things built.

But... but... I want my Blue Diamond Smokehouse Almonds. Can I give up kale instead?

Here's the sad thing, Farmers are moving to almonds and away from crops that require less water. Why? Higher profit margin. With water prices going up, they can't raise prices for things like lettuce, tomatoes because the other options grown else where are cheaper. So they use more water to make almonds which can't as easily be grown else where, so there is a higher demand for them and enough profit to absorb higher water costs.

To do things the old school republican way, free markets and all, you'd need t

I wish people would adapt BEFORE there's a crisis.

I wish people would adapt BEFORE there's a crisis.

What do you mean before? At this point I'd settle to people adapting 10 years after the crisis, but we're not doing a good job of that either.

Each pound of almonds requires over 1000 pounds of water.

Each pound of beef requires 1800 to 2500 pounds of water. [harnrosystems.com] The only point is that you can't use all the water you want when it isn't available.

They grow well where there is little water because there is lots of sun. And well more rain means less sun.

  They just need more water which people can control more of than getting more sun.

Apparently, they even grow coffee in California. That is an actual rain forest plant, why would anyone think it good to grow in the deserts of California?

STOP WATERING GOLF COURSES! Billions of gallons of water saved. You're welcome.

But the rich absolutely must have their playgrounds. The rest of us...?

Odd we are talking about this as just last week Vegas streets turned into rivers from the monsoonal storm they just went through.

And how much of that water actually ended up in reservoirs?

Very little, I'm sure. I'm just pointing out the irony here.

Agreed. Wanting to live in desert (unless one is indigenous) is stupid.

Vegas was always a scam. Some gamblers will lose. Not being rich I've no reason to play.

Nevada and Arizona can't make use of the flood water they were slamned with during the past week. Arizona absolutely got creamed with the record flooding in that state.

I think the problem many regions are facing now is that they may not have ten years. Lake Mead is pretty much going to disappear, and along with it the tenability of places like Los Vegas. At some point a resource becomes so rare that the effective price becomes infinite. If it happens over a couple of decades, it's a manageable withdrawal, if it happens in two or three years, it's basically going to be like the Dust Bowl in the 1930s and people will stick everything that will fit in a car and trailer and h

Desalination requires significant energy, and scaling that up to prop up agriculture is a massive undertaking in which cost-benefit analyses have to be done, and it may very well be that at some point economists and engineers are going to decide that it isn't worth the cost. Not only that but there's a rather nasty side effect of desalination, and that's mountains of salt. You can't dump it back into the ocean because it can wipe out marine ecosystems for anything other than some species of cyanobacteria, a

Wow. Some of you people REALLY overlook the root causes for the root causes everyone talks about. I love how the general attitude is "blame Vegas" for all this.

The reality is they were screwed from the beginning; the very beginning. When they built Hoover the data they had for the river was bad; it was during some of the wettest weather that region had seen in numerous millennium. Not decades, not centuries, millennium. At no point since they built Hoover has the river put out close to the original estimations.

No, population growth has not helped...but in my opinion they were screwed from the start.

Places like Vegas get the least amount of water....I don't know why people scream that it's the problem. How? Please explain how a city that gets 4% out of the 50% of the allocation to the lower states (in otherwords, 2% of the river's water) is a problem. The logic does not hold up. Where is the other 48% of the water for the lower states going?

The reality is Vegas is one of the more water efficient cities out there; and they actually have a net use LESS than their allocation. The new lower allocation is estimated to still be within their net usage.

But sure...blame people getting a fraction for the problems.

I'd rather eat steak than almonds which consume more water to grow.

I'd rather eat steak than almonds which consume more water to grow.

I have an older toilet that uses three almonds worth of water per flush. Besides the joke, it's been said a lot of water is wasted from leaky toilet flappers.

More like 40 gallons average water to 7.5 gallons of milk. You're closer on the steak figure though since the cow only has one life to give....

divert water from large rivers in the states of Missouri or Mississippi to Lake Mead in Neveda? because it does not look good now the climate change has worsed the West's mega drought plus the fact Nevada's Humboldt county has the largest lithium mine in US and lithium extractions use a HUGE amount of water

And, why exactly would those of us in the south want to jeopardize our environment by siphoning off the river to pipe out west?

That river provides a LOT of commerce, travel and life this area is depende

Both watersheds also have yearly exceptional flooding. The terrain makes it harder to dam them, but diverting peak flows at some convenient point in the rivers might be a lot cheaper than the desalination plants being proposed. If diverted peak flows every year reduced downstream flooding and helped fill reservoirs that are almost empty - or is just allowed to flow on to a different sea if they're full - what's the harm?

It takes pipelines, diversion infrastructure, lots of pumps and energy. Nothing the oil

Diversion can have its own social and political risks. I remember watching a show on PBS many years ago about the "water wars" when farmers living in watersheds in Northern California and other areas suddenly saw their water reserves diverted to feed the growing agriculture industry in southern California. There were farmers who literally became domestic terrorists, blowing up aqueducts and other infrastructure. There are a lot of ways to piss people off, but robbing them of the most fundamental necessity i

There is *localized* flooding annually along both Missouri and Mississippi rivers, but that localized flooding does not significantly alter the average flow or level of either river. There is no "peak flow" to be diverted from either river. (And that's assuming that you're willing to live with destroying the ecology of the Colorado River basin by introducing a foreign ecology from the Missouri or Mississippi Rivers into the Colorado.)

Also, I wouldn't be surprised if such a diversion cost $15bn - $30bn to

Um. That's the way averages work. They include the times of flood and scarcity, so the average over enough years wouldn't move at all.

Yes, ecology is an issue, but not really destroying - just changing. Pollution of water is an issue - not nearly as much ag, factory, refinery, and city runoff in the Colorado as the downstream Mississippi River, I suspect.

Keep in mind the GDP is yearly, regardless of the actual number. You'd have a maintenance and operating cost when built, but you wouldn't be rebuilding i

There is *localized* flooding annually along both Missouri and Mississippi rivers, but that localized flooding does not significantly alter the average flow or level of either river.

I know there have been a few catastrophic floods along the MS river (hence the song "When The Levee Breaks")....

But where is this "annual" flooding going on that you reference?

I've lived in states along the river most all my life and I've never heard of annual flooding anywhere in my states.

A better use for Mississippi water is to inject it into the Ogallala aquifer. Shorter pipes and the pumping power can be intermittent. Like solar and wind. It's already a reservoir. And now you can do more agriculture in the plains area.

divert water from large rivers in the states of Missouri or Mississippi to Lake Mead in Neveda?

"Divert," as in "pump over the mountains"?

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