OT Just how bad is the drought? Just curious OT

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T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
Feb 22, 2018 - 07:58am PT
^^^
+1

Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Feb 22, 2018 - 11:01am PT
Iím a lot less judgemental about agri-business and the demonization of success. Thatís a knife that cuts both ways.

So is a 5th gen family owned corp that owns 5000 acres and leases another 20000, and grows a variety of cash crops to manage risk and make a living for all their employees using irrigation from canals and wells, one of those evil agribusinesses? Because that model is far more prelevant than amlot of folks understand. However the notion of a family staffed farm on a hundred acres actually making a living from that land died long ago and not just in California.

And if farms are out of place here due to climate sell then so are the cities. Thereís that knife cutting both ways.

DMT
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Feb 22, 2018 - 12:26pm PT
I will add that both urban and ag interests have gotten much better at conservation over the years. But I'll also point out that both interests will seize and consume all the water they can get their hands on.

I can't speak for all cities in Ca, but I can speak for LA.

This is not even remotely true. LA has contracts that would cover as much water as it might need, without taking any from groundwater or the LA Aqueduct (Owens Valley). This was largely the situation 2 years ago, where over 80% of the city's water came from NoCal and Colo River. Last year, we took virtually none from those sources, although we had the legal right to it (due to the bumper crop of snow on the eastside)

Just three weeks ago, LA broke ground on a Superfund cleanup of the San Fernando Aquifer, which the city has waited decades for the Feds to clean up, but which we finally decided to pay for ourselves, I think to the tune of $1B. This has the potential to produce up to 25% of the city's water needs, displacing the same amount of water from importation. This is a big deal.
10b4me

Social climber
Janie's
Feb 22, 2018 - 02:00pm PT
Iím a lot less judgemental about agri-business and the demonization of success.

Dingus, I am not demonizing success. What I am questioning is at what costs was that success made.

So is a 5th gen family owned corp that owns 5000 acres and leases another 20000, and grows a variety of cash crops to manage risk and make a living for all their employees using irrigation from canals and wells, one of those evil agribusinesses?

Is that ConAgra?
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Feb 22, 2018 - 02:20pm PT
Looks like the state wants to impose permanent water restrictions, regardless if there is a drought or not.
Not a bad thing imo.
My pet peeve, amongst others, is the irrigation of golf courses.

Permanent water restrictions for who? Everybody?

If you have a string of wet years, using that water to grow cheap fruits and veggies seems to me a pretty reasonable use. Not sure I see the point of a permanent water restriction.

In drier years, using water to grow grass, whether is someone's front lawn or a golf course seems pretty extravagant compared to the societal benefit, but in our mostly free market economy, that is hard to combat.

You can try and make the water more expensive, either after a household uses so much in total, or so much per person, but it doesn't come out that fair.

If it is per house hold, some cheap rental with a bunch of students get unfairly hammered. Trying to figure out per person would be a nightmare.

And golf courses and people with McMansions aren't that much effected by higher priced water.

And the key question, for most places, isn't how much comes out of the faucet, but how much comes out that doesn't go back into the drain. If you live in Sac, and left the shower running all day, most of that water will go down the drain and back into the Sac river where it could still be pumped south. A little bit is lost to leaky pipes and humidity, but not much. Water that you put on the lawn is not available downstream. Huge difference but rarely taken into account with water restrictions. Although in some places you can get fined if your lawn watering drains off your property or for even watering the lawn in the first place.
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Feb 22, 2018 - 02:54pm PT
Thanks August West and KenM for your thoughts.

10B, like big Pharma we could debate the +\- of the overall ag business till the cows come home. But unless and until consumers demand and pay for changes the chemical ag business isn't going to change much. But back to water, its very difficult to lump ag usage by the size of the business. More useful perhaps to look at senior v junior water rights. That's where the real money for reform lies.

DMT
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Feb 22, 2018 - 06:17pm PT
Just got this new report on an approach being piloted in LA:

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5a21b552bce176df59bb9c8e/t/5a8749e1c8302534e9d4a1a8/1518815745818/WaterLA_Report_0218_web.pdf
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Feb 23, 2018 - 06:17pm PT
Here is a study done in LA County, on the issues involved in underground storage in an aquifer:

https://dpw.lacounty.gov/wwd/web/documents/LessonsLearnedAquifer.pdf
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Apr 22, 2018 - 09:13pm PT
There have been several posts that have placed blame on the City of LA for the twin tunnel proposal, and continuing to push it.

There was an article in the LA Times today, in which it notes that both the LA and the San Diego delegations to MWD voted AGAINST the twin tunnels, and went so far as to threaten litigation.

Just keeping the record straight.
AntiChrist

Gym climber
Urth
Apr 23, 2018 - 12:34pm PT
The tunnels are about control. Since day 7, when our lazy ass deadbeat father took a rest and we followed that tight ass to the tree of knowledge, we have tried to control our world. We have been pretty successful, if not recklessly and blindly so.

We find ourselve and our planet on a self-imposed, irreversible trajectory of incredible change. The major water issue facing CA is the destruction of a MASSIVE reservoir (the snowpack). Historical measurement and every legitimate climate model points toward warming temperatures and earlier snowmelt. If you live in CA or know anything about water use, that should illicit two concerns: flooding and late season water shortages. One of the major political issues facing CA is the competition between agricultural water use, environmental water use, and municipal water use.

Some opposition comes from ag due to fear their water will bypass them on the way south (the intensity increases with latitude). They oppose more control because they fear they will lose the control they currently have. They want to stop the control game, but hang onto the control they have. Just like the Luddites, the Horse and Buggy Operators Guild, and other conservative backward thinking fundamentalist groups.

Environmental water use almost always takes a back seat to the other two. Most of the opposition in this respect comes from the left and is associated with an idealistic belief that the closer to "uncontrolled" things are, the better off the natural systems are. This uninformed notion overlooks the fact that the natural controls to which the organisms and ecosystem have adapted are entirely unlike the controls they will face over the next century. If this group truly wanted to help the environment they would work towards making the transition to the new hydrologic regime as gradual as possible.

Now that my strawmen are standing proud, allow me to burn them. To the oposition from the ag side: tough titty, figure out how to cheat better than the rest under the new control regime, find another game, or perish in denial because changes are coming (are here) and it is our Tree given right to try to control. To the environment side: pull your heads out of you asses and push for the best possible conditions you can achieve under the new conditions because you precious web is not going to survive 50% of the water flowing through the system between Dec and March and the remaining 50% used for ag and municipal during the hotter, drier summers.
AntiChrist

Gym climber
Urth
Apr 23, 2018 - 07:44pm PT
That is a legitimate concern and they are both at risk, but I don't think you can really say the risk is higher in Sacramento than LA.

https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/byregion/california-haz.php
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Apr 23, 2018 - 08:48pm PT
Hey thanks Ken for the data points on L.A. water. Continued water education is very much appreciated :)

sacramento is more at risk of a big earthquake than LA

No, it is not.

anything over 7 will destroy the present aqueducts

For starters 'the aqueducts; are not in Sacramento. 2ndly, Sacramento is most certainly not a more risk than L.A. for a big earthquake.

That said, parts of Sacramento are at greater risk from the results of a big earthquake than parts of L.A. A levee collapse or liquefaction could inundate some specific levee-protected flood zones like downtown Sacramento, North and South Natomas, etc, none of which btw are 'aqueducts.'

that's 60% of sourthern California's water gone for at least a year...

The aquaduct to which you refer starts in Byron, nearly Tracy, 30-40 miles south of Sacramento, on the other side of the Delta and quite close to active fault lines. Sacramento, on the other hand, is not in near proximity to any known active fault lines.

The ignorant worry that the twin tunnel promoters wish to fan, mostly among those who live in high quake risk zones of course, is that a catastrophic, quake-induced levee failure in the Delta region (again, NOT Sacramento) could disrupt the flow of water into the aqueduct. Its the OMG fear that is used to drum up support for another 10s of billions in Jerry Brown Boondoggle Spending. I'm sure those who's spigots are fed from the California aqueduct are scared straight into their daily showers for relief.

DMT
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
May 25, 2018 - 10:42am PT
New post on On the public record

Fortunately, my friend left for another field.
by onthepublicrecord

For a while, I went to school with a woman who had just left working for Cadiz. She is shockingly funny, and told me stories about how great it was to work for Cadiz. It was pretty fun, I hear, to zoom up to the desert on a Friday night and stay at Sun World and drink at rural bars and eat amazing fruit. That does indeed sound great. When we realized we were both in the water field, she told me about the Cadiz project; how they were going to sell their groundwater to LA. I winced at that and she reassured me. It was no problem, she said; the aquifer wasn't connected to anything. At that moment, I knew the project was bullsh#t, because "not connected to anything" isn't a possible thing. It was the early 2000's and she told me that the Cadiz project was definitely going to happen, because Keith Brackpool was very good at Grey Davis' preferred type of fellatio(her explanation, my classy paraphrase).

Now friends of this blog, if you study a map, you will see that neither the Mojave Desert nor Los Angeles are in the Central Valley. Since you are all long-time readers, you know that my small and limited attention goes only towards water issues in the Central Valley. So even though the Cadiz project has been self-evident bullshit since the very first I heard of it, and even though I have found its opponents to be brilliant and its supporters to be paid hacks, I don't believe I've ever written about it here.

I'm still don't have much to say about Cadiz, but I do want to answer a related question my friend asked me. When I said there's no way that water in a desert aquifer is unconnected to the surface desert ecology, she asked, but what if it were? If it were unconnected, why not send that water to Los Angeles? For the sake of that question, I will set aside the potential harm of the pipeline itself and the cost and pretend that this project is both spherical and frictionless. I'll also answer that question as someone who is partial to Los Angeles.

My answer is no, even were it costless, Cadiz shouldn't be built. It shouldn't be built because Los Angelenos can live within their existing supply. Decoupling was evident even in the early 2000's; hell, it had been obvious since the '80's, when the Mono Lake Committee proved that L.A. could replace Mono Lake water with conserved water. I do understand that many more people will live in L.A., but I also know that we have not begun to approach a gppd so low that Angelenos (or, more broadly any Californians that have reliable water service) drop out of a first world quality of life. Further, the region has the money to pursue the next-most-expensive chunks of internal water. I reject the assertion that growth for southern California requires Cadiz's water, and for that matter, I don't want Californians tied to the traditional economic concept of growth.

I have come to a conclusion, here in 2018, as I look at the sleazy f*#ks who have resuscitated Cadiz. As #MeToo develops, I am realizing that it is all the same extraction mindset. Either people believe that the other has inherent worth and should be met in mutually beneficial agreement, or people believe that the other is not as important as themselves and is a target for extraction. Desert water; living rivers; people's labor; environmental absorption capacity; Tribal land; sex, time, attention from a weaker party. To a taker, they're all just stocks, insufficiently guarded. Witnessing extraction in one realm should alert the viewer that they are viewing someone with an extractive mindset; it is likely that person is dangerous in multiple realms. Which is a long way of saying what the last nearly twenty years have made clear: Cadiz is a terrible project supported by terrible people.
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
May 25, 2018 - 01:59pm PT
Thanks for posting that Ken. I had the same reaction to Cadiz.

And this:
My answer is no, even were it costless, Cadiz shouldn't be built. It shouldn't be built because Los Angelenos can live within their existing supply.

is the exact same point I have long been making about the Twin Tunnels project; for years, not just johnny come lately in 2018.

DMT
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
May 25, 2018 - 05:22pm PT
The ignorant worry that the twin tunnel promoters wish to fan, mostly among those who live in high quake risk zones of course, is that a catastrophic, quake-induced levee failure in the Delta region (again, NOT Sacramento) could disrupt the flow of water into the aqueduct. Its the OMG fear that is used to drum up support for another 10s of billions in Jerry Brown Boondoggle Spending. I'm sure those who's spigots are fed from the California aqueduct are scared straight into their daily showers for relief.

And why do you think it is an ignorant worry? I read quite a bit about this scenario some years ago (maybe there has been more recent research?). If a sizable earthquake hit during a period of high river flows when the water was high up on the levee, the water would slosh back and forth and over the top of the levees. There are a lot of unknowns but I think there are academic types, who do not have an obvious political agenda, who think the levees could collapse.

And the collapse could be especially catastrophic. During a large flood, when a section of levee fails, water flows out and reduces the pressure on the rest of the levee. Maybe you have a half mile of levee that needs replacing.

During a 60 second earthquake, a collapse in one spot won't have time to relieve the pressure on the rest of the system. Instead of needing to fix a half mile of levee, you could potentially need to rebuild hundreds of miles of levees. Certainly it is a black swan type of event, But that in itself is no reason to pooh-pooh the threat.
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
May 25, 2018 - 05:32pm PT
I'm not gung-ho on a tunnel project.

But I nevertheless think a well-built and well-run project would be a win-win all the way around.

The Sacramento river typically has huge flows in the spring and then very low flows in the fall. A lot of water could be pumped out in spring with essentially no environment impact. The flows in spring can easily be ten times as much as the flows during other times of the year. If more water was moved south during this period and correspondingly less was moved at other times of the year, the environment in general and the fish in particular would come out way ahead.

Moving the intake further upstream would likely reduce the impact on fish. I would think it would get the pumps upstream of the delta smelt habitat.

Having a system that was more robust against earthquakes would be a nice added benefit.
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
May 25, 2018 - 06:27pm PT
And why do you think it is an ignorant worry?

Which levee, specifically, are you worried about? Take into consideration the intakes for the CA aqueduct are in the southern end of the Delta, tucked behind Mt Diablo.

The prospect of a levee failure caused by a big quake is real. But which levee? The prospect of a levee failure cutting off the CA aqueduct flow of water to SoCal is vastly overblown and hyped, to fan the flames of anxeity for folks who have no frickin clue about the conveyance system used to get their water there.

The twin tunnels project is not and never has been about shoring up existing water supply. It is about insuring NEW water supply to support new construction, the exact same situation as with the Cadiz project to mine ancient aquifers to supply net-new housing projects.

DMT
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
May 25, 2018 - 06:33pm PT
A lot of water could be pumped out in spring with essentially no environment impact.

There's that notion again, that flood waters flowing down the river, through the delta and bay and out to sea, are 'wasted' and must be 'reclaimed.'

The situation with the Mississippi river delta sinking into the Gulf is exactly the result of this thinking, that harnessing a river and siphoning off the flood waters has no environmental consequence. It actually has vast consequences but because a lot of that is not immediate nor readily visible to casual newspaper readers it can be pretended there is no consequence at all.

Rivers are supposed to flood. Flood waters are supposed to take vast fans of sediment down stream. Entire ecosystems depend on it. I know you have voiced the opinion you feel it's too late to save those ecosystems but I can't let you get away with the notion that because you've written them off there is no enviro consequence.

There is no win win with a delta killing tunnel project. It's a loser all around.

DMT
AntiChrist

Gym climber
Urth
May 25, 2018 - 09:06pm PT
DMT, I fully agree dynamic river processes support vast ecosystems that have evolved and adapted to those systems for tens of thousands of years. In addition to sediment transport, surface watr ground water interactions are hugely important. I wish more than anything I could go back in time to witness it, even if it meant I could easily be eaten by a massive grizzly in the same spot I can now eat Chipotle. But now we have this comfortable mess and the rest of life has to deal with the results of our actions until we do ourselves in, or something else does (I also wish for aliens). But those ecosystems have gone through rapid change in the last 200 years... and that is nothing compared to the change they will see in the next 100. Expert opinion suggests within 100 years 50% of the water from the mountains could pass through the system by early March every year... as opposed to early June. How do you think the plants, fish, migratory birds will adapt to that... in addition to the habitat loss?
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
May 25, 2018 - 09:57pm PT
Thanks for your thoughts. More the reason to protect what we have left, imo, instead of fueling more rampant and ultimately unsupportable growth in desert areas. It is actually better for SoCal if SoCal does not get that water.

Which was the point of the Cadiz quote Ken posted.

Cheers
DMT
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