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Author: PolymerMom Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 454784  
Subject: Water Problems in the West Date: 2/24/2013 1:10 AM
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As a follow on to the post on Missouri soil moisture, things are worse further west. (In my mind the West stops in the Rockies and then there's the Left Coast.)

Unless something unusual happens this spring, the mountain states are going to have problems with both crops and wildfires. Snow pack is very low and hopes are pinned on a wet spring. It's a good thing the Corps of Engineers refused to let reservoirs in the West maintain their water levels, rather than releasing water to maintain flow for the Missouri-Mississippi river system for barge traffic hauling grain to the Gulf.

Complicating matters, many of the worst-hit states have even less water on hand than a year ago, raising the specter of shortages and rationing that could inflict another year of losses on struggling farms.

Reservoir levels have fallen sharply in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada. The soil is drier than normal. And while a few recent snowstorms have cheered skiers, the snowpack is so thin in parts of Colorado that the government has declared an “extreme drought” around the ski havens of Vail and Aspen.


http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/23/us/in-drought-stricken-hea...

Reservoir Levels: http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/cgibin/resv-graph.pl?state=CO

Colorado Snowpack: http://www.co.nrcs.usda.gov/snow/fcst/state/current/monthly/...

National Drought Mitigation Center (Lincoln, NE): http://drought.unl.edu/

I'm a bit past 66 and haven't heard of water problems like this. I'm very worried. My mother (born in 1918) told me how the Mississippi would freeze over in her father's day - to the point that people would haul loaded wagons across it. We haven't had a below zero day for quite some time. Something has changed drastically.

PM
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Author: PolymerMom Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 416584 of 454784
Subject: Re: Water Problems in the West Date: 2/24/2013 1:15 AM
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Oops. It's a good thing the Corps of Engineers refused to let reservoirs in the West maintain their water levels should read:

It's a good thing the Corps of Engineers refused to allow releases and allowed reservoirs to maintain their current water levels.

Too much editing does one in<G>.

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Author: desertdaveataol Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 416588 of 454784
Subject: Re: Water Problems in the West Date: 2/24/2013 3:42 AM
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It's a good thing the Corps of Engineers refused to let reservoirs in the West maintain their water levels, rather than releasing water to maintain flow for the Missouri-Mississippi river system for barge traffic hauling grain to the Gulf.

Er... is this what you meant to say?

It's a good thing the Corps of Engineers refused to let water out of the reservoirs in the West to maintain their water levels, rather than releasing water to maintain flow for the Missouri-Mississippi river system for barge traffic hauling grain to the Gulf.
--------------------------------

We've been having a dry spell here in the desert too. But so far we've managed.

Don't forget the desert southwest has suffered through prolonged periods of drought before.

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Author: tim443 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 416593 of 454784
Subject: Re: Water Problems in the West Date: 2/24/2013 10:39 AM
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PM

It's not just in the west, I'm watching http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2013/02/24/the-comin... in an article about water loss in the Middle East, methinks this could get ugly?

Tim

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Author: jwiest Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 416603 of 454784
Subject: Re: Water Problems in the West Date: 2/24/2013 1:49 PM
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My mother (born in 1918) told me how the Mississippi would freeze over in her father's day - to the point that people would haul loaded wagons across it. We haven't had a below zero day for quite some time. Something has changed drastically.

That's how the Ingalls family crossed the river and moved down to the prairie, where they built a little house...

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Author: RaptorD2 Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 416614 of 454784
Subject: Re: Water Problems in the West Date: 2/24/2013 5:27 PM
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National Drought Mitigation Center (Lincoln, NE): http://drought.unl.edu/

And here I am in Lincoln, NE. We've had 2 light-to-medium snows this winter and that's it. It seems we get less and less moisture every year.

Starting 2 weeks ago, DW and I have noticed flocks of robins (yes, I know robins don't travel in flocks, but they're here) several times around our house. Each time there were 20-50 robins in the flock. We normally don't see robins here in the winter at all and never in flocks. (Maybe I just never noticed before but I think not.)

Last summer we had a legal ban on watering anything outdoors. Lawns, shrubs, trees, even new lawns. Even watering cans were outlawed. Anyway, during the first week of the ban, our lawn sprinklers went off on the wrong morning at 3 a.m. because I mis-programmed it (it's not intuitive at all and I normally never touch it.) One of our butthead neighbors turned us in and when the police came to the door MrsRaptor answered so she got the ticket and also later on, the misdemeanor conviction. Her job allows no misdemeanors, and we couldn't travel to several countries including Timada up north (Canuckian territory.) Meanwhile we're appealing to the county commissioners and the governor for some sort of relief from the misdemeanor charge with some hope of resolution.

Macro? Everything residential here goes to plant heaven but the farmers suck out all the water from the Missouri, Platte, Loup and other rivers to keep your food growing. It may be a small price to pay but the trees are confused about the seasons and whether in general and don't know whether to leaf out, shed leaves or just give up. I hear they are threatening a mass protest against death by thirst.

We went months without rain last year and with barely any snow this winter I suspect we're heading right back into drought.
Lincoln is "Tree City USA" and has more trees per acre than any other city but that may change soon. Arbor Day was introduced in a small Nebraska city near us. The next step in this trend will be when the farmers run out of water from the Ogalalla reservoir (the largest in the world, I believe) to irrigate crops with and then someone is going to go hungry and/or the price of food is going to take a bigger bite out of the budget.

We can argue endlessly whether these patterns are caused by man or are just part of the normal macro climate changes, but the repercussions are becoming very real and if they continue, the forecast is for acute pain. Is that macro? Sounds pretty macro to me but what do I know, I'm just a midwestern hick redneck who can't even travel to Canada because my wife is a water criminal. (Glad I wasn't home to answer the door to the police.) :)

Dan, thirsty but so far no beer rationing. < hic! >

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Author: tim443 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 416619 of 454784
Subject: Re: Water Problems in the West Date: 2/24/2013 7:56 PM
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One of our butthead neighbors turned us in and when the police came to the door MrsRaptor answered so she got the ticket and also later on, the misdemeanor conviction. Her job allows no misdemeanors, and we couldn't travel to several countries including Timada up north (Canuckian territory.) Meanwhile we're appealing to the county commissioners and the governor for some sort of relief from the misdemeanor charge with some hope of resolution.

...

I'm just a midwestern hick redneck who can't even travel to Canada because my wife is a water criminal. (Glad I wasn't home to answer the door to the police.) :)

Dan, thirsty but so far no beer rationing. < hic! >



Perhaps if you offer to bring water back with you? We have lots here in Nova Scotia... sometimes we're are literally awash in the stuff. Actually we don't often have flooding as everything is granite and the ocean is close by.

Good news on the beer though.


Any <Four more Beers, Four more Beers> mouse

https://www.google.ca/search?q=nova+scotia+pictures&hl=e...

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Author: brucedoe Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 416624 of 454784
Subject: Re: Water Problems in the West Date: 2/24/2013 10:12 PM
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Mom

If you were a geologist, you would know that water problems in the west have been known for more than 100 years. Phoenic sor a long time has not allowed any new grass lawn, for example. going back even farther, there was a U.Sl Geological Survey Director who was fired in part, I believe, for saying that the West could easily be overpopulated. http://books.google.com/books?id=XnseCRzNRFwC&pg=PA142&a...

brucedoe

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Author: RaptorD2 Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 416633 of 454784
Subject: Re: Water Problems in the West Date: 2/24/2013 11:59 PM
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Perhaps if you offer to bring water back with you? We have lots here in Nova Scotia... sometimes we're are literally awash in the stuff.

Tim, that's what you said about NatGas too. Now I suppose we have to build another pipeline for water right next to the oil? :)

Dan

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Author: ferjen Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 416638 of 454784
Subject: Re: Water Problems in the West Date: 2/25/2013 12:40 AM
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Looks like the world is coming out of La Niña.

http://www.globalweathercycles.com/elninoforecastgwo.html

We live in Florida, and the dry, droughty year and warm winter are hallmarks of La Niña. The only thing that saved us precipitation wise in 2012 was a Tropical storm or two.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Niña#section_1

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Author: flyerboys Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 416640 of 454784
Subject: Re: Water Problems in the West Date: 2/25/2013 1:08 AM
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flocks of robins

is a known winter phenomenon and there is a statistical reason it is not well known -- flocks mean far fewer sightings.

http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc/science-stories/past-stories/...


david fb

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Author: steve203 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 416641 of 454784
Subject: Re: Water Problems in the West Date: 2/25/2013 1:10 AM
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Starting 2 weeks ago, DW and I have noticed flocks of robins

I saw a half dozen or more robins in front of casa del Steve a couple weeks ago. They looked cold as they had their feathers fluffed up and were no doubt in front of the house to catch the solar heat being reflected by the house.

Robins, the "state bird" of Michigan, are usually a sign of spring. Maybe last year, when it was in the 70s and 80s the first couple of weeks of March, confused them.

Steve

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Author: tim443 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 416646 of 454784
Subject: Re: Water Problems in the West Date: 2/25/2013 7:49 AM
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Tim, that's what you said about NatGas too. Now I suppose we have to build another pipeline for water right next to the oil? :)

Dan




I used to think that was a great idea until I found out getting liquids to y'all is not really downhill all the way in spite of what the map shows. }};-()

Apparently the cost of pumping water over long distance is prohibitive unless you happen to have a mountain source in California and you are heading downhill for the coast.

I read a pretty good book once (title escapes me) that said the smartest way to move water to dry areas is not to move the actual water but rather the agricultural products as this sector is very wasteful with water use in dry areas. The example they used was Saudi Arabia subsidizing wheat production using desalinated water.

Since you mention pipelines thanks for the nice segue for this article though.

These people are not wasting any time getting that "cheaper" Canadian oil to those refineries in Texas.


Any <What, you find eau de Potomac Swamp Water offensive!> mouse


http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/south-leg-keystone-xl-oklah...

South leg of Keystone XL from Oklahoma to Texas hits halfway mark, company says

By Dan Holtmeyer, The Associated Press | The Canadian Press – Sat, 23 Feb, 2013 1:43 PM EST

OKLAHOMA CITY - While the debate continues over whether the United States will approve a proposed oil conduit from Canada to the Gulf Coast, the segment from Cushing, Okla., to the Texas Gulf Coast is halfway toward completion and could be transporting oil by the end of the year.

...

Nearly 4,000 workers in Oklahoma and Texas are aligning and welding a 485-mile section, TransCanada spokesman David Dodson told The Associated Press.

"We're right at peak right now," he said. "We hope to have it in operation by the end of this year."


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Author: 1poorguy Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 416660 of 454784
Subject: Re: Water Problems in the West Date: 2/25/2013 11:26 AM
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(In my mind the West stops in the Rockies and then there's the Left Coast.)

Perspective, I guess. Here in Arizona we consider EVERYTHING east of us to be "back east" (including the Rockies). Colorado is not "west", it's "midwest". Of course, I see how one might think Arizona is part of the coast. There's a lot of beach here, just no ocean. ;-)

Arizona is lucky that Teddy Roosevelt created the Salt River Project. It has made water readily available here, and continues to this day. It's why we are able to have so many golf courses!! (Which, IMO, is phenomenally stupid in a desert.) People have grass lawns. It's really pretty nutty.** I guess that makes SRP a two-edged sword, though, as it has allowed Phoenix to grow much bigger than it probably should have.

It is going to be a problem. Lake Mead is down. A lot. Most of the reservoirs are down. Most weather folks say we've been in drought here for over 10 years (and, keep in mind, we're already pretty darned dry being a desert and all). I've heard rumblings that farmers in the Imperial Valley (CA) are feeling it a bit. They grow a massive amount of the food we eat in this country.

This trend is worrying. Shifting weather patterns could cause a lot of pain as areas suitable for agriculture "move", and what was once productive farm land becomes wasteland.

We haven't had a below zero day for quite some time. Something has changed drastically.

I'll avoid the politics, and just say that we KNOW the world is getting warmer. Lots of data shows it.
http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=global+average+temperat...

This is going to have numerous effects. Storms will have more energy, be more violent (e.g. Sandy). Weather patterns will shift so that even though on average the Earth is warmer, there will be places that get colder than normal. (It snowed in Scottsdale last week. It didn't last long, but it snowed.) As individuals we can adapt pretty easily. But as a society it will be very difficult to rearrange where we grow our food, where we live or don't live, how we deal with cities that may no longer be viable due to changing conditions such as rising ocean levels and propensity for storms.

1poorguy


**Compare to when I lived in Colorado 30 years ago...you could only water your lawn or wash your car on certain days of the week based on your address (as I recall). But Arizona? Heck no! Dump all the water you want on the ground to grow your grass, and have your 100+ perfect golf courses!

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Author: WendyBG Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Winner! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 416662 of 454784
Subject: Re: Water Problems in the West Date: 2/25/2013 11:44 AM
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<Most weather folks say we've been in drought here for over 10 years (and, keep in mind, we're already pretty darned dry being a desert and all). I've heard rumblings that farmers in the Imperial Valley (CA) are feeling it a bit. They grow a massive amount of the food we eat in this country.>

In addition, the earth of the Imperial Valley is being gradually poisoned by salinity buildup, since they do not get enough rain to leach out the salts from irrigation water.

Wendy

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Author: PolymerMom Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 416697 of 454784
Subject: Re: Water Problems in the West Date: 2/25/2013 8:12 PM
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Perspective, I guess. Here in Arizona we consider EVERYTHING east of us to be "back east" (including the Rockies). Colorado is not "west", it's "midwest". Of course, I see how one might think Arizona is part of the coast. There's a lot of beach here, just no ocean. ;-)

Perspective it is. A friend of mine was working on Illinois Wilderness Areas. He attended a Sierra Club meeting in San Francisco. He asked them what they were doing in regards to Eastern Wilderness and someone replied that they were looking at the Grand Canyon<G>. Welcome to "the East"!

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Author: LOTROQueen Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 416893 of 454784
Subject: Re: Water Problems in the West Date: 2/27/2013 3:52 PM
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And here I am in Lincoln, NE. We've had 2 light-to-medium snows this winter and that's it. It seems we get less and less moisture every year.


Historically the plains are very dry - that's why prairie grasses had such extensive root systems.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prairie
Fire kills the vascular tissue of trees, but not prairie, as up to 75% (depending on the species) of the total plant biomass is below the soil surface and will re-grow from its deep (up to 6 feet) roots.
*****
These deep roots also help prairie plants to reach water in even the driest conditions. The grass suffers much less damage from dry conditions than the farm crops that have replaced many former plains.

I highly suggest anyone who hasn't already done so should read "The Worst Hard Time" about the dust bowl
http://www.amazon.com/The-Worst-Hard-Time-Survived/dp/061877...


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