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wili

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California weather extremes and climate
« on: January 18, 2014, 06:04:24 AM »
I'm starting a new thread for this rather than just putting it in thread weird weather. If CA were a country, it would be the 9th largest economy in the world.

And it's running out of water.

One town, Willits, has 60 days before it's completely out of water.

San Juan, with over a quarter million people, is in a "Stage 5" water emergency--residents are asked to cut back their in door water consumption by 50%.

Right now, there is no end in sight.

I'm thinking mass migrations are about to happen. But all the surrounding states are in various levels of drought as well.

Here's a link to one story in the MSM: http://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2014/01/17/california-drought-emergency/4581761/

But I'm more interested in hearing from any folks in that area--how are things looking? How nervous are people about the situation? Are you thinking of leaving?...
« Last Edit: February 21, 2017, 09:29:15 AM by Neven »
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Bruce Steele

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2014, 07:49:16 AM »
Wili, The cattle ranchers are feeding hay right through winter months because there hasn't been enough rain to get any grass up. The deer are feeding along the roads where the little rain we did get concentrated. The beaver will have to deal with a dry riverbed this summer, the steelhead run is listed endangered and the one creek that still has fish is maintained with water supplies pumped from a nearby reservoir that's not looking good. We now have 1,250,000 people living in an area that had 7,700 people when my relatives arrived in 1870. Most of them won't notice what happens to the beaver, steelhead or deer.
 Drought is more common during the cold phase of the PDO cycle and we have been fairly lucky for the last 14 years IMO. Although we may get an El Nino next rain season we may also have ten or fifteen years left before the PDO turns back warm phase. The last couple rain seasons  haven't been
 that dry and rain has been good enough to get a good cover crop in. This year it's up but irrigating it seems kinda wasteful. I have given up on pasture. To tell you the truth I am wondering what the big El Nino's will do when they come back around.  Drought, fire, floods, earthquakes, but then yesterday it was 90 degrees . I am putting tomatoes in the greenhouse. We have been setting records this week.
So no , not leaving.

Neven

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2014, 11:47:27 AM »
But I'm more interested in hearing from any folks in that area--how are things looking? How nervous are people about the situation?

Doesn't Anthony Watts live in California? I wonder how bad it will have to get for him to get uncomfy.
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Buddy

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2014, 12:55:50 PM »
I would imagine it would have to get pretty hot.  Since he is working for Satan Oil and Gas, he's likely used to hot weather.....:)
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wili

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2014, 01:01:52 PM »
Thanks for the insights, Bruce. At some point will they stop you from watering those tomatoes?

It's looking as though drought is due to persist or intensify throughout the West, including all of CA:



http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/01/17/brown-to-declare-california-drought-emergency-as-western-water-woes-intensify/

And CA is off the charts on soil moisture anomaly:



http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/soilmst/img/curr.w.mrf1.daily.gif

Just as with the Australian heat waves of the last year, it looks like they have to invent some new colors to put on that map. One would have to assume that those isobars don't stop at -160 mm in real life--presumably much of CA is well below that.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2014, 01:14:15 PM by wili »
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."


JimD

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2014, 05:51:33 PM »
Wili,

I can give you some local color on that.

My son lives near Folsom/Placerville near Sacramento.  He is on a well but the local water systems are going on rationing.  We were there a few weeks ago and it is really dry and the lakes are mostly nearing empty.  He is cutting brush as fast as he can as you can see his area is just ripe for a huge fire.  He even cut down the 6 trees closest to his house.

The current CA drought is supposedly due to a huge blocking high pressure system off the coast of CA that settled in about a year ago and has not moved since.  This high pressure system is normal from spring to fall and usually happens every year, thus the reason why CA normally has no rain all summer.  On rare occasions it settles in and does not leave.  The high Sierra will not get any meaningful moisture until it moves or dissipates.  Forecasts are that it will not do this for several months.  And if that happens we  are into the time of year when it is supposed to be there and that means no moisture for CA until fall.  Disaster.  All of the effects of this high extrapolate to central and southern Arizona where I live as this time of year we are supposed to get our moisture from the Pacific just like CA.

Here in central AZ we have had no moisture for about 30 days (this is supposed to be the wet time of year after the monsoons) and all of AZ is starting to approach record territory for winter dryness.

Just like in Bruce's post the pasture/grazing areas got little to no growth last spring and some did not get enough moisture during the monsoon (Jul/Aug is the rainiest time of year here) to grow either.  Grazing areas are just dirt right now.  Cattle ranching has to be  losing money big time.

Prescott where I live just finished its 15th consecutive year with below normal rainfall.  The last year with above normal was 1998 with the big El Nino.

I am reading a book about what the paleo record says about water in the southwest right now and it talks about periods of drought and flood over the past 1000 years which makes right now look like minor stuff.  There have been droughts so severe in the past that trees grew to several feet in diameter (160 years old the book said) in locations which are now underneath lake Tahoe and other lakes throughout the region.  One of the big take aways from the book is that since the gold rush days we have been living in one of the overall wet periods for this region and especially so for the last 600 years.  Before that was a 1000 year period where it was much drier.  It was longterm drought that wipeout the big native American civilizations in this region.  Many of the severe droughts in the west lasted decades.  Even in the regions around San Francisco Bay the native Americans had to leave as there was no fresh water available.

Interspersed into these drought periods there were also periods of extreme flooding.  We were talking in another post about the atmospheric rivers and the giant flood which occurred across the west in 1861 which flooded the entire Central Valley.  Paleo records indicate that a flood of this magnitude (i.e. the Central Valley turned into a lake some 300 miles by up to 50 or more miles and the dry lakes in the Great Basin filled with water) have occurred on average every 100 years over the last 1000 years (note it has been 150 years since the last one of these floods).  Worse than that about every 200 years, or every other megaflood, the flood has dwarfed the 1861 flood.  Naturally that is the one due next statistically.  These megafloods have normally followed the breaking of an extreme drought.  To give a scale to the giant floods a comparison was that the biggest flood in southern CA in the 20th century (1958) was 1/20th the size of the 1605 flood.  A flood the size of the one in 1861 would wash away all of the levees and dikes on the Sacramento/San Joaquin Rivers and flood the entire Central Valley in places to a depth of 100 ft.  Displacing how many millions of people?

Under normal conditions we would be due for a big drought, and our water practices in CA of  draining wet lands, diverting rivers, damming rivers, etc would make this worse, but current climate research indicates AGW should promote more frequent and deeper droughts in our future.  On top of that recent papers indicate a strengthening of and increasing frequency of the atmospheric river phenomenon.  A true recipe for big problems.

The really severe droughts are associated with negative PDO's and La Nina conditions.  Which is what we have had now for a few years.  An interesting question is, since historically the switches between La Nina/El Nino conditions were much slower than the last few decades is whether this increasing frequency lessens the chances of decade long megadroughts.  If we flip to El Nino conditions later this year that should bring increased moisture conditions for a time.  Or maybe the negative PDO dominates and we stay in drought until is switches.  Which could be decades?

We'll know how bad the summer is going to be by the end of February I guess.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

JackTaylor

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2014, 06:07:34 PM »
JimD:  Reply #6;
"Here in central AZ we have had no moisture for about 30 days"
How about reports on the Southern Imperial Valley of California as tied to the Yuma, Arizona "irrigated agriculture region(s)" -
how much selling of irrigation water for human drinking water is being noted - publicized?


Bruce Steele

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2014, 06:58:16 PM »
Wili, I got this letter this morning. My wells are shallow and considered "riparian". I am downstream from a reservoir that hasn't spilled in three years. The advantage of riparian flow is wells will be producing when rains return but over tapping groundwater basins means deeper wells , more energy to pull water, and eventually dry wells that never recover.

 http://www.swrcb.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/drought/docs/notice_of_curtailment.pdf

Shared Humanity

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2014, 07:05:52 PM »
The only positive information I could get from all of the links was that agriculture uses 3/4 of the water in California.

Let's face it, drinking water for people will trump agricultural interests. I doubt voters would look kindly on politicians who cause voters to die of thirst so that the vegetable crops can be brought to market. Given this fact, the ratio of 3/4 ag to 1/4 other uses would suggest  that diverting water to serve urban communities would not completely wipe out water available for  agriculture.

Bruce Steele

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2014, 07:31:08 PM »
S.H.   Pumping out of deep aquifers will maintain some crops. Locally Pinot Noir is watered with wells drilled to 800 ft.  When you can get $3,500 a ton or about $ 10,000+ an acre for a crop you can afford the energy costs but most crops don't return anywhere near $10,000 an acre per year. So water or wine? Planting, pruning, trellising , and watering for three years before you get a crop means your water supply can't be shut off or you really suffer a big economic hit. Truck crops can be planted when there is water available but they don't pay very well . So enjoy that $50 bottle and understand that water flows to money and if the city wants it's water it can buy it. Who needs vegetables anyhow? Please excuse the snark

wili

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2014, 08:48:49 PM »
Thanks, all. For now, I'd just like to point to this passage from the "Notice of Curtailment" that Bruce received:

f you are in a water short area, you should be looking into alternative water supplies for your
water needs. Alternative supplies include groundwater wells, purchased water supplies under contractual arrangements, and recycled wastewater. Water right holders are cautioned that groundwater resources are significantly depleted in some areas. Water right holders in these areas should make planting and other decisions accordingly

Does that last sentence sound a bit ominous to anyone else?
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

JimD

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2014, 08:54:02 PM »
SH

It is true that people have to have drinking water.  But after that they have to have food and it takes water to grow that food. 

The vast majority of city/residential water used has nothing to do with needing a drink.  A lot of that water is for industrial use, washing cars, watering lawns, filling swimming pools,  golf course, taking two showers a day (2 a week should be plenty), and so on ad infinitum.  A lot of non-essential water use there.

While agriculture certainly could get much more efficient with water so can the cities.  And here is betting that CA will work real hard on that this year.

To give some examples:

Phoenix has dropped per capita water use by 60 gal/day from the peak but it is still 195 gal/day

Los Angeles per capita water us is only 123 gal/day

Los Vegas is at 211 per/day (down from 314 in 2002) and its goal is to only get to 199 pre/day by 2035

So LA is less than 2/3 of the others.

Looks like we could free up some water very quickly if we really wanted to.  Just legislate that no municipality can have more water per capita than Los Angles uses and we can get through this summer just fine.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

JackTaylor

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2014, 09:20:31 PM »
Bruce Steele: Reply # 10;  Personal if you have the time.

Out of curiosity, which reservoir are you downstream of?
Your well(s) distance below the dam?

How far downstream is it before a well is not considered riparian?
Does it apply down to the next reservoir or all the way to the ocean?

ccgwebmaster

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2014, 09:29:54 PM »
So enjoy that $50 bottle and understand that water flows to money and if the city wants it's water it can buy it. Who needs vegetables anyhow? Please excuse the snark


It's the same lesson being given to people in poor nations unable to afford to compete with biofuels for food, just the chickens come home to roost a little more locally.

From http://thebiggestlieevertold.wordpress.com/tag/cop16/

    “A rich man’s cat may drink the milk that a poor boy needs to remain healthy. Does this happen because the market is failing? Not at all, for the market mechanism is doing its job – putting goods in the hands of those that have the dollar votes.”

The author of the ice cold quote above is none other than our neoclassical economist and Yale University Professor Bill Nordhaus (Nordhaus and Samuelson, 2005), originator of the now infamous 2ºC threshold target that has come to dominate climate discussions and to dismiss all sensibilities as our Earth spins toward a terrifying, irreversible apocalypse.


So those who use to have the dollar votes will no longer have enough dollar votes, and will finally experience what it is to be poor and unable to comfortably live. They will complain and hate it and want something different, but why would the system change for them when they did not change for others affected before?

So indeed - who does need vegetables? Got the dollars? No? Then you don't need them.

Shared Humanity

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2014, 10:20:36 PM »

Bruce Steele

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2014, 10:38:49 PM »
Jack, The Santa Ynez watershed is downstream three reservoirs. Bradley Dam and lake Cachuma is the largest and supplies Santa Barbara via a tunnel through the mountains ,father upstream is Juncal reservoir that supplies Montecito.
 My two wells are into riparian flow which extends across  the entire hundred year floodplain. The state requires agriculture wells into riparian flow to have meters on them and we are registered with the state as well as monitored for water quality standards.
 I read the notice of curtailment letter but I think this will be a test of those willing to lawyer up and the rest of us. Riparian water rights extend along the entire length of the river to the sea and several municipalities both source water from large wells  within the floodplain as well as dumping their wastewater treatment overflows into the same. Yes that's my drinking water also :)
 Most of the watershed above Bradbury dam is Nation Forrest although there is a large ranchero and a golf course. So the big issues will be downstream Cachuma. To make things even messier a water

agreement for downstream users that Santa Barbara litigated against only allows that the reservoir
release water for three years after the last year the reservoir spills. We have past the third year  so
this year TSHTF.
 JimD, I think I will work on some brush thinning also , this is going to be a whopper of a fire season.   
« Last Edit: January 19, 2014, 03:53:25 AM by Bruce Steele »

DrTskoul

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2014, 10:39:55 PM »
SH:

Beware of unintended consequences!! Similar to geoengineering
“You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing -- that's what counts.”
― Richard P. Feynman

Neven

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2014, 11:18:52 PM »
Well, Watts has just posted something on the drought outside his window (I'm not linking to the best science blog in the world), and what do you know:

Plus, California population has increased dramatically while water storage has not. That’s a testament to poor planning and the hands of environmentalists and their campaigns to stop new water storage systems.

Those darn environmentalist should be put in camps of some sort. Everything is their fault.

And the cause of this? Certainly not “global warming” though I’m sure the activist idiots will use every trick in the book to try to create a linkage. The cause is a the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and a weak to neutral and persistent La Niña pattern that some are calling “La Nada”.

A flip side to the "hiatus"? California's drought problems will probably be solved when the next El Niño comes along, but it will probably also lead to the global average warmest year on record. It seems poor Watts can't have it both ways.
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Sigmetnow

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2014, 02:17:49 PM »
Question:  when municipalities (or whoever) require, say, a "20% reduction" in water use, how is that calculated?  Do they take 20% off an average volume as everyone's new target? Or is it individualized to each user's prior water use -- which would hurt the already-frugal user more than someone who is usually wasteful.

Thanks.
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

JimD

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #20 on: January 19, 2014, 04:06:58 PM »
Sigmetnow

I have seen several different approaches so I think it varies by city and water district.

Here is Santa Cruz's approach

http://www.cityofsantacruz.com/index.aspx?page=396

San Diego

http://www.sandiego.gov/water/conservation/drought/prohibitions.shtml

Sacramento

http://www.sacbee.com/2014/01/14/6071929/sacramento-council-to-weigh-water.html

A lot of it is expected cooperation, meter readings, and inspectors looking for violations and giving fines, and neighbors getting mad and turning others in.  Fines can be pretty substantial.

One of the big issues which is very hard to figure out a way to deal with are the properties who get their water from private wells.  It is in their interests to be very frugal with water as they have to pay for redrilling if the well  goes dry so usually they are pretty carefully all the time.  But there is always a lot of redrilling going on.  But farmers must have the water and they tend to over pump the most in times of drought.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

JackTaylor

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #21 on: January 19, 2014, 04:32:58 PM »
Sigmetnow,

It may sound amusing, but the City of Sacramento,  California   http://www.cityofsacramento.org/utilities/water/water-meters.cfm
has a goal of 2025 to have all customers on "metered water."

http://www.cityofsacramento.org/utilities/water/water_meter_plans_and_progress.cfm
"More than 53,000 (or 42% percent) of 110,000 water meters have been installed. Nearly 100 percent of commercial properties have water meters, as well as homes built after 1992."

More about arrogance, http://articles.latimes.com/2003/may/06/local/me-meters6
 "In 1920, the city of Sacramento amended its charter to declare that "no water meters shall ever be attached to residential water service pipes," and ever since, water meters have been fighting words here in River City."

The LA Times link above make for interesting reading.

Sigmetnow

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #22 on: January 19, 2014, 05:26:57 PM »
JimD, JackTaylor, thank you for the info and links.

Seems like we are fixated on small bits of visible, external bleeding, when the most damage is happening internally.
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

ritter

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #23 on: January 20, 2014, 07:22:16 PM »
The no rain thing has become quite the topic of conversation. I am in the far north Bay Area and we average 40 inches of rain, generally between mid-October to early April. Since July 1, we've had 2.1 inches of rain. Average for today's date is 20. December got us slightly more than half an inch. It's hardly rained (0.08 inch) in January with nothing to speak of in the forecast. So if we magically went back to average rainfall today through the rest of the season, we'd still only get half of what we consider average. People are getting nervous.

There are towns/cities that are completely reliant on reservoir storage for water. As noted, Wilits is down to about a 60 day supply. If it doesn't rain, they are in trouble. Sacramento is reliant on storage for about 60% of its water supply coming from the Sacramento and American rivers. Reservoirs on those two rivers are very low. If it doesn't snow, Sacramento is in trouble. It's worth it to note that these two rivers, although half a state away, also contribute heavily to LA's water supply.

For what it's worth, our last water bill put us at 50 gallons/day/person. Not bad, but we can do better. Showers will soon be with buckets so we can capture that "warm-up" period water to use on the garden this summer. We've already got low flow fixtures but will be installing valves on the shower heads to cut flow during lathering. Too bad--I really enjoy a nice warm shower.

The gape (wine) growers will be squawking soon about riparian rights to use river water for frost protection. This dry air has resulted in freezing conditions at night that will damage soon to be budding vines. That same water goes to the water purveyors' wells that supply Sonoma and Marin counties. There simply won't be enough to go around.

One item not much talked about in the press is the loss of electricity production this will have during California's peak summer demand periods. If there's no water in the reservoirs, the turbines won't be spinning and we'll be relying on less "green" power to make up the deficit. Wonder if we'll experience rolling blackouts again. I'm afraid this summer is going to suck in more ways than one.

JimD

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #24 on: January 21, 2014, 05:20:52 AM »
Climate Change and Water in Southwestern North America Special Feature

Water, climate change, and sustainability in the southwest PNAS 2010 107 (50) 21256-21262; published ahead of print December 13, 2010,  doi:10.1073/pnas.0909651107

Note this was from 2010. Interesting.

Abstract

The current Southwest drought is exceptional for its high temperatures and arguably the most severe in history. Coincidentally, there has been an increase in forest and woodland mortality due to fires and pathogenic outbreaks. Although the high temperatures and aridity are consistent with projected impacts of greenhouse warming, it is unclear whether the drought can be attributed to increased greenhouse gasses or is a product of natural climatic variability. Climate models indicate that the 21st century will be increasingly arid and droughts more severe and prolonged. Forest and woodland mortality due to fires and pathogens will increase. Demography and food security dictate that water demand in the Southwest will remain appreciable. If projected population growth is twinned with suburb-centered development, domestic demands will intensify. Meeting domestic demands through transference from agriculture presents concerns for rural sustainability and food security. Environmental concerns will limit additional transference from rivers. It is unlikely that traditional supply-side solutions such as more dams will securely meet demands at current per-capita levels. Significant savings in domestic usage can be realized through decreased applications of potable water to landscaping, but this is a small fraction of total regional water use, which is dominated by agriculture. Technical innovations, policy measures, and market-based solutions that increase supply and decrease water demand are all needed. Meeting 21st-century sustainability challenges in the Southwest will also require planning, cooperation, and integration that surpass 20th-century efforts in terms of geographic scope, jurisdictional breadth, multisectoral engagement, and the length of planning timelines.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Shared Humanity

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #25 on: January 21, 2014, 06:23:56 PM »
ritter.......  a truly frightening array of very real impacts of the ongoing drought in northern California. Thank you.......I guess.

ritter

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #26 on: January 21, 2014, 08:16:39 PM »
ritter.......  a truly frightening array of very real impacts of the ongoing drought in northern California. Thank you.......I guess.

Misery loves company!  ;)

It's fascinating at the same time it's horrifying.

silkman

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #27 on: January 22, 2014, 10:12:20 AM »
To get an impression of the impact of the blocking high just take a look at January's weather history in the high Sierras.

No relief in sight it seems.

http://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/KMMH/2014/1/22/MonthlyHistory.html#calendar
« Last Edit: January 22, 2014, 10:18:48 AM by Silkman »

ritter

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #28 on: January 22, 2014, 05:42:55 PM »
No relief in sight it seems.

Nope. Looks like we'll have to settle the month at 0.08 inches of rain in my area as there is nothing in the forecast for the rest of the month but beautiful, abnormally sunny weather. Average is around 6 inches for January.  :o

CraigsIsland

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #29 on: January 22, 2014, 09:19:39 PM »
I live in Sacramento and the coverage and effects are being felt across the region. Mandatory and voluntary water reductions have been put into place by numerous local governments. Dust and air quality have started to drop and I have personally felt those effects. I'm pretty sensitive to dry or dirty air and am not happy about it. People definitely talk about the lack of rain and also the lack of snowpack. It does have the publics attention but we are just hoping for a change in the season and not talking that much about future scenarios with or without a strong El Niño period. Some conservation measures like hiring water waste inspectors to inform citizens and fine really abusive users have been taking to the streets. Is there talk of migration? No but I have been talking to the significant other about water rationing and buying bottled for emergencies. I'm watching the El Niño forecast and lake levels to ensure the region will have enough water with some water conservation factored in. At a certain point, yes, there could be talk of a temporary move where there is water (with temp work) as we know that the water always comes back. It is a bit chilling though to think we could be dangerously playing with water supplies for as many impacts as it could have on a lot of people.

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #30 on: January 22, 2014, 11:18:57 PM »
At a certain point, yes, there could be talk of a temporary move where there is water (with temp work) as we know that the water always comes back.

While I wouldn't make any claims about permanence to the drought in question, I imagine the Mayans also told themselves that the usual levels of rainfall always came back...

Sometimes past experience is no guide to future events - if the US southwest reverts to a drier state (a predicted outcome of climate change at some point) - that could become true in this instance (for at least a long time - far longer than any of us would see).

Sigmetnow

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #31 on: January 23, 2014, 02:52:58 PM »
From CNN, another casualty of the California drought: domestic horses.  The views of parched landscape are heartbreaking as well.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XBBDs9YQnOI
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JimD

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #32 on: January 23, 2014, 05:07:04 PM »
Here in AZ our winter weather is largely determined by what happens to California (we are generally downwind or down weather system from them).  On the news last night they said we had no chance of moisture for the next week and if that happened we would set an all time record for number of winter days without receiving moisture.  Records go back to around 1880.  The current record is from 1911 if I remember correctly. 
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johnm33

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #33 on: January 23, 2014, 07:28:21 PM »
Someone, or a link upthread asserted that California feeds the US this gives some, for me surprising, numbers, http://www.blacklistednews.com/U.S._Cattle_Herd_Is_At_A_61_Year_Low_And_Organic_Food_Shortages_Are_Being_Reported_All_Over_America/32262/0/0/0/Y/M.html

ritter

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #34 on: January 29, 2014, 06:59:15 PM »
California drought: 17 communities could run out of water within 60 to 120 days, state says

The water systems, all in rural areas, serve from 39 to 11,000 residents. They range from the tiny Lompico County Water District in Santa Cruz County to districts that serve the cities of Healdsburg and Cloverdale in Sonoma County.

And it could get a lot worse.

http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_25013389/california-drought-17-communities-could-run-out-water

Hey, my town made the news!  :o

We've been taking navy showers and the kid has been instructed to keep the bath water in the tub so we can bucket it out to plants in the yard. Looks like I'll be plumbing in a gray water system in the near future. This lack of rain is beginning to affect my psyche.

wili

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #35 on: January 31, 2014, 09:12:07 PM »
Now this from Joe Fromm:
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/01/31/3223791/climate-change-california-drought/

Leading Scientists Explain How Climate Change Is Worsening California’s Epic Drought

    ...Remarkably, climate scientists specifically predicted a decade ago that Arctic ice loss would bring on worse droughts in the West, especially California. As it turns out, Arctic ice loss has been much faster than the researchers — and indeed all climate modelers — expected.

    And, of course, California is now in the death-grip of a brutal, record-breaking drought, driven by the very change in the jet stream that scientists had anticipated....

    ...As climatologist and water expert Peter Gleick noted to me, quite separate from the impact of climate change on precipitation, “look at the temperature patterns here, which are leading to a greater ratio of rain-to-snow, faster melting of snow, and greater evaporation. Those changes alone make any drought more intense.”

    But what of the possibility that climate change is actually contributing to the reduction in rainfall? After all, as Daniel Swain has noted, “calendar year 2013 was the driest on record in California’s 119 year formal record, and likely the driest since at least the Gold Rush era.”

    Trenberth explained that, according to climate models, “some areas are more likely to get drier including the SW: In part this relates a bit to the “wet get wetter and dry get drier” syndrome, so the subtropics are more apt to become drier. It also relates to the expansion and poleward shift of the tropics.”

    Back in 2005, I first heard climatologist Jonathan Overpeck discuss evidence that temperature and annual precipitation had started to head in opposite directions in the U.S. Southwest, which raises the question of whether we are at the “dawn of the super-interglacial drought.” Overpeck, a leading drought expert at the University of Arizona, warned “climate change seldom occurs gradually.”...

...Back in 2004, Lisa Sloan, professor of Earth sciences at UC Santa Cruz, and her graduate student Jacob Sewall published an article in Geophysical Research Letters, “Disappearing Arctic sea ice reduces available water in the American west” (subs. req’d).

As the news release at the time explained, they “used powerful computers running a global climate model developed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) to simulate the effects of reduced Arctic sea ice.” And “their most striking finding was a significant reduction in rain and snowfall in the American West.”

“Where the sea ice is reduced, heat transfer from the ocean warms the atmosphere, resulting in a rising column of relatively warm air,” Sewall said. “The shift in storm tracks over North America was linked to the formation of these columns of warmer air over areas of reduced sea ice in the Greenland Sea and a few other locations.”

Last year, I contacted Sloan to ask her if she thought there was a connection between the staggering loss of Arctic sea ice and the brutal drought gripping the West, as her research predicted. She wrote, “Yes, sadly, I think we were correct in our findings, and it will only be worse with Arctic sea ice diminishing quickly.”

This week, Sewall wrote me that “both the pattern and even the magnitude of the anomaly looks very similar to what the models predicted in the 2005 study...




So the above is what the model in 2005 predicted, and below is what we actually had over the last year:



Sloan concludes:
...the similarity of these patterns certainly suggests that we shouldn’t discount warming climate and declining Arctic sea ice as culprits in the CA drought.


Drought researcher Aiguo Dai was quoted in a 2012 NCAR news release for a 2012 study warning, “The U.S. may never again return to the relatively wet conditions experienced from 1977 to 1999.”
« Last Edit: January 31, 2014, 09:24:59 PM by wili »
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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #36 on: February 01, 2014, 04:05:08 PM »
I cannot shake the feeling that we will be seeing a massive migration from the southwest by the middle of the century as entire regions run out of water.

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #37 on: February 01, 2014, 04:33:41 PM »
<<I cannot shake the feeling that we will be seeing a massive migration from the southwest by the middle of the century as entire regions run out of water.>>

Possible.  We always "think" the drought will end.  But what if the drought is 25 years or 50 years.

We humans have a SHORT CONCEPT of "time".  We are dropped onto the earth and so we probably have a time frame from the time we are age 15 until we die.  We have no concept of time frames LONGER than that.

Las Vegas must look like a pretty silly idea to any "intelligent life" on another planet that happen to be looking in on us.  I wouldn't be a LONG TERM BUYER of property in the southwest US that is for sure.  Of course....I wouldn't be a long term buyer of property in New Orleans or Miami either.


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JimD

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #38 on: February 01, 2014, 04:36:43 PM »
SH

I would suggest ceding the territory back to Mexico, say we're sorry we stole it from you and we are giving it back.  Then build a BIG fence and don't let any of the folks in the SW try and immigrate back to the US (you won't be able to handle the excess population anyway).  Does that seem fair  ;D
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Sigmetnow

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #39 on: February 02, 2014, 03:31:57 PM »
California Department of Water Resources press release:
DWR Drops State Water Project Allocation to Zero, Seeks to Preserve Remaining Supplies
Severe Drought Leads to Worst-Ever Water Supply Outlook
...
Except for a small amount of carryover water from 2013, customers of the State Water Project (SWP) will get no deliveries in 2014 if current dry conditions persist and deliveries to agricultural districts with long-standing water rights in the Sacramento Valley may be cut 50 percent – the maximum permitted by contract – depending upon future snow survey results. It is important to note that almost all areas served by the SWP have other sources of water, such as groundwater, local reservoirs, and other supplies.
...
“It is our duty to give State Water Project customers a realistic understanding of how much water they will receive from the Project,” said Director Cowin. “Simply put, there’s not enough water in the system right now for customers to expect any water this season from the project.”

www.water.ca.gov/news/newsreleases/2014/013114prerss_conference.pdf

More analysis here from the LA Times:
http://touch.latimes.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-79120724/
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ritter

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #40 on: February 03, 2014, 05:39:01 PM »
We got 0.68 inch of rain Sunday. It was nice to hear, see and smell it. Now we just need another 19 inches to get us to half of average.  :o

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #41 on: February 04, 2014, 09:02:50 PM »
Climate-change-denying Republicans say: forget the fish, just give us the water!

House Republicans from the region have taken to blaming ecosystem protection for limited irrigation flows. They are specifically targeting restoration efforts along the San Joaquin River, California’s second largest river, painting the drought as a divisive issue that can win them political points. In mid-January, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) visited the Central Valley to announce emergency drought legislation for the region that would increase water available for agriculture by reducing river flows.

“How you can favor fish over people is something people in my part of the world would never understand,” Boehner said, flanked by three Republican colleagues from the Central Valley — Rep. Devin Nunes of Tulare, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield and Rep. David Valadao of Hanford. Valadao said that while Congress cannot make it rain, they can provide relief from burdensome environmental regulations.

Nunes, who vehemently denies global warming, was also quick to call the drought a “man-made crisis.”
...
Famiglietti thinks the political challenges and battles ensue both because people don’t really understand all the complicated water needs of the state and, at some level, for political gain. “I think there’s some intentional political manipulation,” Famiglietti said. “And sometimes for the right reasons. A Congressperson might be interested in making sure that farmers in his or her region have water. At the same time, I hear many in Congress say that if water flows underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, that’s a waste, which just isn’t true.”

 http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/02/04/3223571/california-drought-politics/
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JimD

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #42 on: February 06, 2014, 04:12:40 AM »
My son who lives about an hour from Sacramento says he has had well over an inch of rain and that the forecast is for as much as 4 inches more in the next few days.  Flood and mudslide watches set.
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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #43 on: February 07, 2014, 06:32:39 PM »
Jim, yes, it looks as though the "pineapple express" is sending some rain California's way. Two inches of rain in northern CA through Sunday, some areas to receive up to 6 inches. Some pullback in the actual amount soaked up will be expected as water runs off the cracked, hard soil, but it will make an impact. A persistent pattern of rain and snow for the remainder of winter would be very good news. Obviously the best thing would be a shift in ENSO and PDO. As we've been following so far, things are shaping up positively for an El Niño in fall 2014/winter 2015. But for the immediate crisis at hand, we have some good developments taking place to blunt the worst of things.

http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2627
« Last Edit: February 07, 2014, 06:58:47 PM by deep octopus »

ritter

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #44 on: February 10, 2014, 06:17:40 PM »
We got about 6 inches of rain here in the northern Bay Area from Thursday to Sunday. Welcome news. It's not going to correct the drought, but it will certainly green up the hills some, clean up the air and replenish a desiccating spirit!

JimD

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #45 on: February 10, 2014, 06:48:51 PM »
Two articles on the drought and ag issues in CA.

...Twenty years ago, the water table under the Willeys’ farm measured 120 feet. But a well test in late January revealed that it is now 60 feet lower. Half of that decline, Tom estimates, has occurred in the last two years.

The Willeys have done what they can to cope. They’ve cut back on less profitable crops, and they are already dedicated practitioners of sustainable agriculture. But many farmers aren’t, and the future is worrisome. Pumping from aquifers is so intense that the ground in parts of the valley is sinking about a foot a year. Once aquifers compress, they can never fill with water again. It’s no surprise Tom Willey wakes every morning with a lump in his throat. When we ask which farmers will survive the summer, he responds quite simply: those who dig the deepest and pump the hardest.


OMG!  Down 15ft a year!

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/10/opinion/the-dust-bowl-returns.html?_r=0

Without help from the heavens, Joe Del Bosque figures that 2014 will be the last year before many family farmers in California’s vast San Joaquin Valley begin to go bankrupt.

And 2014 is going to be bad. Really bad. Del Bosque has 2,000 acres scattered across several farms west of Fresno, near Firebaugh. He will leave 500 to 700 acres unplanted because there is no water for his crops.

That’s about 650,000 boxes of cantaloupe, regular and organic, he won’t be harvesting come July — about $3 million worth of produce, he estimated. It’s a few hundred workers, most of them migrants, he won’t be hiring. It’s money that won’t be spent in grocery and hardware stores in small towns across the region that produces half of the country’s homegrown fruits and vegetables. It’s a lot of schools with empty seats as farm workers looking for jobs move on with their families...
...By some estimates, half a million acres of San Joaquin Valley farmland will lie fallow during the upcoming growing season...
...The average family of four in a single-family home in Sacramento uses 417 gallons of water a day, 65 percent of it outdoors. Half the homes don’t even have water meters.


On the Monterey Peninsula, where only 105,000 people live, in places such as Carmel and Monterey, water comes from the Carmel River and groundwater, not the giant state water system. The average person consumes 60 gallons a day, which Dave Stoldt, general manager of the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District, said is the lowest in the state.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/california-drought-hits-farmers-hardest/2014/02/09/beec5e10-9043-11e3-b46a-5a3d0d2130da_story.html
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How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

JimD

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #46 on: February 10, 2014, 10:49:02 PM »
My son who lives near Placerville east of Sacrament got 6.5 inches of rain and he said one of the ski resorts got the equivalent of 13 inches of rain (in the form of snow).  He said Folsom lake came up 15ft and they are at 40% of normal now.  About 3-4 more storms like that one and they are in good shape (best of luck on that).
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Sigmetnow

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #47 on: February 16, 2014, 02:20:27 PM »
Here's a discussion of why we have seen (next to) no mandatory water rationing in California.  Yet.

"...there's no one-size-fits-all answer to explain why rationing hasn't taken hold. While three utilities provide 80 percent of Californians' electricity, there are roughly 3,000 water providers statewide, all with different rules, political realities and needs. Some are cities. Some are corporations. Some are farm districts pumping from wells. Some have significant amounts of water stored up and some don't. But all of their bottom lines depend on selling water, not conserving. And as difficult as the economics of rationing are, the politics may be even more complex."

http://www.mercurynews.com/science/ci_25153774/california-drought-why-is-there-no-mandatory-water
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Bruce Steele

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #48 on: February 16, 2014, 04:18:35 PM »
Local water agencies quibble about what's fair for their water users. A local rich verses less rich conundrum. 

http://www.independent.com/news/2014/jan/30/let-sleeping-dogs-snore/?print

CraigsIsland

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared
« Reply #49 on: February 16, 2014, 04:37:01 PM »
My son who lives near Placerville east of Sacrament got 6.5 inches of rain and he said one of the ski resorts got the equivalent of 13 inches of rain (in the form of snow).  He said Folsom lake came up 15ft and they are at 40% of normal now.  About 3-4 more storms like that one and they are in good shape (best of luck on that).

Small world; I grew up in the area and live in Sacramento. We need a lot more rain to avoid really dire consequences. I'm just glad that stubborn high over the pacific broke down