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Old 03-19-2014, 09:42 AM   #21
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I have a 600 ft deep well for my water source. I stopped having a lawn 4 years ago for fear of running it dry. All I do now is over seed with annual rye grass in the rainy season and allow it to go to seed before mowing in the spring. It is dense enough to choke out weeds and is good erosion protection. I do miss the look of a green lawn in the summer, but mowing,weed wacking and fear of a dry well trump that.

The water table is dropping all over CA. I am in the mountains so it is not as bad as some areas.
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Old 03-19-2014, 11:59 AM   #22
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Makes me want to hoard CA almonds and walnuts!!!
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Old 03-19-2014, 01:26 PM   #23
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I do not know how much water it takes to grow cotton vs. rice, vs produce meaning green-leaf veggie, fruits, nuts etc... But it seems to me when it comes to economic values, cotton and rice are more easily imported and transported than perishable veggie and fruits.

Will we be able to come to a consensus on what is good for the nation and not individual farming communities of a particular crop who might even get subsidy to grow things that can be imported for cheaper?

About water-consuming lawns, Tucson is the 2nd most populated center of AZ, and being at a higher elevation than Phoenix, it is harder to transport water there via canals. Hence, people there have had xeriscape yards for years. I think it is also a city law.
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Old 03-21-2014, 09:52 AM   #24
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For people who say "Meh", how about this piece I just saw on the Web.

It says that the drought will be impacting the supply of beer as barley and malt farmers are getting hit hard. If that does not make one care, I do not know what would.

See: No water, no beer! MillerCoors' quest to conserve water, and California Drought Could Effect Beer Production - The Brewer Magazine.
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Old 03-21-2014, 11:05 AM   #25
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Kikkoman has a soy sauce and sake brewery in the town where I live. Apparently they are very concerned about the water shortage and possible lower rice production resulting from the drought here in CA. They liked the purity of the water here and CA grows the most short and medium grain japonica rice in the US.

Their second choice for this plant was somewhere in Oregon and they're probably kicking themselves for not picking them first.
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Old 06-05-2014, 01:19 AM   #26
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Here's the new list of states with the worst drought (the worst listed first)

#1: California
#2: Nevada
#3: New Mexico
#4: Kansas
#5: Arizona
#6: Oklahoma
#7: Texas

Source: Seven States Running Out of Water - 24/7 Wall St.

This is bad! 100% of California is in "Severe Drought" (or higher), while 77% is in "Extreme Dought". For comparison, 76% of Arizona is in "Severe Drought" but only 7.7% is in "Extreme Drought". I do not know how the levels are defined, but the highest level is "Exceptional Drought". Oklahoma has 30% of the state at that highest level, while none of Arizona is at that level. A full 25% of California is at that highest level, and being a large state, that is a huge area.

Following is the drought map.

We are in deep (and cake dried) doodoo.


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Old 06-05-2014, 06:20 AM   #27
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These cities aren't running out of water - it's just that they haven't installed facilities to use the water supplies at their disposal
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Old 06-05-2014, 06:44 AM   #28
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I would note that many of the places on that map (a) are relatively arid already, and (b) have growing populations, with the obligatory lawns, golf courses, etc.
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Old 06-05-2014, 09:30 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robnplunder View Post
California drought has increased food price already - per news I've heard on my way home from work.
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Makes me want to hoard CA almonds and walnuts!!!
I found out last night that CA now produces 80% of the world's almonds, and also that a single almond takes 1 gallon of water to produce. That seems awfully high, but then I also read that almond orchard annual water requirement is equivalent to flooding the field to the depth of 3 ft. So, 1 gallon per almond sounds plausible.

Many golf courses now use effluent from sewer treatment plants. Last year, there was a stint about an Australian town proposing mixing some of its effluent back into the fresh water for drinking, saying that it was completely safe. That might be so, but there was so much public objection that the plan was cancelled.
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Old 06-05-2014, 09:38 AM   #30
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These cities aren't running out of water - it's just that they haven't installed facilities to use the water supplies at their disposal
Perhaps elsewhere, but in the West and Southwest there really isn't more water. And we have had a poor winter. Lake levels in AZ are only 70% of normal, but in CA the snowpack is 16% of normal. Bleak!

Some orchard owners in CA pay for their own million-dollar drill rigs to dig for water. Whoa! We are pumping our aquifer dry. There's no more.
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Old 06-05-2014, 09:40 AM   #31
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Farming uses the most water then industry. So, while individual conservation is good in theory, overall, it's agriculture and business that need to find a way to do things with less water. A few million people putting a brick in the toilet to save flushing water is not going to do much.
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Old 06-05-2014, 09:40 AM   #32
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FWIW, Farmers in places like Oregon, Idaho and Washington are making a ton of money these days.
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Old 06-05-2014, 09:44 AM   #33
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I do not know much about agriculture, but read that CA climate is conducive to growing some crops that are tougher or impossible elsewhere. Similarly, AZ grows 90% of produce for the US during the winter months.
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Old 06-05-2014, 09:51 AM   #34
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Perhaps elsewhere, but in the West and Southwest there really isn't more water. And we have had a poor winter. Lake levels in AZ are only 70% of normal, but in CA the snowpack is 16% of normal. Bleak!

Some orchard owners in CA pay for their own million-dollar drill rigs to dig for water. Whoa! We are pumping our aquifer dry. There's no more.

I was thinking mainly of the cities listed in Midpack's link - Cleveland, Miami, DC, San Francisco, Los Angeles. They have sources of water. And like tryan said - just build desalination plants for the cities on the coasts.

I don't know the answer to Arizona's water crisis. It's a problem due to a shrinking water source.

But Chicago puts nearly 1 billion gallons per day through its plant a day. I don't see why other cities with good supply can't do the same
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Old 06-05-2014, 10:07 AM   #35
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Cleveland, Miami should not be lacking water. I find that difficult to believe.

Actually SF and LA lack water just like Phoenix. This goes back way when (see the movie Chinatown). Decades ago, these cities already bought water rights hundreds of miles away, then pumped it home.

The big cities in the West are always fighting with the farmers to get water. In AZ now, around 60-70% of the water is used for agriculture. I think it's about the same in CA. And precipitation, both rain and snow, has been poor the last few years throughout the West and Southwest.
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Old 06-05-2014, 10:17 AM   #36
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Farming uses the most water then industry. So, while individual conservation is good in theory, overall, it's agriculture and business that need to find a way to do things with less water. A few million people putting a brick in the toilet to save flushing water is not going to do much.
+1. Likewise, reducing number of showers I take isn't going to save a lot of water compare to feeding my lawn. This week, I received a letter from my county water department about drought penalty rate increase.

I wonder if there are a lot of efforts to grow genetically modified plants which uses less water.
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Old 06-05-2014, 10:26 AM   #37
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I live in drought territory. People ignore the water restrictions. I see people watering their lawns daily, middle of the day.

We've got veggie planters, fruit trees, and xeriscape landscaping. We use gray water for some of the watering (outdoor shower and laundry). We do irrigate the veggie water with first-use tap water.

Waste water recovery is used to irrigate parks golf courses, and commercial landscaping. It's not potable, but the plants don't seem to mind. You can tell by the purple backflow preventers on that water system.

They've got the technology for toilet-to-tap - but people are too heeby-jeebied by it. Given the fact that some of our water comes from the end of the colorado river (which is pretty nasty by the time it gets to us) I'd almost rather have toilet-to-tap water.

I'm not sure if residents of San Diego will ever figure out that lawns are not appropriate landscaping for this area. It's a desert.
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Old 06-05-2014, 10:30 AM   #38
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I have also read about desalination. The problem there is cost. The water to supply a family of four will cost about $2K/year. Desalination takes a lot of energy. So, forget about using it for agriculture.

And a desalination plant is being built in San Diego County. Yes, same as LA and SF, SD lacks water too.
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Old 06-05-2014, 10:46 AM   #39
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We referred to desal in the business as electricity in a bottle.

The whole pricing structure and respect for water is completely out of whack. Spent 38 years in the business and am glad it's someone else's worry now. In the southeast, saw bad droughts in 2001-2 and 07-08, the last one which damn near exhausted Atlanta, Raleigh, and Durham's sources. The panic all went away when it started raining again, and to my knowledge not a single additional source has been brought on line since then. One thing I know, you absolutely cannot solve a water deficit when you're in a drought (source development takes decades these days). Restrictions? Maybe choke off 5-10% but in most places as price has gone up discretionary water use has gone way down. What we called hardening the demand. Went from 80k to 105k customers as prices went up; the overall usage actually decreased because people cut out most irrigation. So now if a drought there's not much to squeeze out.

I predicted in 07 08 that a major city would have a water failure within 10 years. It may not happen before 17, but it will happen. Policy leaders have no stomach for dealing with these vulnerabilities. Water supply is designed on basis of 50 year safe yield, as in to withstand the worst drought of 50 year recurrence, or in other words, with the plan that there is slightly less than a 2% chance in any given year.....a city will run out of water. We don't design bridges, buildings, or airplanes with a chance of failing in any given year of 2%. I'm done, too painful.
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Old 06-05-2014, 10:46 AM   #40
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They've got the technology for toilet-to-tap - but people are too heeby-jeebied by it. Given the fact that some of our water comes from the end of the colorado river (which is pretty nasty by the time it gets to us) I'd almost rather have toilet-to-tap water.
Most people do not realize that the once mighty Colorado River stopped flowing to the sea a long, long time ago. The trickle that crosses the border has been so laden with salt that as a pact with Mexico, the US built a desalination plant to have some good water to pump to these poor downstream Mexicans to use.

And I read that in a National Geographic article some 15-20 years ago.

Speaking of agriculture, efficient irrigation methods have another side effect. Bad, bad side effect. Salt, fertilizer, and insecticides accumulate in the soil instead of getting leached away. With time, the productivity of the land decreases as the salinity of the soil increases.

If it's not one thing, it's another!
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