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The California Problem

 
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yes agreed, bryant...even with the woo ish stuff you wrote. totally.
because of the crisis in our larger system, i believe there are small sub systems, and particular individuals are tasked with a thankless and difficult job...because they have the awareness of these things....and are coming into their own finally, and are able to be catalysts for the changes that must occur. dont get me wrong, that i am suggesting these are superheros, or anything, i see it more like...how say, the immune system or cells in the larger body, have to do a certain job to protect the integrity of the larger system...so in the body of the mother there are more and more of these kinds of "cells".

and also agree with the more practical concrete things you are writing. theres a lot of screwy stuff with water in california. and i still say its so much more complicated than one thing, but if i absolutely had to pick out just one thing to point at, it would be the totally messed up inefficient laws and system around water in cal.

even lesser known, is that the whole crazy system has been on the tax payers dime, in my understanding of it, not just cal tax payers, but federal tax payers. well what do i really know? this is how i have come to understand it, maybe this is now being more exposed and there is better info to be found. but that information hasnt really been talked about. its another screwy subsidation of big AG, because it should be pointed out as well that not all farmers benefit from this, not all farmers get abundant water for free. most small farmers dont get anything and have to pay a lot for their water. well except up here in nor cal, where theres lots of water and its cheap..
 
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I have a whole host of comments.

Someone check me if I have this wrong because I have not sourced this from enough places. First I find it incredible that NO one in this thread so far has said anything about the second biggest user of water in CA. There are arguments as to the amount but no one is mentioning the water used in the environmental projects in CA. The salmon reintroduction and the delta smelt and another small fish necessary to the salmon reintroduction have been the primary users of water in this project. From some numbers roughly 40% of the water used in CA has gone into these environmental projects. 2 years worth of stored ag water has been basically wasted on these projects. Worse yet it continues to be wasted for very little benefit. After that water is removed from the total available water is when they calculate the rest of the water use in CA. So when figures say 80% of the water in CA is used in ag that completely ignores the 40% of the water that isn't even counted in the total. The real drought would be just starting this year and the aquifers would not have 2 hard years of pumping depletion on them without this.

Second issue is I am going to say that fracking is mostly a non issue. I came from a different point than how fracking was done to arrive at that issue. The original article decrying the use of fracking water listed # of millions of gallons used per well and the fact that there were 1.1 million wells in the US. It seemed wrong so I played with the math a couple of months ago but didn't write down the answers where I have them easy. If you assume that all the wells are in CA and that they all went in the same year it amounts to roughly 1/4 of the total surface water storage available in CA which sounds horrible. But those assumptions are way off. Fracking has been around for over 50 years and popular for 30. So lets make a better assumption that 1/30 of the wells go in during any given year. Any imbalance of more happening later should be absorbed by the fact that we ignored the first 20 years of fracking. And certainly all the fracked wells are not in CA. I couldn't find a number there so what I used was the ratio of CA surface area in square miles to the surface area of the whole US in miles. Given CA regulatory climate I am fairly certain that number will be high. Even so if you do the math it is well less that 1/10 of 1 percent of the total stored water in CA is being used in fracking. Certainly not the drying CA up idea that many of the news stories projected. While all water loss adds up this one is not worth the arguments and effort that is being thrown at it. Even a miniscule improvement in agriculture water loss will amount to more than that. Better to concentrate the time and resources where they will make the most difference.

Third issue is water bottling. There again the numbers sound huge but amount to tiny amounts of the total stored surface water. But more importantly what everyone in this argument seems to be ignoring is that most of the product product produced in CA seems to be used in CA. There again I couldn't get hard direct numbers but what I could get was from an environmental web site talking about number of water bottles disposed of in CA. If you assume each bottle at 20 oz.(I am guessing the average is smaller) that still means at least a big chunk of the water bottled in CA is used there and that is a zero sum game. There again to much fighting over what appears to be a negligible issue.




 
leila hamaya
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C. Letellier wrote:I have a whole host of comments.

Someone check me if I have this wrong because I have not sourced this from enough places. First I find it incredible that NO one in this thread so far has said anything about the second biggest user of water in CA. There are arguments as to the amount but no one is mentioning the water used in the environmental projects in CA. The salmon reintroduction and the delta smelt and another small fish necessary to the salmon reintroduction have been the primary users of water in this project. From some numbers roughly 40% of the water used in CA has gone into these environmental projects. 2 years worth of stored ag water has been basically wasted on these projects. Worse yet it continues to be wasted for very little benefit. After that water is removed from the total available water is when they calculate the rest of the water use in CA. So when figures say 80% of the water in CA is used in ag that completely ignores the 40% of the water that isn't even counted in the total. The real drought would be just starting this year and the aquifers would not have 2 hard years of pumping depletion on them without this.






i have a hard time wrapping my head around what you are saying here.

originally, and for thousands/millions of years, 100% of the water was being used for "environmental projects" in cal. it is not that this water is "removed"...in fact that is exactly it. it is NOT removed, from the system of watersheds and rivers where valuable, to the greater environment and to humans, species of fish and the rest of the river ecosystems can use it, as OPPOSED to being diverted to farming and agriculture/suburbia down south.

or this is my take on it anyway, mostly this is what happens in northern california, where there is abundant water. i do not agree that this is in any way "wasted". yes there is still a lot of problems with salmon numbers and other species not being abundant as they once were, but that IMO has more to do with human interference and taking more water/ system of dams/ diverting too much water southward....not because the environmentalists arent trying their best to try to protect the watersheds.

but i can at least say that this is kinda a common enough perception, among some, against the "environmentalists"...being the source of this problem ...i definitely disagree....
 
C. Letellier
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Now as for fixes I can suggest one that would help and probably be good for the environment too. What if you built a commercial wind farm that instead of producing power it produced compressed air for storage in a geologic structure. That would give you the ability to eventually produce the highly desirable steady state power from wind energy from the compressed air so here is the first small gain. If you kept the storage field local to the wind farm that would let you tap higher wind speeds because cost of equipment and transmission is one of the limiting factors on max wind speed. By keeping everything local those higher velocity winds could be tapped. While they are rare remember that the kinetic energy of the wind increases as the square of its velocity. So even if they only happened 5% of the time that would be the same with storage as them happening 10% of the time. So here is a second gain. Now compressing air makes it really hot. So now use the wind mill towers as cooling towers and generate electric power with that heat differential. This will cool compressed air condensing out water. A rough estimate based on how fast my little 5 hp compressor makes water indicates a field of 100 towers would make 20 to 30 acre feet of water a year in this manner. Now add some layers of equipment. If this was done right it might be possible to produce a steady stream of cryogenic oxygen might be generated to be shipped to a carbon burning plant. Then use the cooling capacity of the oxygen to separate out the CO2 from the exhaust stack gases for sequestration in other underground storage. By using oxygen instead of air scrubbing would be simplified too making for cleaner air output. Finally add in the synergies to maybe make money on the various stages and the ability to mildly tap geothermal energy and things look better still. Now you will say the added complexities would make this to expensive to do. But if they end up trucking water down from OR or WA best guess is that it will cost between 10 and 20 cents per gallon. That would mean a wind field of 100 turbines turning out a total 25 acre feet a year would produce nearly a million dollars worth of high quality fresh water. A few years of that would certainly make a small start in paying for the added complexities.

Another possible to give ag back some growing and maybe save water would be to move water use for some crops to floating gardens/fields on the remaining reservoirs. The ag magazines often say that a closed canopy crop uses less water than bare dirt in a field. If this is true then would it not also be true that a closed canopy crop on the water would use less water than the open water? I have grown tomatoes on a float for over a decade now and know it can be done successfully. Plus I know that the water under the float stays noticeably cooler than the rest so this might improve fisheries too.

Another possible is there was an article in Popular science on a guy who wanted to make an artificial stationary tornadoes as part of the cooling for power plants allowing them to extract more energy from the fuel. It theoretically would bring cooler upper atmosphere air down to ground level in the process. Could this difference maybe be tapped to condense water from the ground level air too? This one is unproven on a large scale but might provide more opportunities than the article talked about.

Yet another maybe is if they implemented methane generation on sewage the output flow is sterile of any harmful bacteria. So could this water be treated like a nutrient rich grey water and used to directly water fields?
 
C. Letellier
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leila hamaya wrote:

C. Letellier wrote:I have a whole host of comments.

Someone check me if I have this wrong because I have not sourced this from enough places. First I find it incredible that NO one in this thread so far has said anything about the second biggest user of water in CA. There are arguments as to the amount but no one is mentioning the water used in the environmental projects in CA. The salmon reintroduction and the delta smelt and another small fish necessary to the salmon reintroduction have been the primary users of water in this project. From some numbers roughly 40% of the water used in CA has gone into these environmental projects. 2 years worth of stored ag water has been basically wasted on these projects. Worse yet it continues to be wasted for very little benefit. After that water is removed from the total available water is when they calculate the rest of the water use in CA. So when figures say 80% of the water in CA is used in ag that completely ignores the 40% of the water that isn't even counted in the total. The real drought would be just starting this year and the aquifers would not have 2 hard years of pumping depletion on them without this.






i have a hard time wrapping my head around what you are saying here.

originally, and for thousands/millions of years, 100% of the water was being used for "environmental projects" in cal. it is not that this water is "removed"...in fact that is exactly it. it is NOT removed, from the system of watersheds and rivers where valuable, to the greater environment and to humans, species of fish and the rest of the river ecosystems can use it, as OPPOSED to being diverted to farming and agriculture/suburbia down south.

or this is my take on it anyway, mostly this is what happens in northern california, where there is abundant water. i do not agree that this is in any way "wasted". yes there is still a lot of problems with salmon numbers and other species not being abundant as they once were, but that IMO has more to do with human interference and taking more water/ system of dams/ diverting too much water southward....not because the environmentalists arent trying their best to try to protect the watersheds.

but i can at least say that this is kinda a common enough perception, among some, against the "environmentalists"...being the source of this problem ...i definitely disagree....



Okay maybe wasted it to harsh a term. Foolishly used would be a better term. If the drought continues they will lose all gains made from this because they won't have the water to preserve the gains made. Wouldn't it be far better to wait to work for those gains till the water was available? As for location is Sacramento north or south CA? Much of the work on delta smelt habitats and at least some of the salmon reintroduction is taking place there and my understanding was that for water availability it is considered part of southern CA. Maybe I am wrong?
 
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So instead of letting streams run their course to the sea, while replenishing the water supply for forests, meadows, parks, etc. We should suck these streams dry, so that the forests/meadows die . Then allow the wind to blow away the top soil. And expect the rain to come back years later and replenish the streams and aquifers. Sadly I think that once the trees die and the deserts advance even more. It will not get easier in later years.

Once the trees are gone, the evaporation rate will go up, and even though a location might get the same 25 inch of rain per year, the evaporation rate for that area will have went from 26inch per year to 80inch per year. And it will be next to impossible to change that.

 
leila hamaya
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C. Letellier wrote:

Okay maybe wasted it to harsh a term. Foolishly used would be a better term. If the drought continues they will lose all gains made from this because they won't have the water to preserve the gains made. Wouldn't it be far better to wait to work for those gains till the water was available? As for location is Sacramento north or south CA? Much of the work on delta smelt habitats and at least some of the salmon reintroduction is taking place there and my understanding was that for water availability it is considered part of southern CA. Maybe I am wrong?



i also do not believe it is being foolishly used. they will not lose all the gains from this, northern california has enough water to even increase the amount of water to "environmental projects" and still way more than enough for its sparse population.. what it doesnt have is enough water to do that, and support bad agricultural practices much further south where they dont have a lot of natural water, and suburban sprawl even further south.


well i consider it so cal, but then again i consider anything south of mendo to be so cal, it is not really. i would have to drive 8 hours south to get to sac but it is still considered northern california. theres a lot of places between here and there who are working on various salmon restoration and watershed habitat preservation. and yes its true a large amount of available water is used in these projects, or rather not allowed to be diverted because of legislation that attempts (perhaps inadequately but at least tries) to fix some of the issues with the watersheds which have been caused by increased human population and human interference..

anyway i do not know much about what happens in sac, or central or southern cal....but the way the information can be made to seem , is not quite entirely accurate...some people want to find a scapegoat for this, and to those with a grudge against environmentalists, they would seem an easy target. but the people who say this and make sensationalists arguments, dont quite have their facts straight, IMO. the "environmental projects" of keeping the water in the watersheds, as opposed to sending it down south, happen in northern california, where there is a lot of water. the conservative (so called) and republican bean counter types, miss out on a lot of the bigger picture while they are busy counting their beans! so its like...they are somewhat trying to present as though northern california has an obligation to provide water for them, and how dare the "environmentalists" claim fish are more important that green lawns and bad agricultural practices. but its much more than fish, its whole river ecosystems...that have already been damaged.... and which there is rare legislature that doesnt allow central and so cal to suck nor cal dry.
 
leila hamaya
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heres some write ups that google pointed to-

http://californiawaterblog.com/2011/05/05/water%E2%80%94who-uses-how-much/

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/121605/conservatives-make-environmentalists-cause-california-drought

where i found this chart that i think shows something significant. nor cal is where most the "environmental" uses occur, and southern california uses far more water than it has naturally available. so if you excluded nor cal from this figuring, the total "environmental" use would be much lower statewide.

 
C. Letellier
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Okay. Maybe I am wrong. Having watched the articles in the farm magazines from before the drought to today talking about the policies and the affects I still think it is a serious portion of the problem. But for now you have me at least looking for more material.

Ignoring that for now what are the other obvious answers? Using water more effectively is one and the other is making more water. I have listed ideas for both above. Most of the answers for using water more effectively are known. Changing what you grow, subsurface irrigation, cover crops, mulches both natural and plastic and so on. The only one I see not being really discussed in the various places that could really be advantageous to permies with very little environmental impact is moving that food production elsewhere. CA big advantages are the ability to produce nearly year round in many produce type plants and the cost advantages of big ag.

So here is how I think that one could be done. The first problem I expect people to see is they live in a northern climate and will say can't be done because they can't afford to heat the greenhouse. How about if we stack permies answers till we solve that one?

1. Lets start with a wallipini style greenhouse. We know from you tube videos and other sources that one will almost make it in southern MT and parts of central ID. The LDS church originally designed them to work in the Andies at extreme elevations so surely we can take them a ways north. For better durability use the same stacked tire rammed earth method used in earthship design to build the walls. The greenhouse still gets to warm even in cold weather on sunny days so

2. Lets add an aquaponics system to it but lets bury a couple of the components so we are tapping geothermal too. If the main fish tank is buried deep in the back wall with only enough sticking out to feed the fish and for things like cleaning the tank and harvesting the fish then it becomes a geothermal heat too. That will make this tank more expensive as it will probably need to be concrete is the only real flaw I see here. The advantage though is that the geothermal will both heat and cool the tank helping to maintain a steadier temperature. In the process it will also store heat to carry the greenhouse through cold nights. On the other end of the system lets make the sump really deep by burying a fairly large pipe vertically for in floor geo thermal contact. The pipe should be deep enough to use a trump type pump making all pumping air powered. The water would be aerated at same time it was pumped. This would also allow for the use of multiple power sources combined in an easy fashion. The filters and exposed piping would give you the same benefit that the water barrels in the original design did. They would simply be multipurpose now.

3. Add both passive and active earth heat banking with the air. Active basically is a high pressure blower pushing into what amounts to a dry sewer drain field under the green house. The warm air works up through the soil heating it while at the same time condensing some of the water out. So you get both a heat leveling benefit and a water use benefit. It only runs when the air is to warm in the green house and would otherwise likely need to be vented. Problem does require electricity with no other good backup plan. Now I can't find an existing system for doing this passively. But what if you buried ducting behind the back wall in a zig zag fashion downward. This will cool hotter air and should create a small downward convection. At the bottom run it into a solar chimney like is used on the passive food driers. Vent the air flow back into the green house. Now it is being heated and will rise creating a circulation with cooling in the down direction and heating in the rising direction. This should store a little heat anytime you have enough sun to cause it to run. Then if the green house gets to warm yet let a wax cylinder venting control run an over center flapper to divert the hot air outside. The chimney effect should act like a passive fan taking the hottest air outside while at the same time heating the dirt behind the back wall of the greenhouse for later use. In the dark with things cooling off the airflow in that duct should reverse dumping some heat back into the greenhouse to help carry it through dark cold nights. Still don't know what to make the ducting out of that would be cheap, fairly airtight and strong enough to be buried in the dirt. Ideas?

4. For the next heating addition to the system we see all sorts of articles on compost heated cold frames and how straw bale gardens heat themselves some for earlier starts and for frost prevention if covered. So how about if there was a straw bale garden ready to light off by adding water and feritilizer in late Nov. to help through the coldest months.

5. Finally in the equipment sense add an RMH with its chimney buried in a front or rear wall as the final booster. If it could be exhausted inside some of the time that would give you 100% efficiency and a CO2 boost to the plants

6. As a final ecological heat boost maybe add raising some sort of warm blooded animal for a final tiny boost.

7. Then if the green house was zoned with some curtains you could have a green house inside a green house so parts of it stayed warmer so even if you couldn't keep the whole thing from freezing you could keep parts from freezing.
4.
 
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leila hamaya wrote:

where i found this chart that i think shows something significant. nor cal is where most the "environmental" uses occur, and southern california uses far more water than it has naturally available. so if you excluded nor cal from this figuring, the total "environmental" use would be much lower statewide.



I live in Ventura County California and drive through Oxnard farms every day. Oxnard is considered one of the best growing location because they can get 3 harvests a year. The waste and mismanagement on some of these farms is staggering.

But you also have to remember that the DWP needs this drought. They have intentionally been ignoring the upcoming drought to put LA into a crisis so they can get around some legal hurdles. As many of you may not know, the DWP has been in a legal battle with the Owens valley for over 2 decades. Owens Valley is in the map area labeled South Lohntan and constitutes most of the Eastern Sierra Nevadas. The DWP had been recklessly draining lakes and wetlands from 1905 continuing right up until the day of the court ruling. The courts ruled that they had to limit their pumping and a percentage of their pumping had to be used to revitalize wetlands that they devastated and reduce dust pollution caused by over pumping. In November of 2014 the finally reached another agreement, which they have promptly declared unfeasible due to drought conditions. As long as this battle rages on the powers that be will never allow the citizenry to correct the problem and so the land will continue to suffer.

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jun/10/local/la-me-owens-dust-20120610
http://www.dailynews.com/general-news/20141114/settlement-reached-over-dust-control-measures-at-owens-lake
http://www.ovcweb.org/owensvalley/Waterhistory.html

I can't find a link to the article, but there was recently a law suit, quietly settled in Ventura County between a landlord and tenant. The tenant wanted to reduce watering the lawn at his rental or have the landlord pay for part of the water bill. The courts determined that under a vague area of landlord/tenant law that the tenant must maintain the property the way it was when they moved in, at the landlords discretion.So the tenant is forced to pay an exorbitant water bill and fines for a lawn he has no control over. The fallout was interesting in that the tenant was not paying any rent during litigation. Upon losing he was evicted, but had already secured other housing. Due to the local publicity no one will rent the house now. lol However I suspect this is going to be a common battle in the coming year.
 
C. Letellier
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More to think about in the discussion

CA article
 
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Darn - didn't upload my post and I lost it. argh.

Just quick, then - I think one very vital thing that needs to be done in CA, and the whole SW USA, really - is to help make people overcome their intellectual disconnect with their lifestyle and their environment.

I know many people in CA (and elsewhere) who never really leave the cities. They don't grow gardens, they walk on cement all day, they don't visit farms, they don't have wells. They get their water from the tap and their produce from the grocery store. And while they intellectually know there is a drought, and that their water is from the environment and their food from a farm, they have this kind of disconnect between THAT and how a drought can AFFECT that.

They think in terms of dead lawns and higher prices for food, because water is more expensive, and water is being conserved for use elsewhere.

They don't think in terms of possibly not enough water to drink for large populations, or to shower with, or that some foods may not be available at all, period, because there is not enough water to grow them anymore. The idea that they might have to change their eating habits because the food they want, and like, and have always had, isn't available anymore? That seems crazy.

"That would never happen." I've heard this said many, many times.

Even the politicians seem to go this route a lot, now. It's like they view groundwater as this unending source of water that we can use for all our 'normal' water needs, and rainfall is simply an extra perk that we move around and distribute at at will. The idea that groundwater is being used up and not replenished? Not even there.

And yet the numbers are appallingly low for rainfall in CA now. I had not realized just how bad until I started looking. San Fran, for example, only got about 12 inches of rain last year. That's one inch more than we're getting in the Sonoran Desert down in Southern AZ. Los Angeles only got 6 inches. Ground water ain't fillin' up with those numbers.

People who don't see the problem for what it is are not going to help fix it, or push their politicians help fix it, or push for industry to have to toe the line to help fix it, whatever can be fixed.

So I truly believe that simply getting people to remember that our water is a resource, and our food is a resource, and they are not a guaranteed one? I think that would go a long way toward making successful water conservation efforts in CA.
 
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[size=12] Having lived in San Francisco for 31 years, I can tell you that this is a really complicated, multi-level problem. Because the state has always been subject to rainy/dry periods, too many people are refusing to see the current, 4-year drought as anything but a normal, cyclical climate variation. Even if they know better, money makes them deny climate change. Here in San Francisco, our climate zone was quietly changed from 9b to 10b 2 years ago. Very few people know that.

California grows something like 90% of all the fruits, nuts and vegetables in the USA. Much of it is grown on huge, corporate farms. And those farms use 80% of the water in the state. Because so much is allocated to the deserts in SoCal, the central valley farmers are pumping enormous amounts of ground water at alarming rates. Well diggers (at $1,000,000 a drill) are backed up for a year to drill for the big farmers who can afford them. This drilling is completely unregulated, and so extensive, that in some places the valley floor has dropped 30 FEET since the 1970's. The govenor recently signed a bill limiting ground water pumping, but it doesn't go into effect until after 2020. Meanwhile, it's drill, baby, drill.

Another problem relating to farmers is our archaic water laws. A lot of farmers are grandfathered in for ridiculously cheap water prices. It's like the old range wars, only with water instead of cattle.

Then there's the rich folks. A suburb up here recently voted that it wouldn't require a cut in water use because the evidence for drought wasn't really conclusive, and besides, dead grass is so...icky.

http://www.almanacnews.com/news/2015/05/19/wednesday-staff-recommends-atherton-not-pass-water-restriction-laws

http://www.mercurynews.com/drought/ci_27850879/california-drought-woodside-and-fremont-opposite-ends-water

Compare their per-capita usage with the average San Franciscan, which is 70 gals/day.

The govenor is also in league with big oil and the frackers.

Then there's climate change. I can tell you, the climate here in SF has changed drastically in the past 31 years, especially in the past 5 years. Not only are we in a drought, which could be considered normal, but temps have gone way up. It is much warmer than it used to be, boht summer and winter. This winter, we had NO frost at all. Nada. The warmer temps make the drought worse by causing more evaporation.

Then, there's the elephant in the room. Overpopulation. No one wants to talk about it. It's politically incorrect. When I moved here in 1983, the population has a hair under 26 million. It is now a hair under 40 million people. And that's not counting the illegals. That is a HUGE increase. Land, good farming land, is being paved over and built on at truly alarming rates, with huge "McMansions" that waste just about everything.

So what can be done?

 
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It makes no sense to me to have a water bill, and choose to live and plant
where there is enough rain to support life instead of
causing further planetary damage.
 
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I was up in northern CA a few weeks ago and was surprised to see orchards being flood irrigated along with rice fields. Farmers up there have senior water rights and because they pay nothing or pennies for water can afford to grow low value crops while water in LA is being bought for $700 an acre foot. They still grow cotton in Kern county which is bone dry.

As for fracking, while I hate it, the water use as a percentage is next to nothing.

The problem is the more water we "save" the more subdivisions will be built but if we do nothing we are favoring big ag and wasteful use of water. They will never do it but if there was a campaign where you could "donate" your water savings to the salmon, a LOT of people would get on board but since residential use is ONLY 20% at most, even if we all moved away, it would still be a crisis.

And it IS a crisis, I just went over the Sierra high country and there should be snow at 9,000 feet and up but there is nothing and the reservoirs are at best half full and it is only june and there is a long way to go to get to the rainy season which is late winter, early spring.

It IS however, a good time to buy land in the mountains!
 
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Data says Calif was hotter and drier in the 1930s when there was about 25% less CO2 in the atmosphere than there is now.
 
shauna carr
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I just heard recently heard from some of my active water conservationist friends here in AZ that many now are recommending that water conservation knowledgable people start USING water in their yards more (here in souther AZ), for exacty the reason Michael Bushman mentioned

As I understand it, any water we save is now being used to fuel numbers showing that we have 'plenty' of water for more growth, more houses, for casinos, and so on. Essentially, some of the conservations efforts have resulted in a net loss to water because it led to growth that our water supply couldn't actually support. So a number of the conservationists were saying: please, use the same water as those around you until we can get the laws changed to prevent this, but just put it back into the ground. At least we can keep some of it recycling back into the ground water that way.

You know you've got disconnect problems between the gov't and the problem when even trying to save water is making things worse. :-/
 
leila hamaya
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So a number of the conservationists were saying: please, use the same water as those around you until we can get the laws changed to prevent this, but just put it back into the ground. At least we can keep some of it recycling back into the ground water that way.



yeah totally, if water is being used for irrigation on (not fertilized) land, it is really not being "used up", it just goes back into the ground/is evaporated to the clouds to fall as rain. only if the water is used to irrigate land with fertilizers and nasty stuffs, it is mostly "used up"....because now it is contaminated.

this is kinda similar to the whole "environmental" use...you know it isnt correct to really call it a "use" because it requires the water to stay in the watersheds and stay around, cycling through the ground and the clouds. so its incorrect to imply that water is being "used" in this way, really it is being left to do its own thing, which does coincidentally have many human benefits, as well as ecosystem benefits. but then if it wasnt specified in this way as being a valid "use" many greedy people would just consider it up for grabs, instead of keep the water cycling....
 
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To have a better idea of the history of irrigation and its relationship to vig-business agriculture and development in California (and the West) I highly recommend the book "Cadillac Desert".



 
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For those of you that think that vegans use more water due their diets here are a few facts.
Please before you make absolute statements have evidence based research to back your words.

Fracking (hydraulic fracturing) water use ranges from 70-140 billion gallons annually.
“Draft Plan to Study the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources.” EPA Office of Research and Development. United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2011.
Animal agriculture water consumption ranges from 34-76 trillion gallons annually. [ii] [xv]
Pimentel, David, et al. “Water Resources: Agricultural And Environmental Issues.” BioScience 54, no. 10 (2004): 909-18.

Barber, N.L., “Summary of estimated water use in the United States in 2005: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2009–3098.”

Agriculture is responsible for 80-90% of US water consumption. [xv]
“USDA ERS – Irrigation & Water Use.” United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. 2013.

Growing feed crops for livestock consumes 56% of water in the US. [xv]
Jacobson, Michael F. “More and Cleaner Water.” In Six Arguments for a Greener Diet: How a More Plant-based Diet Could save Your Health and the Environment. Washington, DC: Center for Science in the Public Interest, 2006.

Californians use 1500 gallons of water per person per day. Close to Half is associated with meat and dairy products.
Pacific Institute, "California's Water Footprint"

2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of beef.
(NOTE. The amount of water used to produce 1lb. of beef vary greatly from 442 - 8000 gallons. We choose to use in the film the widely cited conservative number of 2500 gallons per pound of US beef from Dr. George Borgstrom, Chairman of Food Science and Human Nutrition Dept of College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Michigan State University, "Impacts on Demand for and Quality of land and Water." )

Oxford Journals. "Water Resources: Agricultural and Environmental Issues"

The World's Water. "Water Content of Things"

Journal of Animal Science. "Estimation of the water requirement for beef production in the United States."

Robbins, John. “2,500 Gallons, All Wet?” EarthSave

Meateater’s Guide to Climate Change & Health.” Environmental Working Group.

“Water Footprint Assessment.” University of Twente, the Netherlands.

Oppenlander, Richard A. Food Choice and Sustainability: Why Buying Local, Eating Less Meat, and Taking Baby Steps Won’t Work. Minneapolis, MN: Langdon Street, 2013. Print

477 gallons of water are required to produce 1lb. of eggs; almost 900 gallons of water are needed for 1lb. of cheese.
“Meateater’s Guide to Climate Change & Health.” Environmental Working Group.

1,000 gallons of water are required to produce 1 gallon of milk.
Water Footprint Network, "Product Water Footprints".



A Global Assessment of the Water Footprint of Farm Animal Products, WFN.

5% of water consumed in the US is by private homes. 55% of water consumed in the US is for animal agriculture. [xv]
Jacobson, Michael F. “More and Cleaner Water.” In Six Arguments for a Greener Diet: How a More Plant-based Diet Could save Your Health and the Environment. Washington, DC: Center for Science in the Public Interest, 2006.

Animal Agriculture is responsible for 20%-33% of all fresh water consumption in the world today.
1/5 of global water consumption:

27%-30%+ of global water consummation is for animal agriculture.

1/3 of global fresh water consumed is for animal ag.

“Freshwater Abuse and Loss: Where Is It All Going?” Forks Over Knives.

- LAND -
Livestock or livestock feed occupies 1/3 of the earth’s ice-free land.
FAO. "Livestock a major threat to environment"

Livestock covers 45% of the earth’s total land.
Thornton, Phillip, Mario Herrero, and Polly Ericksen. “Livestock and Climate Change.” Livestock Exchange, no. 3 (2011).

IPCC AR5 WG# Chapter 11, Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Us (AFOLU)

 
d Flores
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Someone posted about the wealthy watering large lawns. I was listening to NPR radio last week and there was a piece on exactly that issue. There are people in Bele Aire that use 1.5 million gallons of water a year to the tune of 90 thousand dollars a year. The average citizen is penalized if water goes down the street. This is an ethical issue. The water company will not discuss it with the news media or anyone who calls. There needs to be restrictions on these people.
 
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Location: Colorado Springs, Zone 4b
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Well. One thing this drought is doing is bringing all the issues with water laws to the public attention. Maybe water laws can get a revamp (a good one) out of this.

The other thing that comes to mind is that ending agricultural subsidies entirely would have a major positive effect. Water subsidies to agriculture would maybe have the majority of the effectiveness. If it costs more to irrigate they'll at least figure out how to do it more efficiently. That also begs regulating well use.
However ending subsidies for such water-intensive crops as corn would also have a profound effect in reducing water. Not subsidizing corn, soy and other "feed" crops could have all sorts of positive effects on the quality of our food supply. You could close the cost gap between industrial and healthy foods and thus give people who are trying permaculture or some more sustainable method a more competitive advantage.
Naturally it would take a few years for everything to settle and restructure if that happened and it would be really painful for those who were forced out of business as well as consumers. But at the end the whole system would be more resilient and producing better food.
 
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Not sure if anyone is still wanting to discuss water woes of California, but what I find when I go to county officials (not elected people) they are still very stuck in "tried and true", making it ultra difficult to get permits for anything different.  And they sure charge HUGE amounts in permit fees even for the "normal" way of doing business.  Not sure how to really break the barriers to having alternative for septic.
 
it's a teeny, tiny, wafer thin ad:
Hope in a World of Crisis - Water Cycle Restoration
https://permies.com/t/118080/Hope-World-Crisis-Water-Cycle
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