Running out of water – Climate Strains Colorado River
"Climate Strains Colorado River"
This is the AP headline with the full article found at:
The interesting point here is that the average reader would assume that the reason we are short on water has to do with climate change. No one wants to raise the spectre of exponential growth and the real causes behind environmental impacts.
Articles such as this can be used effectively as a method to engage the public in conversation and then pass along a DVD if they are interested in finding out more about the facts.
The real issue for those of us in the western US is how we will deal with shrinking water supplies for farming in the California Central Valley as the major urban areas of Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix and San Diego make a grab for what is left. Obviously there will not be enough to go around and as we speak Los Angeles is working on taking more water from the Sacramento River and other water supplies which feed the California agricultural community. California is somewhere near the top as far as total dollars of argricultural food exports to the nation and world. The impacts would seem obvious to a crash course graduate but I don’t think our leadership sees it coming.
Another drought year in the west US could trigger some ugly events. Comments?
Jeeez what a mess! In UK so at the moment far from a problem. Thank God you realise the underlying cause, assuming correct of course (which I would hazard a guess of yes).
Q: Do people listen to you if you state the ‘real’ problem?
They do in my community in general but I find educating the public tends to work better if you can get them to read an article or a book. Then the data becomes theirs rather than "yours".
As I understand the water problem out west, most of the Colorado River water is diverted to the big cities where it is wasted and to inefficient irrigation systems. I know there are some areas encouraging things like desert landscaping of yards, thereby minimizing use of watering. Changes to low water irrigation methods can also save a bunch. Las Vegas is recycling the water it uses in the fountains and pools on the strip, although I’m sure there is a considerable amount that simply evaporates in the desert heat.
I don’t know to what extent these fairly simple conservation measures have been taken, but last I heard not much. Has there been much development of desalinization plants?
I don’t know of any desalinization projects underway. They also rely on large quanties of fossil fuel input to get the job done. Seems like a solar powered plant would be an interesting option.
The real key to the water issue is that exponential growth and conventional design solutions ( residential and commercial consumption and landscaping ) have exceeded the supply. I agree that recycling programs are critical and need to be implemented by users across the boards.
My concern is that we now have urban consumption competing with agriculture for the available water. Urban uses pay a much higher premium for the water than farmers do so the tendency for supply agencies is to sell to the highest bidder in our normal capitalistic approach in order to balance the budgets. This puts further pressure on agricultural production.
At some point I expect to see the process affecting food supplies. In the event of a major shortage due to "CLIMATE" such as a drought, farmers would most likely be asked to cut back production to conserve water.
I am going to do some research on the % of worldwide food production that is contributed to by California alone to help put the issue in a better perspective.