Skip to comments.Severe drought? California has been here before
Posted on 02/23/2014 4:06:29 PM PST by BenLurkin
"From a climate perspective, we've been here before," Martin Hoerling, a federal research meteorologist, said last week at a drought forum in Sacramento. "We shouldn't be surprised."
The state dried out like a prune in 1976-77 and before that in 1924, the most parched periods in the modern record. And ancient tree-ring records show that during the last millennium, conditions have at times been even worse.
Take the year 1580, which left the narrowest growth ring or none at all in the California trees that University of Arizona scientist David Meko used to reconstruct a 1,000-year history of stream flow in the Sacramento River Basin, the source of much of the state's water supply.
"You see things like 1580 hey, this can happen," said Meko, who also detected periods of low river flow that lasted decades.
In Southern California's Coachella Valley, it's not just cities and farms that have sucked down aquifer levels, it's also a string of trophy golf courses that attract celebrities and politicians including President Obama on his recent California visit.
For many farmers, the answer to the state's frequent water shortages is building more reservoirs, the relaxation of endangered species protections in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and construction of a new delta diversion point and tunnel system that proponents say would allow the capture of more water in wet years.
Proposals for new reservoirs have been floated for years. But they remain controversial and funding is an unresolved obstacle.
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
"Part of the focus of the speech concerned climate change. "A changing climate means that weather related disasters like droughts, wildfires and storm floods are going to be costlier and they're going to be harsher," "
Who is lying?
The democrats have a plan. They’re putting together a meals program for farmers who are put out of work so they don’t starve. Saving the smelt is very important y’know.
Caution: Emergency meal may contain mechanically
seperated Smelt. Watch for bones!
Are smelt tasty?
Now isn't that interesting? Size of tree rings is caused by water availability, not by temperature. But what about all those narrow tree rings in Siberia?
While rebalancing downward some of the water now given to “environmental interests” (100% of their allocation) and rebalacing upward some of the water now denied to farming interests (in some cases less than 50% of their allocation) will redress SOME of the shortages farmers are experiencing, and while some other measures whould constitute better water planning, California precipitation and water table history versus the current levels of demand for water - population, farming, industry and everythings else - all suggests that California cannot continue to expect to greatly improve the supply vs demand for water from all current water sources.
It can improve things in the good years, but in modern times that has also raised expectations, that become disappointments in continually recurring bad years. And, in the bad years, many resovoirs were not built up as much as hoped in the good years. Demand is exceeding supply.
If California does not start doing things like desalization plants, so as to develop totally new sources of water it should start lowering long-range water expectations.
In addition to lower precipitation in northern and southern California recently, the water from the western side of the Rocky Mountains into the Colorado river basin (which supplies a lot of water to southern California) has also been greatly diminished in recent years. The water level behind Hoover dam is the lowest its been since the dam was built.
“This is the worst 14-year drought period in the last hundred years,” said Larry Wolkoviak, director of the bureau’s Upper Colorado Region.”
NATURAL conditions may revert all of California to a drier norm its has frequently experienced in the past.
They should tap the ocean or expect less.
I tried ‘em, they tasted OK but they smelt crappie.
Communists always use the full might of the State to destroy agriculture.
Moreover, additional storage wouldn't necessarily guarantee supplies in a parched year like this, said Jeffrey Mount, a UC Davis professor emeritus of geology and senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California. "Who were you not going to give water to two years ago and last year so that you could plan for this year?" Mount wondered.
They dismiss out of hand the option of storing more water.
The Sierras can store a 5 year supply in the wet years. And we DO get some very, very wet years. Floods of enormous proportions.
That's part of it. A lot of people live here because it's a great place to live, and they're water hogs. People in urban environments can be bullied to huge degrees to conserve water. So yes, California has a big demand for water there, but it also has a big demand for water in its agriculture. The Valley -- the San Joaquin Valley, once a big inland sea, is hugely fertile and plopped in an ideal climate. It has fed and clothed much of the U.S. It needs water to do that. Necessarily that means sacrificing some pretty things, but the payoff is that the things not sacrificed can thrive, including other natural areas.
How much water isn't agriculture getting because government says it is environmentally immoral to sacrifice lakes, or some obscure species of fresh water fish, or even beautiful canyons for reservoirs? Is there really a shortage of water, or is it an overabundance of environmental tyranny?
When Americans were free to fish the oceans on a minimum standard of regulation, seafood was plentiful and cheap, and sea lions, elephant seals, seals, etc., (piniped type critters) were plentiful. Those animals eat a lot of fish and steal fish off fishermen's lines -- a $50 bill to the guy fishing to feed America. Those animals are also smart, and will avoid things they know are dangerous. So when fishermen shot at and killed them, it kept the population within sustainability. But to "protect" these poor animals, regulations prevented fishermen from managing their resource. More pinipeds bred, ate fish freely. Their populations exploded and had a huge impact on the fish populations.
Then MORE government stepped in to "manage" fishermen into not overfishing the resource, blaming them for what the pinipeds were doing. Now "protected" seals and sea lions are so overpopulated that they are literally sinking sailboats in "protected" harbors.
There are lots of fish in the Pacific. Fish is expensive and hard to get because of environmental government tyranny. The fish is plentiful. It's an expensive luxury because commerce-killing environmental tyrannically regulation that makes outlaws of Americans who would fish and have fished America's coasts in smart, self-preserving way. We don't need no vapid bland tilapia! Salmon and tuna are plentiful. Government tyranny is the reason it is rare and expensive.
I have a hunch it's the same with starving one of the most fertile and productive food producing regions in the world. The water's there, even now, though plenty thin (my mom has lived in California for 85 years, and says she can't remember it ever being this dry this long). It's not a change in resources that we need, it's a change in priorities.
It depends upon the species of tree; its geographic location; and the agenda of the scientist studying it. ;-)
“It’s not a change in resources that we need, it’s a change in priorities.”
I did not live as long as your mom has in California, but I did spend most of my childhood there, and finished highschool and college there. I have also looked at a lot of California’s history, including its natural history.
The soil in the San Joaquin basis is fertile, and as you say it was once (for a time) a large inland sea - when it was wet everywhere that fed into the rivers in the area. The long truth is that the long general history has been floods and droughts. Some droughts in the last 8,000 years have lasted - altogether, from earlier hihgs - 200 years.
I undestand and agree that the regulatory conditions that are favoring “the environment” are unnecessary in their extreme, and should be moderated and modified.
My only serious point is that it is my belief that even doing 100% of that will not solve the totallity of water supply versus demand issues in California.
That even accounting for moderated demands for environmental needs, that the “natural” (long historical water supplies) never had, and may never have had and may still never have the “natural” supplies to fulfill the demands of “moderated” environmental needs + population + industry + agriculture in a way that long term natural supplies can provide, against the ambitions of everyone that wants some of it.
My belief is that if California wants to keep and eventually (growth???) exceed the demands already being asked of its natural water supply ability, it can help by doing lots of good and needed changes (corrected many errors as you suggest) but it cannot fully succeed without building desalination plants.