Skip to comments.Water shortage ominous (Rationing may surface in Southland next year)
Posted on 09/06/2007 12:29:05 PM PDT by BurbankKarl
Southern California water officials are drawing up plans that could force rationing in some cities as early as next year, officials said Wednesday.
For now, residents are being asked to voluntarily use less water, but the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California warned that mandatory rationing could become necessary for the first time since 1991.
The immediate trigger for concern arose from U.S. District Judge Oliver Wanger's ruling last week that to protect the delta smelt, a small fish threatened with extinction, water imports from Northern California must be cut by up to 30 percent.
Officials said the threat of earthquakes and flooding, saltwater intrusion and aging levees in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta compound the problem.
"We have further evidence that the delta is in crisis, if there was any doubt about it," said Lester Snow, director of the state Department of Water Resources.
Officials said Wednesday that they are still trying to sift through Wanger's ruling to determine how much water they will be able to move through the delta and into Southern California.
Wanger did not specify how much less water could be pumped from the delta. Instead, he focused on protecting the smelt by slowing the water that flows into the pumps. Tim Quinn, president of the Association of California Water Agencies, said that in a dry year there could be a 25 percent reduction in the amount of water pumped from the delta.
The MWD is preparing an allocation plan that would spell out how much water it might be able to provide the 26 cities and water agencies that it serves in six counties, including Los Angeles and Ventura counties, said Roger Patterson, the district's assistant general manager.
If the district tells its members it has less water to provide them, it would be up to them to decide how to ask residents to cut back.
"The question is how soon do we need to go into that kind of decision-making. Do we have to do that in 2008, or do we rely on our reserve account - or (banked water) savings - to not do that in 2008? Those are the policy decisions that will be made."
The district imports about 50 percent of the water used by member agencies. About two-thirds of the water comes from the delta and the rest from the Colorado River.
The amount of water the district stands to lose from the court decision amounts to more than 10 percent of all the water its members use in a typical year.
In the city of Los Angeles, which relies on the district for nearly 70 percent of its water, officials already are asking residents to use 10 percent less water this year. But it's a voluntary program.
"If we have rationing in Los Angeles, it won't be the first time that that has happened," said David Nahai, president of the board of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Commissioners. "If that is what will be needed in order to safeguard our water supplies, well, so be it. But we'll have to see just what this plan is that Metropolitan Water District will be putting forward."
The MWD plans to present its allocation plan to the board in the fall. But Patterson said officials will hope for plenty of rainfall this winter and voluntary conservation before they seek mandatory cuts.
Real bad in NC too.
At the same time, they want to import another 30 million illegal aliens over the next couple of decades, and they keep building tracts of houses IN THE DESERT! JUST STOP!
LOL. You can't make this stuff up. No one would believe it.
Wonder if this judge lives in the area under water restriction.
I wonder how many trains a day would be needed to bring in bottled water for 36 million people.
So all the tax paying citizens are asked to cut back and then mandatory water restrictions will go into effect and they could get fined. Meanwhile, anyone else can use all the water they want and who’s to stop them?
Water, lots of water, may be the only thing of value in the old industrialized cities of New England. Even with crippling taxes, burdensome regulations, expensive schools, and horrible winters for those who don’t like cold, the ONLY thing that MIGHT attract business/manufacturing back to the Northeast is plentiful clean water.
I wonder how violent things would have to get before our Masters put us ahead of the fish.
Mule trains to comply with existing ecological concerns.
Good point. Also, if there is a potential reduction of 10% in the water supply, what would the removal of much of the illegal population in Southern California do to the demand?
The City of LA announced a 10% voluntary cutback....and then the media reported nearly all the City Council and other department heads used up to 10 times the average city household in water.
That said, as a N. Cal resident, there is no bad reason to cut S. Cal off from our water. They live in a freaking desert. They should learn to like rock gardens, not lawns.
They can also fix the kind of crops they grow in the central valley. Currently farmers grow cotton (a water intensive crop) using federally subsidized water at the same time the federal government pays farmers in the south not to grow cotton. It is insane.
Well, you guys damned up the 2nd Yosemite for your water...
i’ve lived in socal for over 20 years.
i’ve never seen any water conservation. people waste water here.
i’m from denver where the water cops come out and ticket you if you water your lawn on the wrong day.
some of socal’s water comes from colorado.
Let me see, smelt or humans, humans or smelt? Gosh that is a tough one...
Seems to me it’s time to get serious about desalinization. Put in a nuclear power plant or five, and use them to produce clean drinking water for the southland. Who knows, we might even find something to do with the excess energy.
You couldn't pay me enough to live there (just like LA).
Given what happened to the Owens Valley I wouldn't throw any stones if I was you.
Not necessary.....it’s time for the leftie politicians to tell the environmentalist wackos to get bent, and build a number of large DESALINAZATION plants along the coast. A smaller version of such a plant was built in the Santa Barbara area during the last drought, which ended before the plant came online.
The Saudis and other Arab states have built similar plants in their part of the world with great success.
In addition to supplying vast amounts of water for California, the California authorities could enhance the state’s financial coffers by building pipelines and selling water to land-locked Nevada and Arizona.
A water shortage means that the price of water is too low. They should raise the price by one penny per gallon. That would encourage conservation, and they could even use that extra revenue to build a desalinaiton plant.
It only makes sense if you are flush with energy (Arabs likely used natural gas they would have otherwise flared off to power theirs).
Just like health care and welfare; serfs pay for these programs and then face restrictions in their personal lives because of them. How many times can Lucy pull the football away before someone gets it?
One has been built in the Tampa Bay FLa area. The lefties and greenies protested it because it extracts fresh water from sea water. But the sea water put back in the sea has higher salinity so they say that's bad for the environment.
water is half a penny per gallon last I heard.
they just raised it 5% in Burbank.
Repeat after me: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A WATER “SHORTAGE” NEXT TO THE PACIFIC OCEAN! There is only a shortage in the willingness of *government* water utilities to spend the necessary money to desalinate sea water.
It is just foolish for anyone to accept the basic premise the advocates of a “water shortage” want the public to accept.
At the very least, we can buy pallet loads of water from Fiji (see: http://www.fijiwater.com/) and have it sent in via FedEx. This is certainly the absurd example, but anyone can have all the “Natural Artesian Water” they want, if they were willing to foot the bill. Indeed, I can buy a liter of Fiji Water at my local convenience store and FedEx will ship it just about anywhere in the world overnight for less than $75. This being true, there is no “shortage” of water, only a shortage of water at a price that some people want to pay.
Many nations are using seawater desalination to provide fresh water and at a cost that compares well to existing fresh water treatment methods.
Well, the people in the hills are the ones that overturned the Toilet to Tap program 10 years ago. They can be the ones whose water gets turned off.
(Reclaimed water being put into Hansen Dam, then filtered down to the aquifier)
California is going down into the dumper. The wealthy are leaving and their places are being taken by illegals and third worlders. Los Angeles, defined by the Census Bureau as Los Angeles and Orange Counties, had a domestic outflow of 6% of 2000 population in six years--balanced by an immigrant inflow of 6%. The economic divide in Los Angeles is starting to look like the economic divide in Mexico City and São Paulo.
Coastal Megalopolitan states--New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois--are projected to lose five House seats in the 2010 Census, while California, which has gained seats in every census since it was admitted to the Union in 1850, is projected to pick up none.
Delta water issue needs real solution
BY BILL ROBINSON and RALPH E. SHAFFER
LA Daily News
Article Last Updated:09/05/2007 11:30:44 PM PDT
IGNORING environmental-protection laws has become a standard response from developers and government agencies who prefer profits and an increased tax base to preservation of an endangered species.
But this time, a federal judge in Fresno refused to roll over. As a result, California faces a Katrina-like calamity of our own making.
U.S. District Judge Oliver Wanger last week ordered a major decrease - perhaps as much as one-third - in the amount of water pumped out of the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta. His ruling came in a suit involving the near-extinction of the delta smelt, whose sole habitat is the delta.
Wanger’s decision threatens California’s economy. If the ruling stands, the state project that delivers water to 25 million Californians will be significantly crippled in the near future. But the judge had no option in light of the law and the failure of government agencies to properly respond.
A flawed biological report presented earlier this year to Wanger by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Department of Fish and Game might have caused this draconian ruling. In rejecting that report, Wanger characterized it as “arbitrary, capricious and contrary to law,” and ordered the agencies back to the drawing boards. Their tardy report, which made necessary the judge’s ruling, should have been finished as much as a year ago.
Another overdue review, from the state Department of Water Resources, is the critical Delta Risk Management Study. The department claims it is finished, but insiders hint that the Governor’s Office embargoed the report for political reasons.
Nor is the Legislature above reproach in the matter of delta water delivery and environmental protection. Legislators have deliberately delayed action on bills vital to the delta’s future.
Such legislative, administrative and gubernatorial complacency must end. Incentives for fixing the state’s plumbing should not come from court rulings. Judges, experts in interpretation of the law, are poorly equipped to analyze complex scientific questions or to substitute their judgment for the timely work product of citizen advisory committees composed of experts in the field.
Wanger’s decision should be appealed. Unfortunately, new evidence is rarely accepted by higher courts. A more desirable choice would be to remand back to the trial level for a more thorough rehearing. Our water supply and economy must be protected from this legal morass.
State pumps may not be the real culprits in the decline of the delta smelt. Other, more significant triggers for the decline could be water chemical toxicity and endocrine disruption. Poor water quality has been proven to actually change the sex of fish in many parts of the world.
Other explanations exist for the smelt’s near disappearance. Invasive foreign species and plants threaten native flora and fauna. Open-water species, such as the smelt, may be in decline because they are no longer robust enough to survive in their natural competitive environment.
Additionally, the avalanche of recent, locally controlled land-use rezoning has severely impacted delta species. Irresponsible development and the general trend toward urbanization of the delta have so compromised the smelt habitat that the future viability of the species is in doubt. Extinction may be inevitable.
Land-use control, the province of city councils and towns, was ignored by the court. Concerned citizens of all stripes must force bureaucrats to do their work in a more timely fashion.
R. William Robinson is director of the Upper San Gabriel Valley Water District. Ralph E. Shaffer is a Cal Poly Pomona professor emeritus.
Insane, isn’t it?
Here we go again. Sheesh!
Where are we in the cycles? At least in California.
Never fails the news media is full of CONSERVATION of water articles just prior to the cycle of drought ending and the deluge beginning.
I’m scrambling to get the landscape replaced after Gophers and frost last year killed much of it off, and caused my leach beds to overflow. It’s either ‘08, or ‘09 the rains will hit like forty days and forty nights again, and then all will be mum with the MSM. It always works that way.
There was a report on FR of manta rays off the Coast, indicating the arrival of El Nino.
If passed, the Clean Water Restoration Act of 2007 would threaten the property of an unknown number of people who own land where any "waters of the United States" may flow. Congress should oppose any bill that could place privately-owned property in the jurisdiction of the federal government.
The last sentence isn't in the article, it was in an email to me.
The article is HERE
This article can be found on other sites as well. Some FReepers don't care for JBS.
Californians — Remember this — When a call is made to use less water, they always base it upon the previous year’s usage. So if you want to have the right amount of water next year, use extra water now.
Well, California is a major oil producing state and imports large quantities of natural gas from Western Canada.
Of course, the greenies would have a cow if anyone wanted to drill for more oil in California (or off the coast).
Heaven forbid....America using her natural resources.
In Maine, we have two large plants that generate electricity by burning household trash....maybe California should phase out those landfills too while they’re at it.
“There was a report on FR of manta rays off the Coast, indicating the arrival of El Nino.”
Yes there was wasn’t there. I’d say that is pretty accurate too. El Nino is a phenomenon dating back many years ago named as such I understand by Peruvian Fishermen whom observed the cycles of what they dubbed “El Nino”. It effected their fishing dramatically, thus they couldn’t help but notice and discuss it.
In the book “Two Years Before The Mast” I understand there is a fleeting reference to a description of what is known as “El Nino”.
It’s nothing new or recent except to the News Media.
“””ive lived in socal for over 20 years.
ive never seen any water conservation. people waste water here.”””
To minimize the impacts caused by the shortfalls in imported surface water supplies, most agencies in the region established and implemented rationing programs during the 1987-92 drought to bring demand in line with supplies. Customer rationing allotments were determined by the customer’s use prior to the drought. Rationing levels, or reductions, ranged from 15 to 50 percent.
Programs implemented by the cities of San Diego and Los Angeles are typical of the efforts agencies throughout the region made to combat recent drought-induced shortages. The City of San Diego implemented a 20-percent rationing program for its customers during 1991; a 10-percent program had been in place since 1988. Other programs and activities by San Diego included establishing customer rebates for the installation of ultra-low-flush toilets, distributing free showerheads, providing turf and home audit service, expanding the existing public information program (with a 24-hour hotline), establishing a field crew to handle waste-of-water complaints, constructing a xeriscape demonstration garden, and retrofitting city water facilities. Landscape designs for new private and public construction are regulated for water conservation by a 1986 city ordinance. San Diego also has ordinances that permit enacting water conservation measures and programs during critical water supply situations and that require all residential dwellings to be retrofitted prior to resale.
The City of Los Angeles has had a rationing program in place since 1986. The program was mandatory for all its customers until early in 1992, when it was revised to voluntary status. The program originally called for a 10-percent reduction; however, it was amended to 15 percent during 1992 when the State’s water supply situation worsened. Programs established by Los Angeles are similar to those described for San Diego. Los Angeles also established a “drought buster” field program with staff patrolling neighborhoods looking for water wasters. Table SC-3 shows the region’s water supplies with existing facilities and programs.
Aren’t there (or were there) court cases limiting the amount of water Nevada and Arizona can extract from the Colorado River?
The way Las Vegas has been booming, sooner or later they’re going to have to look elsewhere for additional sources of water, or dramatically change their current ways of doing things there in the Silver State.
Again, California has tons of energy, they’re just lacking the political will to extract it (because the democrats run the show, and they’re beholden to the extreme environmentalists and the anti-business types).
If Schwarzenegger weren’t an enviro whack job himself, he could request a God Squad exemption to keep the water flowing. Government created the “crisis” with the stroke of a pen, and government can solve the “crisis” with the stroke of a pen.
Actually, I can think of a conservation effort in LA that has stuck. You can’t get a glass of water when you go to a restaurant! But I still think it has more to do with pushing other drinks on people. I remember that was instituted during the last drought, and is accepted practice now.
“”You cant get a glass of water when you go to a restaurant! But I still think it has more to do with pushing other drinks on people. I remember that was instituted during the last drought, and is accepted practice now.””
I agree with you, the explosion of bottled water use and aggressive sales by wait staff of drinks grew a lot during that same period, and the restaurants never looked back.
Jeffrey Steingarten, in his book ‘The Man Who Ate Everything’, has a chapter describing what he learned at the 7 week waiter course at the New York Professional Service School.
Anyone that eats out a lot should read that chapter, especially the very well heeled that eat at exclusive restaurants, the staff are professional sales people and it isn’t all about the food.
Yeah,here in Mid-Tn it looks like a desert.The
Southeast has really suffered this summer for sure.
People kinda take water for granted till there
ain`t none.Lots of towns around here are water
There is a Colorado River Compact, going back to 1922, that specifies who gets what water out of the Colorado River. It has been amended (a bit) over the years, but it is still the seven-state agreement that holds who gets what.
You’re right. Californians give only lip service to “water conservation.” Any Californian pol that tells you they’re going to institute a water conservation program is full of crap, because they never go after the 800 gorilla in the room of water policy: lawns.
Californians: here’s an example of a serious water conservation program: In Las Vegas, they will pay you $1.00 per square foot of watered lawn to rip it out and replace it with... whatever else that doesn’t require water. $1.00 per square foot comes to $43,560.00 per acre.
In Southern California (and other low desert environments), you probably need at least five feet of water to keep a lawn green every year. Take the square area of your lawn, stack up water five feet deep, and that’s a good estimate of how much water you’re putting on your lawn every year. In areas like Palm Springs or San Diego, where your lawn doesn’t go dormant at any time during the year, it is probably closer to eight feet deep.
As long as there is a single lawn on any piece of property (much less the large expanses of grass by the highways and outside public buildings that they water), California is not serious about conserving water. All the stupid little stunts about low-flow toilets, not serving water unless you ask, blah, blah, blah — they’re stupid little PR stunts, not real conservation measures.
The only thing that will really make a difference is to stop watering lawn grass. Period, end of discussion, thanks for playing with policy.
This has been brought to you by a farmer in the high desert who pays thousands of dollars a month in water pumping bills to water a crop, so I know a thing or two about water conservation on my own dime.
Does it strike anyone else that the same people who think there aren’t enough delta smelt are sure there are too many people? I wonder if a delta smelt would be better for lunch tomorrow than a paddy melt.
Wonder how much they could save if they emptied out all the private pools?
i lived in san diego during that period and remember those low flush toilets, for example, that have questionable results.
homeowners water during the wrong times of the day, everyday, in comparison to denver that i mentioned above.
along the coast where the humidity is high, compared to inland california and colorado, there should be less watering.
along the coast systems should be designed to take the humidity into account and recent rainfall. i’ve seen businesses and apartment buildings waste water. after a rainfall the apartment sprinklers come on.
where i live water runs down the streets all the time.
cars have to be washed every day or every few days, which is ridiculous.
there’s no “water consciousness” in socal that you see in denver.
Our population has just about doubled thanks to LEGAL immigration since 1965.
We’d have twice as much water now were it not for LEGAL immigration.
Now we have to share.
What will we be sharing next?
i too grew up on a farm, so i notice this.
i live in the coachella valley now.
speaking of LAWNS! in the low desert. a majority of the valley is given to golf courses. look at a map of our valley.
the result is a higher humidity, and now
yes, mosquitos in the desert! it’s unbelievable.
the coachella valley mosquito and vector control
cannot control the mosquitoes.
and, los angeles and san diego and the state of california forcibly took that water from the imperial valley farmers.