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southwest drought


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I picked a good time to do business travel to Fremont this week and LA next week.  Haven't really needed my jacket.

 

Fremont? Please tell me you're visiting the Tesla plant.

 

That would be cool.  ;D

 

No, but I can see it from my room in the Marriott.

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  • 7 months later...

10% of California's water goes to watering almond orchards.  California supplies 80% of the world's almonds.

 

15% of California's water goes to growing alfalfa. 

 

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2014/05/_10_percent_of_california_s_water_goes_to_almond_farming.html

 

I'm not going to bother saving water in my house anymore.  This is pointless and stupid.  We have an endless supply of water within a stone's throw of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego.  Time for some desalinators and let the water shortage be the world's problem (no more almonds on your shelves, and grow your own hay).

 

Either cut me in to the almond grower's profits, or count me out for conserving their water for them.

 

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10% of California's water goes to watering almond orchards.  California supplies 80% of the world's almonds.

 

15% of California's water goes to growing alfalfa. 

 

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2014/05/_10_percent_of_california_s_water_goes_to_almond_farming.html

 

I'm not going to bother saving water in my house anymore.  This is pointless and stupid.  We have an endless supply of water within a stone's throw of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego.  Time for some desalinators and let the water shortage be the world's problem (no more almonds on your shelves, and grow your own hay).

 

Either cut me in to the almond grower's profits, or count me out for conserving their water for them.

 

 

Hey, I like almonds, get rid of the alfalfa instead.  Maybe someone will crack fusion in the next decade and can build a bunch of desalination plants over there.

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10% of California's water goes to watering almond orchards.  California supplies 80% of the world's almonds.

 

15% of California's water goes to growing alfalfa. 

 

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2014/05/_10_percent_of_california_s_water_goes_to_almond_farming.html

 

I'm not going to bother saving water in my house anymore.  This is pointless and stupid.  We have an endless supply of water within a stone's throw of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego.  Time for some desalinators and let the water shortage be the world's problem (no more almonds on your shelves, and grow your own hay).

 

Either cut me in to the almond grower's profits, or count me out for conserving their water for them.

 

 

Hey, I like almonds, get rid of the alfalfa instead.  Maybe someone will crack fusion in the next decade and can build a bunch of desalination plants over there.

 

 

I was thinking about a value-added-tax on agricultural products that gets steeper for high-water-usage crops, and goes to zero for low-water-usage crops.  They can then take those tax revenues to pay for the expensive desalinators and their energy costs.

 

This way the farmers can stop externalizing the cost of their water usage to me (my dying landscaping), meanwhile pocketing all of their profits for themselves.  I think it's fair that they cover the external costs of their water use.

 

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10% of California's water goes to watering almond orchards.  California supplies 80% of the world's almonds.

 

15% of California's water goes to growing alfalfa. 

 

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2014/05/_10_percent_of_california_s_water_goes_to_almond_farming.html

 

I'm not going to bother saving water in my house anymore.  This is pointless and stupid.  We have an endless supply of water within a stone's throw of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego.  Time for some desalinators and let the water shortage be the world's problem (no more almonds on your shelves, and grow your own hay).

 

Either cut me in to the almond grower's profits, or count me out for conserving their water for them.

 

What proportion of agricultural use comes back as rain from evaporation as compared to home use? These numbers are probably extremely misleading.  My guess is more of the home use goes down the drain and out to sea compared to agriculture where most probably falls as rain to the east. Scarcity is also likely a myth. I visited Portland and wondering why part of the Columbia flow is not used for California considering the claims made at the tourist sites that 10% of the flow of the Columbia is as much water as all the world's 14,600 or so desalination plants. So the problem seems to be lack of pricing so it is not economic to transport water from places where there is abundance.

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10% of California's water goes to watering almond orchards.  California supplies 80% of the world's almonds.

 

15% of California's water goes to growing alfalfa. 

 

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2014/05/_10_percent_of_california_s_water_goes_to_almond_farming.html

 

I'm not going to bother saving water in my house anymore.  This is pointless and stupid.  We have an endless supply of water within a stone's throw of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego.  Time for some desalinators and let the water shortage be the world's problem (no more almonds on your shelves, and grow your own hay).

 

Either cut me in to the almond grower's profits, or count me out for conserving their water for them.

 

What proportion of agricultural use comes back as rain from evaporation as compared to home use? These numbers are probably extremely misleading.  My guess is more of the home use goes down the drain and out to sea compared to agriculture where most probably falls as rain to the east. Scarcity is also likely a myth. I visited Portland and wondering why part of the Columbia flow is not used for California considering the claims made at the tourist sites that 10% of the flow of the Columbia is as much water as all the world's 14,600 or so desalination plants. So the problem seems to be lack of pricing so it is not economic to transport water from places where there is abundance.

 

The only thing East of California's "central valley" is the Sierra Nevada.  Not much rain happening there!  So no, it is not coming back as rainfall.  Well... unless you roundtrip it all the way around the world  (everything is East).

 

We get our rains when moist air moves in from the Pacific Ocean.  Last few years, that hasn't happened.  Occasionally in summer we'll get some rain coming in from Mexico -- summer monsoonal rains, but that's very rare in California and it's once again coming from moist Pacific Ocean air currents.

 

Back to the evaporation thing though... we have a huge ocean full of water off our coastline, it is evaporating, but regardless it's not falling on us as rain.  I doubt adding the evaporation from the almond orchards to the picture is going to make a huge difference.  Look at the total surface area of the Pacific Ocean, then look at the Central Valley of California.

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This is crazy!

 

California has suffered the loss of 63 trillion gallons (or 240 gigatons) of water in the past 18 months, which has resulted in the ground literally rising by an average of .15 inches since last year.

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-California/2014/08/28/After-Losing-63-Trillion-Gallons-of-Water-California-Is-Experiencing-Shift-in-Mountains-Rising-Lands

 

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Scientific question: How do you measure the ground rising 0.15 inches or 4 mm?

 

The western United States has been experiencing severe drought since 2013. The solid earth response to the accompanying loss of surface and near-surface water mass should be a broad region of uplift. We use seasonally-adjusted time series from continuously operating GPS stations to measure this uplift, which we invert to estimate mass loss. The median uplift is 4 mm, with values up to 15 mm in California’s mountains. The associated pattern of mass loss, which ranges up to 50 cm of water equivalent, is consistent with observed decreases in precipitation and streamflow. We estimate the total deficit to be about 240 Gt, equivalent to a 10 cm layer of water over the entire region, or the annual mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet.
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I "conserve" water to save money, not because of the drought.

People wastes way too much water from just the people I have observed.

 

We've cut back 40%, but our bill is almost unchanged.  They still need the revenue, so they raised the unit price of the water.  The majority of the rest of the bill is made up of fixed costs to pay off their bonds.  They need to get their money one way or another -- we can't all save money by using less, because they have all this debt incurred to hook up to the aquaduct, as well as general fixed maintenance costs (replace old pipes, etc...).

 

Water is free (it falls from the sky).  Impounding the water and getting it to my house is what costs money.  It generally costs the public water utility district the same whether I use a lot or a little.

 

They could implement a cap and trade program to encourage water conservation.  People who want more water can buy it from people willing to cut back -- the water utility company can earn a spread on that as market maker, and can pass along the savings to people who cut back instead of making it all up through higher water rates.  Let's say you do with with a tiered rate structure -- people selling part of their ration might be able to zero out their water bill, with people who need more water above their ration paying a heavy toll for the excess.

 

People are so wealthy around here that when they brought in rationing, people went "off grid" on them and sunk private wells. There are 500 outstanding permits for wells right now.  That leaves less revenue for the water district.  These people are stupid, they just keep shooting themselves with this policy -- it's slowly strangling their cash flow as each customer abandons them.

 

Others are just buying the water from private water companies -- a 5,000 gallon tanker comes to their house and tops up a cistern.  That is what they use to irrigate their landscaping.

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Where I live, there are no water meters for residential customers. Everybody pays the same, so basically those who save are subsidizing those who waste. It's a terrible system.

 

But I still conserve water as much as possible because I find waste inelegant, and I get some psychological benefits from conserving.

 

But most people aren't like that, so I really hope we'll get water meters soon... Even if there's plenty of fresh water around here, running treatment plants is still expensive, and the more efficiently you use water, the longer you can go between building expensive new treatment plants.

 

I really wish gray water systems and small-scale rainwater collection were more widespread. It's crazy to flush your toilet and water your lawn with potable water treated to the same standard as the water you drink...

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greywater

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I really wish gray water systems and small-scale rainwater collection were more widespread. It's crazy to flush your toilet and water your lawn with potable water treated to the same standard as the water you drink...

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greywater

 

I agree but they are treating the water anyhow before it goes to the ocean.  Putting treated water into the ocean?  WTF!  It's treated... so... why... dump it into the ocean!  Nuts.

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It is 84 at my house right now (Montecito, CA).  This is ridiculous beach weather  :D :D :D

 

Investing in farmland and ski resorts must be difficult.

 

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304244904579278321514522650?KEYWORDS=california+drought

 

I don't get what you are saying and I cannot read that article (I dont want to sign up or anything).

 

Is it hot? or cool?

 

BTW I am in california.....

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10% of California's water goes to watering almond orchards.  California supplies 80% of the world's almonds.

 

15% of California's water goes to growing alfalfa. 

 

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2014/05/_10_percent_of_california_s_water_goes_to_almond_farming.html

 

I'm not going to bother saving water in my house anymore.  This is pointless and stupid.  We have an endless supply of water within a stone's throw of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego.  Time for some desalinators and let the water shortage be the world's problem (no more almonds on your shelves, and grow your own hay).

 

Either cut me in to the almond grower's profits, or count me out for conserving their water for them.

 

You’re right in that it’s just a matter of money.  I was recently comparing notes with some friends from CA (LA in particular), and I was absolutely floored with how cheap the water was.  That’s the first problem.

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I'm reading this thread with fascination.  I can't imagine trying to conserve water or even paying for it.  I've got an artesian well on my property that gives me all the water I could ever need.  And it tastes better than even bottled water, never mind the chlorine/fluoride contaminated water you would get from a municipal water system.  I know the weather can be good in CA, but with the taxes, traffic, air pollution, water problems, earthquakes, house prices .... is the weather all that important?  Why do you live there?

 

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