Tag Archives: California

Water in the US West

Back in 2014 and 2015 I wrote a series of articles on the drought conditions in California and Nevada (read: Jeopardy Question: This Body of Water Determines the Fate of the Modern Day Anasazi, Another Dry Essay, and Eat your Broccoli Now).

When I wrote the first article above, I looked at water requirements and usage for Las Vegas in detail. I also looked at Lake Mead both historically and the current levels at that time. I noted of the level “The latter is only 0.58 feet above the record low of 1081.94 feet set in Nov. 2010 (see complete data set).

I knew that California had received substantial rainfall over the last couple of years and stopped following the situation. I was surprised today, therefore, to read: Leaking Las Vegas: West’s Biggest Reservoir Nears Critical Threshold.

 reviewed the lake levels (LAKE MEAD AT HOOVER DAM, ELEVATION (FEET)) since 2010 and found that the lowest point was June 2016 at 1071.64 feet. This is lower than the drought period back in 2014.

Bits and Pieces – 20161112, Saturday

What We’re Reading Today

Commentary: The backlash against Trump’s victory I find surprising because of the violence involved. The celebrity reaction was to be expected as people like Miley Cyrus aren’t known for their deep intellect. (Please don’t move to Canada – any of you!). The MSM has been visibly delusional throughout the campaign and as such would not be expected to change but to search for some way to rationalize their losing positions.

The total absorption of the liberal intelligentsia in their own wants and ideologies, while nothing new, is surprising because it has been expressed so vehemently, extensively and openly. From conversations with a couple of anti-Trump acquaintances I came to realize that these people are completely of a closed mind, governed by the belief that they are open-minded and in no need of examining their positions.

In short, the polarization exposed by the election will not be reduced in Trump’s time. Indeed, activists and organizers on the left, including the Clintons, will work to deepen it.

Water Wars

Of this theme, long predicted, but now emergent, we will start to cover. Currently, the issue is developing in California where water rights have a long history of legal assignment. Zero Hedge posted an article giving some background on the nature and history of water rights in In Unprecedented Move, California Farmers With Guaranteed Rights Cut Water Use By 25%.

Chronology of references and events:

The Perfect Storm

The Brookings Institute continued their series on Metropolitan America with the article Population surging in drought-stricken areas. Their observation is that the areas of greatest population growth are coincident with the areas of extreme drought. We reproduce their two maps below.

We have been following the drought aspect for over a year for California (read California is the Canary and the links within it) and Nevada (read Jeopardy Question: This Body of Water Determines the Fate of the Modern Day Anasazi).

Eat your Broccoli Now

In Another Dry Essay we discussed the drought in California with a chronology of links to related articles through October 2014. We followed up in December with The U.S. South-West Drought Revisited.

Recently we checked the drought monitor and although the drought severity has dropped from most severe or D4 in the north and south it remains most severe for the central region of the state as seen in Figure 1. The table in the monitor with the corresponding data shows that as of March 3, 2015, 39.92% of the state was in the D4 category. A year ago the figure was 22.37%, almost half.

The U.S. South-West Drought Revisited

We initially looked at the California drought in February of this year in our essay, Another Dry Essay. Since no one is currently writing about it we thought we would review the situation.

A Picture of the California Drought

Two themes that we identified early on as having the potential to affect the North American economy are the drought is the US Southwest and Pacific regions. Ebola we update via email since we have not bothered to write about it. It is progressing nicely with major economic dislocation in the West African countries most affected and a growing impact in the developed world. This is still in early stages.

The other story we are tracking is the drought in California (read Another Dry Essay). The following video clip by the New yorker provides a poignant glimpse into the lives of those on the front lines.

The US Drought Monitor for Oct. 16 shows no change from that shown in Another Dry Essay for Sept.

Update: 20150420

This essay attempts to document the human suffering associated with the California drought. An article today in Zero Hedge by Michael Snyder titled Another Reason To Move Away From California: “Conditions Are Like A Third-World Country”, touches on the impact of depleted groundwater supplies. Residents and farmers in the interior are having to drill down 1800′ for water. Many can’t afford this and will have to abandon their properties.

Update: 20150724

Pictures of depleted reservoirs: A Stunning Look At California’s Historic Drought – From The Air.

Another Dry Essay

Drought in the US is something we have been following for years. We have decided it’s time to capture the parameters of the subject. As with many articles we write, we use them for an ongoing chronology of a topic, something that could not have been easily done before the World Wide Web. The importance of this topic is that California feeds North America and California agriculture is based on irrigation. Anything that reduces agricultural output in California will send fresh produce prices skyrocketing. Food inflation then propagates through the economy as reduced expenditure everywhere else. This issue affects you directly.

Figure 1. Progression of the California drought, Jan. to May, 2014.

And the current situation:

Figure 2. Current California drought assessment (through Sept. 2014.)


Source: US Drought Monitor.

What follows is the chronology of articles with associated comment. We may at some point create a summary.

Ontario Is Not California

A comment comparing Ontario’s fiscal situation to California’s recently hit the news (e.g. Ont. compared to cash-strapped Calif.) It was meant as a warning to Ontarians. After some debate, we’ve decided to weigh in on the issue. The issue raised above centers on a comparison of California’s fiscal situation, among the worst of all the states in the US, to Ontario’s. As we shall see, California’s situation is significantly better than Ontario’s. To make the issue clear, we reverse this statement: Ontario’s situation is significantly worse than California’s. To find out why, read on.

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