Tag Archives: drought

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.

California is the Canary

We examined the western U.S. drought in an essay published July 1, 2014: Jeopardy Question: This Body of Water Determines the Fate of the Modern Day Anasazi. In it we focused on the situation of Lake Mead, the reservoir is a vital source of drinking and irrigation water for Las Vegas and eastern California. The reservoir is also important for power generation since it forms the forebay of the Hoover Dam generating station.

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.

Circling the Wagons

We have have made a conscious decision to circle the wagons. We see a high probability of

  1. a stock market correction of 30-50% if not an outright crash;
  2. a recession that will rival or surpass the 2007 recession which some argue has never ended;
  3. a world war with the US and western nations on one side and Russia and China on the other side either individually but more likely together, and Canada will do whatever the US wants in this situation;
  4. social revolution in many of the states currently in crisis including France, Spain, Italy, Eastern European countries, Latin American countries and Southeast Asia countries; North Korea will attack South Korea even if a larger Pacific conflict doesn’t erupt;
  5. there will be widespread social discord in countries that don’t experience revolution and the US in particular will use unprecedented suppression of its population, possibly ending the republic;
  6. the Sunni/Shiite divide will come to the brink of nuclear war as Iran builds the bomb and Saudi Arabia repatriates the nuclear weapons that it has paid Pakistan to develop for it;
  7. a global financial crisis of a size never seen before including multiple currency collapses and sovereign defaults;
  8. central banks and governments will be largely powerless to stop an economic collapse because they’ve spent all their ammunition already;
  9. and watch the drought in California produce massive food price inflation if the rains don’t come this year.

Some of these conditions are already underway in countries like Argentina, France, Greece, Spain, Ukraine, Venezuela, and most of the Mideast. We expect a major global event from this list to occur this year and certainly by next year. Since we are globally connected as never before, one event will trigger a cascade through others.

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.

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