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The Winter Of His Disbelief - A discussion about Sierra Snow Pack - Page 2

post #31 of 47

Some of the almond hate is misguided, btw.  http://gizmodo.com/seriously-stop-demonizing-almonds-1696065939

post #32 of 47

Good article right there to put things into perspective.

post #33 of 47
post #34 of 47

Seems like Tahoe is much the same story as the 4 corners- this is from dendrochronology- tree ring dating.

 

What I found really surprising and troubling from looking at rainfall long term...

 

1. A fifty year drought starting around 1130 collapsed one of the most advanced pre-Columbian civilizations in the US- the Chaco Culture.

2. A 24 year drought collapsed the civilization of the subsequent Mesa Verde culture near the end of the 1200's. The area was thought have become largely uninhabited by 1300, even thought at its peak, more people lived in the 4 corners than live there NOW.

3. Those two civilization-destroying droughts DON'T EVEN RATE on the long term scale and scarcely even register compared to the 200 year droughts that took place from 300-500 or 1400-1600.

 

Clearly, the period during all of our lifetimes consisted of well above average precipitation.

 

So... While we don't know what the future will bring, barring other factors (climate change being one), it seems more likely to suspect less precipitation than we are used to rather than more.

 

...but climate change is the wildcard, and I am tired of hearing universal blanket predictions of less precip. due to climate change- warming temps mean more evaporation and also means clouds carry more water, which can easily lead to more precipitation for many locales and regions- but I don't think anybody has any type of even general idea of what specific regions will see what.

post #35 of 47

If all goes wrong they will resurrect the plan to pipe water from Alaska and/or start on the Delta tunnles. Meanwhile, we have three years breathing room.

 

Yeah, almonds suck up water. Cows are bad, too. They live on a diet that has to be watered.

 

WIRED cranked out six articles in the past month about the drought (see below). Here are five of them:

http://www.wired.com/2015/03/californias-run-water-act-now/

http://www.wired.com/2015/04/heres-much-water-california-needs-save-year/

http://www.wired.com/2015/04/california-spend-4-billion-gallons-water-fish/

http://www.wired.com/2015/04/wireds-guide-produce-wont-make-drought-worse/

http://www.wired.com/2015/04/drought-isnt-californias-water-problem/

post #36 of 47
Pipelines of water won't fix the problem or even delay it.
post #37 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post
 

Great editorial in the WSJ.

 

http://www.wsj.com/articles/californias-water-woes-are-priceless-1429051903

 

Mike

Unfortunately an Appeals Court just determined that tiered pricing for water--charging a smaller amount for the first quantity of water used, a higher amount for the next, etc--is against the California Constitution. Since it costs no more to send the last gallon as the first, tiered pricing was ruled to be unrelated to the cost of delivery and therefore a tax, which water districts cannot impose without a 2/3? vote of the people. Or something like that. Since water is necessary for human life and health, drastically raising the price of all water is an unfair burden on the poor, while the wealthy will continue to be able to afford all the water they want. (And if the districts were to drastically raise the cost of all water, no doubt the same judge would rule that that also is an illegal tax, since the price of the water would exceed the cost to the district of obtaining, storing, and delivering it.) The state is trying to level the playing field by requiring bigger cutbacks to those districts that have the highest per capita use, but that is on a district by district basis, and without the option of imposing draconian surcharges on the highest users the districts have no effective means to curtail usage by the biggest users. And of course all of this is because of the various anti-tax propositions the voters of the state pass from time to time without any real idea of the long term consequences and without the ability to expeditiously fix or repeal bad propositions. Time and time again the voters have decided that they can have their cake and eat it too--demanding increasing services and decreasing revenues at the same time--now the chickens, who also use a lot of water, are coming home to roost.

post #38 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayT View Post
 

Some of the almond hate is misguided, btw.  http://gizmodo.com/seriously-stop-demonizing-almonds-1696065939

 

 

While I agree that the whole anti-Ag thing, especially almonds, is dangerously misguided, there are disadvantages to orchard production in general relative to our apparently decreasingly stable environment. Annual crops can be changed from year to year, and even left fallow if necessary - orchards are locked in for the life of the trees.  The argument by orchard growers that they should have higher priority for water because they chose to invest in a crop with a 20+ year cycle instead of an annual one is a little hard to swallow, especially when a disturbing amount of new tree acreage has been planted just in the last 3 years (personal observation on the I-80 corridor between Vacaville and Sacramento, plus 113 North and numerous county roads in the general vicinity). 

post #39 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post
 

Unfortunately an Appeals Court just determined that tiered pricing for water--charging a smaller amount for the first quantity of water used, a higher amount for the next, etc--is against the California Constitution.  .......

 

 

This has the potential to be disastrous - I can't believe how short-sighted some people can be. Can the water hogs just be straight up cited/fined, with the fines going somewhere else besides the water supply infrastructure? I suspect that those break-even costs of supply do not factor in appropriate upgrades to increase efficiency such as recycling, etc.  What a mess - I'm not real optimistic, I must admit.

post #40 of 47

That judgment is really disappointing. Tiered pricing makes sense and could be used to reduce water usage in a fairly rational way. Those forces water districts to ration water with hard limits. I have to assume the fines don't count as tiered pricing and are allowed. 

 

The problem is going to be figuring out what the right amount of water per person or per household is going to be given different financial access to efficient appliances, etc

post #41 of 47

With regard to skiers, the current drought is the worst in the history of the California ski industry.   The past 2 years are about the same as 1975-76 and 1976-77, but of course the two years before 2013-14 were quite dry also.  The cumulative snow deficit of the past 4 years now exceeds the snow deficit of the 6 years 1986-87 through 1991-92.

 

By these records

the snow deficit of the past 4 years is about 3/4 of that between 1924 and 1931.  The overall California drought of that time period is less clearly defined.  Some references (and the San Francisco rain stats) show it lasting through 1934.   The acuity of the current drought is worse though it hasn't lasted as long.

 

I have to believe that Tahoe's "snow equity" is now damaged in terms of some out-of-state visitors considering far advance booked vacations.  It may even be damaged a bit for prospective season pass buyers.

 

As most of you know, my view is that there is no long term trend in Sierra precipitation, but that it has always been the most volatile of North American ski regions.  I use the word "precipitation" now because I'm only confident in using the word "snowfall" above something like 7,500 feet.  I hope to get some more rain vs. snow info from Donner Summit.  The data I have for 30 years or so is too volatile to discern any trend.


Edited by Tony Crocker - 4/21/15 at 4:53pm
post #42 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post
 

Trekchick--they just turned off Boca. And Tahoe has been off for months of course. Donner Lake is normally not drained until September but I'm sure they will be lowering it sooner to supply Reno, assuming it even fills--it's about halfway up from its winter low and by the looks of things might not fill completely this year but I could be wrong about that. The upside for us is that it's nice to have a (rocky) beach in the summer instead of water right up to the road bank, although the motor boat owners won't be happy with the water ten feet below the docks. 

That is why we started to "self restrict" our water usage a long time ago.   We used to take trips down the river but never made it on the Truckee last year at all and probably won't be floating it this year either. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunnerbob View Post
 

Watering restrictions in Ontario are fairly common.  And considering we have 3 Great Lakes and literally thousands of additional smaller lakes, I'm shocked that restrictions aren't in effect in certain Western areas which don't have the abundance of water that we do.

 

Sorry, but that seems a bit.......foolish........to me.

I agree.  Keeping in mind that I came from Michigan (The Great Lake State :D) and never saw a reason to worry about it, we still made wise choices about water usage.  

post #43 of 47
post #44 of 47

Leave it to a Canadian to figure out that one LOL

post #45 of 47

Speaking on behalf of the locals in these parts, Kirk had better watch out 'cause if he tries to touch our water he'll think he attacked the Klingon empire!

post #46 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post
 

Trekchick--they just turned off Boca. And Tahoe has been off for months of course. Donner Lake is normally not drained until September but I'm sure they will be lowering it sooner to supply Reno, assuming it even fills--it's about halfway up from its winter low and by the looks of things might not fill completely this year but I could be wrong about that. The upside for us is that it's nice to have a (rocky) beach in the summer instead of water right up to the road bank, although the motor boat owners won't be happy with the water ten feet below the docks. 

That is why we started to "self restrict" our water usage a long time ago.   We used to take trips down the river but never made it on the Truckee last year at all and probably won't be floating it this year either. 

 

 

We were able to kayak the Truckee from TC to AM in the early part of the summer last year. I don't know if there was any season on the whitewater section below Boca. Ironically, some of the worst conditions for the TC to AM float are in big water years when runoff from the streams that feed the Truckee below Tahoe City is enough that they shut the gates at Tahoe, at least until later in the summer.

post #47 of 47

The Truckee water master is saying Donner Lake will not fill. In fact it is already going down as they are sending water into the downstream reservoirs. And it's at least 4 or 5 feet below full. At this rate the SUPers may have to switch to off-road skateboards.

 

"All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again." Ecclesiastes 1:7

 

(In other words, it will snow again some day, or at least rain.)

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