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Thread: Water shortage in southwestern U.S.

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    Default Water shortage in southwestern U.S.

    There is a water shortage in the southwestern United States. Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the U.S. is expected to reach a record low water level today. Power production from hydroelectric is down 25% and may have to be shut off completely at some point (latest estimates say August) at Lake Mead. California is trucking small salmon from hatcheries to the ocean because the water is too warm in the streams and rivers for them to survive. Lake Oroville is having houseboats removed from the water and stored on land in a parking lot (at the owner's expense) to prevent damage from the boats bottoming out in the lake. There is a dam removal project along the Klamath River planned (the largest in U.S. history) to protect the salmon at the expense of a major water supply for California and Oregon as well as power from hydroelectric. I've already heard of some areas having a three strikes policy for water wasting where they will shut your water off for the year. By all appearances, we are looking at the possibility of a major water shortage, a food shortage (plants and animals need water too), a horrible wildfire season, and rolling blackouts (little to no hydroelectric power). Might be time to pray for rain.

    Does anyone have plans for riding these problems out, other than moving? Seems we need to have a decent supply of water on hand and preferably a well also. We need a bugout vehicle stocked with water, food, and supplies in case of a fire evacuation. Have plenty of lights and batteries to ride out rolling blackouts. This is the type of event that could cause a mass migration of desperate people if the water and electricity stop flowing. Worst case scenario, you might have to have security shifts on your property to watch out for people trying to take what you have, or bug out and abandon your home.

    We can discuss our plans for this situation, current conditions in our area now, news updates, and what is being done about it. I know scary things happen when the SHTF, but please no discussions about hurting trespassers, looting to survive, or anything your pastor wouldn't want to hear coming out of your mouth. Let's keep this in the realm of likely possibilities, not freak out over nightmarish worst case scenarios.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Water shortage in southwestern U.S.

    I live on a man made lake in gergia usa . i saw it at a record low then a record high it was crwzy to see.
    LED's have gotten too bright in our stuff. Many nights I'm awakened by my modem lights blinking.had help with my sig thank you for your help.

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    Default Re: Water shortage in southwestern U.S.

    But the lawns look FABULOUS!!
    John 3:16

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Water shortage in southwestern U.S.

    This sounds really bad. Ultimately, if average rainfall doesn't start to increase, you may be looking at needing desalinization plants. As for planning, for starters people should stop watering their lawns, washing their cars, basically no longer use water for anything but drinking and personal hygiene.

    Wells aren't a long-term solution, either. In a few generations, perhaps even a few years, the wells will run dry when the water table is depleted. The US southwest may eventually face a mass migration of people elsewhere. I've said for a long time that California's problems stem mostly from too many people moving there over too short a time span. Ditto for a lot of the rest of the US south. It's not a great idea to settle in a place where you have to import water and you need A/C 6 to 9 months of the year.

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    *Flashaholic* Lynx_Arc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Water shortage in southwestern U.S.

    We had a record heat wave about 10 years ago for 2 years and water rationing and the lakes and stuff were all down big time but now we are having more rain and back to normal maybe even a little more than usual. Around here we need AC about 7 to 8 months a year but we have water everywhere lakes and stuff Oklahoma is number 2 in both water categories... 2nd to Minnesota in the number of lakes and second to Michigan in the amount of water. We have a river running through the city here that on rare occasions floods as the dam upstream gets too much water coming from the north to it. Likely the weather there will return to normal after awhile but as it has here it could take many years and by that time there likely will be a lot of problems. They should get a solar powered desalinization plant there for sure maybe several of them. What concerns me is agriculature if there is less water to grow food prices of many things could go up a lot and when prices of some food goes up people can switch to other foods and drive those prices up.
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    Default Re: Water shortage in southwestern U.S.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Arc View Post
    What concerns me is agriculature if there is less water to grow food prices of many things could go up a lot and when prices of some food goes up people can switch to other foods and drive those prices up.
    My concern as well. I could be flippant and say this doesn't affect me, I live in the NE, the reservoirs are at or near 100%. But in fact a water shortage anywhere we grow food is going to affect me in terms of higher food prices. Let's hope the weather returns to normal soon.

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    Default Water shortage in southwestern U.S.

    Itís time to treat water as essential. Globally, people in dry areas collect roof, mist and dew condensate in cisterns. Bermuda is a case in point. Every house, mall and office should collect roof water for toilet flushing and drinking treatment. I designed a 20,000 gallon system for a building in Goshen, NY that collects 30,000sf of roof water. Itís used for irrigation and toilets.

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    *Flashaholic* Poppy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Water shortage in southwestern U.S.

    I know very little on the subject, but I think for years they have been using more water than has been supplied by nature. They have been draining water from ancient aquifers and although they *may* get refilled with spring run-off from melting snow way up North, one of the problems is that as the aquifers drain, they sometimes collapse, which decreases their capacity to hold. Therefore part of the problem is they are decreasing their reserve capacity. At the same time, more people continue to move in, and consume more water.

    Pouring water onto desert sands to make for a green lawn, is wasteful, at the least. Also, those who moved to that area of the country to get away from some seasonal allergies, now found that people from the East Coast have brought the plants (grasses) that produce the allergens. That seems unfair!

    The air is so dry, swamp coolers (evaporative coolers) are effective there. I assume they are cheaper to run than typical AC. They however do consume water.
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    *Flashaholic* Poppy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Water shortage in southwestern U.S.

    Quote Originally Posted by wweiss View Post
    Itís time to treat water as essential. Globally, people in dry areas collect roof, mist and dew condensate in cisterns. Bermuda is a case in point. Every house, mall and office should collect roof water for toilet flushing and drinking treatment. I designed a 20,000 gallon system for a building in Goshen, NY that collects 30,000sf of roof water. Itís used for irrigation and toilets.
    Orange County New York gets an average of 47 inches a year.
    Bermuda gets an average of 55 inches a year.
    Southwest Arizona gets an average of 4 inches a year. Roof top collecting isn't going to help much there.
    Last edited by Poppy; 06-10-2021 at 03:13 PM.
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    *Flashaholic* idleprocess's Avatar
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    Default Re: Water shortage in southwestern U.S.

    Quote Originally Posted by Poppy View Post
    I know very little on the subject, but I think for years they have been using more water than has been supplied by nature. They have been draining water from ancient aquifers and although they *may* get refilled with spring run-off from melting snow way up North, one of the problems is that as the aquifers drain, they sometimes collapse, which decreases their capacity to hold. Therefore part of the problem is they are decreasing their reserve capacity. At the same time, more people continue to move in, and consume more water.
    The aquifers in Southern California were largely depleted a century ago. All water in southern California is effectively imported. The megaprojects that were completed in the 20th century to supply water to southern California are truly impressive affairs. The 4 major projects:
    Los Angeles Aqueduct
    Central Valley Project
    Colorado River Aqueduct
    California State Water Project

    The Colorado River in particular is contentious - CA has senior water rights on other states, but the formula for distribution is based on flows a ~century ago during an exceptionally wet period. Exciting times ahead - especially if the Central Arizona Project starts to come up short.
    Last edited by idleprocess; 06-10-2021 at 07:17 PM. Reason: proofreading
    I apologize that this letter is so long; I did not have time to write a short letter

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    Default Re: Water shortage in southwestern U.S.

    Drought migrations have occurred in this region before with the Anasazi Native Americans and the Dust Bowl refugees of the Great Depression. Thereís no reason to think that it wonít happen again. All the growth in the last fifty years is based upon cheap and plentiful gas and water. It looks like that is about to change. Just went to Tucson, and drove through Phoenix and Vegas. Doesnít look sustainable to me but Iím not a city planner or a real estate developer selling lots with pools and lawns.
    Last edited by ledbetter; 06-10-2021 at 05:32 PM.

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    Default Re: Water shortage in southwestern U.S.

    Quote Originally Posted by Poppy View Post
    Pouring water onto desert sands to make for a green lawn, is wasteful, at the least. Also, those who moved to that area of the country to get away from some seasonal allergies, now found that people from the East Coast have brought the plants (grasses) that produce the allergens. That seems unfair!
    Landscape designers should favor native plants. This also has the advantage of giving each region a unique style, instead of monotonous green lawns everywhere. If people in dry areas really have a big need to have something that resembles a lawn, go with astroturf.

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    Default Re: Water shortage in southwestern U.S.


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    Flashaholic* orbital's Avatar
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    Default Re: Water shortage in southwestern U.S.

    Quote Originally Posted by 5S8Zh5 View Post
    +

    I was going to mention that book yesterday====
    a girlfriend of mine gave me a copy in the 90's, unfortunately lost it in my many moves.


    _________________________________________________

    Southwest water problem lies within the people who are using it.
    Draw a large circle around the southwest,, ask how many hours a month the average person stands in the shower.

    That's just one usage, of many, per day.
    Last edited by orbital; 06-11-2021 at 07:20 AM. Reason: toned it down

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    Default Re: Water shortage in southwestern U.S.

    Quote Originally Posted by orbital View Post
    Southwest water problem lies within the people who are using it.
    Draw a large circle around the southwest,, ask how many hours a month the average person stands in the shower.
    While that is one metric that's very easily personalized, it's also not the most indicative. Irrigation is more indicative: how many acres of manicured lawn are maintained, or how many heads of lettuce are grown per capita in what is otherwise desert?
    I apologize that this letter is so long; I did not have time to write a short letter

  16. #16

    Default Re: Water shortage in southwestern U.S.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hooked on Fenix
    Does anyone have plans for riding these problems out, other than moving?
    Yeah. I classify the solutions into groups. Some things are "lifestyle" changes that could be done all the time. Others are things to have on hand and "ready for a disaster." And others are "luxury" projects that sound nice but there are better ways of going about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hooked on Fenix
    Seems we need to have a decent supply of water on hand and preferably a well also.
    I'd put a well into the "luxury" category. Wells in Arizona generally must be really deep. They aren't cheap. And the water table is getting lower with time. Not a good long term investment.

    The best thing is to reduce and reuse your water. Also consider getting a tank installed. You can have water trucked in but you need to have somewhere to put it. Obviously those trucks will get more expensive during a drought but there will be water available within trucking distance in a country like the US. (Less so for tiny islands.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Hooked on Fenix
    By all appearances, we are looking at the possibility of a major water shortage, a food shortage (plants and animals need water too)
    It would have to be really bad everywhere for there to be a food shortage. There will however be individual farmers who can't produce as much as usual. Prices on some things will go up. Taxes might be redirected to farmers to keep them afloat.

    I have a page on my site that tracks food prices and finds the best values. It is amazing how often the best value comes from the other side of the planet. Global transportation makes food shortages much less likely.

    Quote Originally Posted by Poppy
    Southwest Arizona gets an average of 4 inches a year. Roof top collecting isn't going to help much there.
    Sure it can! An oft-repeated figure is that you can be self sufficient with rooftop collection and 7" per year. But this is with a rather large roof and an extremely good water system that reuses water several times. There are a bunch of "Earthship" houses in Arizona that do this. Some information:



    They talk a lot about how water is generally used 4 times over. 1st for freshwater uses such as bathing. As graywater it is used a 2nd time by filtering through plants in a green house. Then it is used a 3rd time to flush toilets. That goes to a septic tank. The 4th use is for outdoor landscaping. The septic's leach field is lined with rubber and filled with trees.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hooked on Fenix
    We need a bugout vehicle stocked with water, food, and supplies in case of a fire evacuation.
    The risk of serious damage from fire can be slightly reduced by better landscaping. An underground fireproof bunker for the stuff that can't easily be moved is an expensive option. Even more important than food/water is to have copies of your critical documents. In a disaster any kind person could share food/water. But none of them will be able to tell you your bank routing numbers or insurance ID.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hooked on Fenix
    Have plenty of lights and batteries to ride out rolling blackouts.
    You're looking at this from a "ready for disaster" perspective instead of a "lifestyle" perspective. Shift over to using solar and batteries for some appliances. It is pretty easy to power small parts of your home for relatively little money. And the system can be used all year for some savings too. A system that could keep your laptops/phones/TV/lights running entirely from solar might only be $500 to put together. Maybe another $500 for a refrigerator. Some cooking (such as crock pots) is pretty easy to convert to solar but generally this is where it starts getting expensive. HVAC requires a whole-house system but a few fans are easy.

    Quote Originally Posted by jtr1962
    It's not a great idea to settle in a place where you have to import water and you need A/C 6 to 9 months of the year.
    But those places are where all of the best solar power is. And solar power tends to track with A/C demand. It is kind of convenient. Better than trying to heat a northern house in the winter when there is hardly any sun to work with. (Though the answer there is to insulate to german Passive House standards instead of trying to heat the building.)

    The "don't import water" battle was lost years ago with bottled water. I'd prefer to see people buying water by the tanker. No packaging waste like with bottles and less energy used in transportation.

    Quote Originally Posted by ledbetter
    All the growth in the last fifty years is based upon cheap and plentiful gas and water. It looks like that is about to change.
    Solar and wind is even cheaper than gas. So things might change for the better?

    Quote Originally Posted by idleprocess
    or how many heads of lettuce are grown per capita in what is otherwise desert?
    I've been putting together some stuff for experimenting with outdoor hydroponics. The goal is to figure out exactly how little water could be used. Other people do it and say they refill their tanks pretty infrequently. I can attest to my experience with indoor hydroponics there is essentially no evaporative loss and plants can go weeks without watering.
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    Flashaholic* orbital's Avatar
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    Default Re: Water shortage in southwestern U.S.

    Quote Originally Posted by idleprocess View Post
    While that is one metric that's very easily personalized, it's also not the most indicative. Irrigation is more indicative: how many acres of manicured lawn are maintained, or how many heads of lettuce are grown per capita in what is otherwise desert?
    +

    For sure,
    really just an overall people problem in an area w/ exploding growth.

    ahhh, what a beautiful golf course!!

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    Default Re: Water shortage in southwestern U.S.

    Quote Originally Posted by bykfixer View Post
    But the lawns look FABULOUS!!
    I had to laugh with this one.
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    Default Re: Water shortage in southwestern U.S.

    Quote Originally Posted by parametrek View Post
    It would have to be really bad everywhere for there to be a food shortage. There will however be individual farmers who can't produce as much as usual. Prices on some things will go up. Taxes might be redirected to farmers to keep them afloat.

    The risk of serious damage from fire can be slightly reduced by better landscaping. An underground fireproof bunker for the stuff that can't easily be moved is an expensive option. Even more important than food/water is to have copies of your critical documents. In a disaster any kind person could share food/water. But none of them will be able to tell you your bank routing numbers or insurance ID
    I don't count on good landscaping as protection against a fire. I lived through the Witch Creek Fire of 2007 in Ramona, CA. We were evacuated with little notice. Our friends got trapped in town while waiting in line to gas up their R.V.. You have to have gas and supplies ready to go to get out of dodge. We made it to the parking lot of the North County Fair Mall in Escondido thinking we were safe in such a huge parking lot with nothing to burn. Nope. The firefighters made us move to the west side of the mall because the 100 mph winds were blowing embers great distances. We woke up the next morning breathing thick smoke with the parking lot surrounded by flames. We left and went south down Interstate 15 where the fire had jumped the 8 lane highway. We had to drive through the smoke and flames. We ended up at a Motel 6 by the beach in Chula Vista. I remember yelling at the T.V. when they said the firefighting planes in Ramona were grounded due to the high winds, while the flames were starting to surround the airport. At Chula Vista that night, the fire had spread to the east end of the city where it blew embers 5 miles ahead of the main fire line. No amount of proper landscaping can save your home when the fire blows embers 5 miles away. As for food and water shortages, there were over a million people evacuated. There was no bottled water in any store available. The stores had all donated it to the disaster relief. You had to visit a Red Cross supply area to pick up water, which was being rationed as they handed it out. Milk and bread were nowhere to be seen in the stores as people lived off of cereal and sandwiches when they were sleeping in their cars and couldn't cook. Why were people sleeping in their cars instead of hotels? The Red Cross booked all the rooms at the Holiday Inns for their employees causing a temporary housing shortage. When disaster strikes, don't depend on global supply to fill the gaps for shortages of anything. When there's a fire, power lines get burned and the power goes out (lasted 2 weeks for some of my friends after that fire). Gas stations need power to run so there is no gas. Gas stations with generators run out of gas quickly. Stores don't have power so the food spoils. Some have generators but can't refill them because the gas stations are down. The water pumps for our town failed and the backup was already broken. It took days after the power came back to pump the water uphill to our town so we could have water. At that point, they went around town shutting off the water mains to let the pressure build up in the pipes and gave the water a double dose of chlorine. The water was green out of the tap. It took about 5 days before the water was turned on and drinkable. For your own safety, never depend on anything but yourself, your immediate family and close friends, and the supplies you have on hand during a disaster. Help doesn't come when everyone is hurting and supplies are not available when everyone needs them.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Water shortage in southwestern U.S.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hooked on Fenix View Post
    I don't count on good landscaping as protection against a fire.
    Neither do I. When did I ever say that it could? "Slight" is not a synonym for "guaranteed."

    Quote Originally Posted by Hooked on Fenix View Post
    Why were people sleeping in their cars instead of hotels?
    Simple logistics. That would have happened anyway without the Red Cross. Look at any city and count up how many hotel rooms they have versus how many residents. Even Las Vegas has 150k rooms for 600k population. Or in other words it will take 4 perfectly okay tourist towns to soak up the residents of just 1 town that had to evacuate. Considering how unavailable housing is across much of america.... why do you think an entire displaced geographic area should be able to find accommodations?
    Last edited by parametrek; 06-11-2021 at 11:42 AM.
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    *Flashaholic* idleprocess's Avatar
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    Default Re: Water shortage in southwestern U.S.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hooked on Fenix View Post
    For your own safety, never depend on anything but yourself, your immediate family and close friends, and the supplies you have on hand during a disaster. Help doesn't come when everyone is hurting and supplies are not available when everyone needs them.
    While this is excellent advice, it's far more efficient if society can head off or blunt these disasters through planning, appropriate hardening of infrastructure, avoidance of conditions that contribute to damage and/or suffering, etc.
    I apologize that this letter is so long; I did not have time to write a short letter

  22. #22
    Flashaholic* orbital's Avatar
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    Default Re: Water shortage in southwestern U.S.

    +

    Salton Sea is a genuine man made disaster.

    This article is from today: https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/gr...ts/5243837001/

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