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(Slate)   California is a disaster area. Moreso than usual, that is, because of 25% less snowpack   (slate.com) divider line 106
    More: Obvious, California Winter, remote sensing, Sequoia National Park, resource allocation, droughts  
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4323 clicks; posted to Main » on 09 Apr 2014 at 9:09 PM (36 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-04-09 08:07:39 PM  
Yup, it's gonna be a tough year.
 
2014-04-09 08:28:30 PM  
El Nino is coming, that should help some.
 
2014-04-09 09:11:56 PM  
It's amazing how many people will move to a large city without considering whether or not it has something called a "water supply".
 
2014-04-09 09:13:13 PM  
Lawns gotta be cared for. Cars gotta be washed.
 
2014-04-09 09:13:27 PM  

Marine1: It's amazing how many people will move to a large city without considering whether or not it has something called a "water supply".


To be fair, the farmers in the desert are using the bulk of the water.
 
2014-04-09 09:15:39 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: Marine1: It's amazing how many people will move to a large city without considering whether or not it has something called a "water supply".

To be fair, the farmers in the desert are using the bulk of the water.


Seriously

/what kind of idiot tries to grow oranges in Death Valley?
 
2014-04-09 09:16:41 PM  

Marine1: It's amazing how many people will move to a large city without considering whether or not it has something called a "water supply".


Forget it, Marine1. It's Chinatown.
 
2014-04-09 09:17:25 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: El Nino is coming, that should help some.


img.fark.net
The world will be glad to see him return.
 
2014-04-09 09:19:25 PM  
El Santo we need you.
 
2014-04-09 09:20:19 PM  
The country is a lifeboat that can hold a dozen people, with twenty on board.
 
2014-04-09 09:20:53 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: Marine1: It's amazing how many people will move to a large city without considering whether or not it has something called a "water supply".

To be fair, the farmers in the desert are using the bulk of the water.


This has come up many times in these various threads, but the Central Valley isn't a desert. It's grasslands, savannah, and scrublands, and actually largely consisted of marshes and the sort (and was subject to regular flooding) prior to the construction of the levees http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Valley_%28California%29#Environm e nt

Now, don't get me wrong, there are plenty of deserts in California - primarily in the south, southeastern part of the state. But that's not where the bulk of the agriculture occurs.
 
2014-04-09 09:21:16 PM  

dmax: The country is a lifeboat that can hold a dozen people, with twenty on board.


Why are you still here?
 
2014-04-09 09:23:41 PM  
In 1976-77, the last time California had a drought of this magnitude, Jerry Brown was governor. You should have learned your lesson.

That's right, he is a lizard person, stealing all of your water.
 
2014-04-09 09:23:58 PM  

Jragghen: Marcus Aurelius: Marine1: It's amazing how many people will move to a large city without considering whether or not it has something called a "water supply".

To be fair, the farmers in the desert are using the bulk of the water.

This has come up many times in these various threads, but the Central Valley isn't a desert. It's grasslands, savannah, and scrublands, and actually largely consisted of marshes and the sort (and was subject to regular flooding) prior to the construction of the levees http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Valley_%28California%29#Environm e nt

Now, don't get me wrong, there are plenty of deserts in California - primarily in the south, southeastern part of the state. But that's not where the bulk of the agriculture occurs.


I was referring more to Los Angeles, not the central part of the state.
 
2014-04-09 09:25:50 PM  
BalugaJoe: El Santo Todos Santos  we need you.
 
2014-04-09 09:26:31 PM  
What do they grow in California? Seriously, my finances are limited these days and I want to know if I should stock up on can veggies.
 
2014-04-09 09:27:01 PM  

Jragghen: This has come up many times in these various threads, but the Central Valley isn't a desert


Duly noted.  I will take care not to commit slander against California in the future.

I'll just put it this way: agriculture uses over 75% of California's fresh water.  And I do love California produce.  Much more than I love Californians having clean cars, green lawns, or even drinking water, in fact.  I'm quite a selfish bastard that way.  So I hope El Nino comes and dumps 100 inches of rain on California this year.  Sure, there will be some mud slides, but it will do wonders for the reservoirs.
 
2014-04-09 09:28:17 PM  

talkertopc: What do they grow in California? Seriously, my finances are limited these days and I want to know if I should stock up on can veggies.


Lettuce. Oranges. Sweet corn. Beans. Nuts. Berries. Half your wintertime produce section.
 
Oak
2014-04-09 09:28:30 PM  

Marine1: Jragghen: Marcus Aurelius: Marine1: It's amazing how many people will move to a large city without considering whether or not it has something called a "water supply".

To be fair, the farmers in the desert are using the bulk of the water.

This has come up many times in these various threads, but the Central Valley isn't a desert. It's grasslands, savannah, and scrublands, and actually largely consisted of marshes and the sort (and was subject to regular flooding) prior to the construction of the levees http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Valley_%28California%29#Environm e nt

Now, don't get me wrong, there are plenty of deserts in California - primarily in the south, southeastern part of the state. But that's not where the bulk of the agriculture occurs.

I was referring more to Los Angeles, not the central part of the state.


Los Angeles's water supply is fine - at least for now.  The problem's up north.
 
Oak
2014-04-09 09:30:00 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: talkertopc: What do they grow in California? Seriously, my finances are limited these days and I want to know if I should stock up on can veggies.

Lettuce. Oranges. Sweet corn. Beans. Nuts. Berries. Half your wintertime produce section.


Yeah, basically almonds - yams, alphabetically.
 
2014-04-09 09:30:01 PM  

talkertopc: What do they grow in California? Seriously, my finances are limited these days and I want to know if I should stock up on can veggies.


Here is a mostly complete list of California produce.
 
2014-04-09 09:34:09 PM  
I would like to point out that the drought wouldn't be as devastating if the state priced water at the market rate. Much like growing oranges in the arctic, growing rice in the desert is not the most efficient use of resources. There are valuable crops that don't require flood irrigation. When I think of "rice paddies" I don't think "just north of Sacramento."

www.calrice.org

//California's rules on water usage are pure 19th century, though they really don't seem that advanced.
 
2014-04-09 09:34:27 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: Jragghen: This has come up many times in these various threads, but the Central Valley isn't a desert

Duly noted.  I will take care not to commit slander against California in the future.

I'll just put it this way: agriculture uses over 75% of California's fresh water.  And I do love California produce.  Much more than I love Californians having clean cars, green lawns, or even drinking water, in fact.  I'm quite a selfish bastard that way.  So I hope El Nino comes and dumps 100 inches of rain on California this year.  Sure, there will be some mud slides, but it will do wonders for the reservoirs.


Oh, it's not slander, It's just a bit of a misdirection from the problem. I'm not disagreeing - the overwhelming majority of usage is agriculture, and I do think it's a little silly to grow cotton here, and there needs to be a serious look at the irrigation systems used (flood vs drip, etc) for how much water is actually used. But it's not like most of the water is being used in areas where the climate isn't appropriate for crop growing.
 
2014-04-09 09:38:14 PM  

Oak: Marcus Aurelius: talkertopc: What do they grow in California? Seriously, my finances are limited these days and I want to know if I should stock up on can veggies.

Lettuce. Oranges. Sweet corn. Beans. Nuts. Berries. Half your wintertime produce section.

Yeah, basically almonds - yams, alphabetically.


They grow fava beans and California Girls too!
 
Oak
2014-04-09 09:41:32 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: talkertopc: What do they grow in California? Seriously, my finances are limited these days and I want to know if I should stock up on can veggies.

Here is a mostly complete list of California produce.


Fark me; I forgot zucchini.
 
2014-04-09 09:42:13 PM  
Build nuclear power plants to desalinate water.
 
2014-04-09 09:46:59 PM  
My city has a desalination plant under construction. We're going to need more, and bigger.
 
2014-04-09 09:54:15 PM  

Oak: Marine1: Jragghen: Marcus Aurelius: Marine1: It's amazing how many people will move to a large city without considering whether or not it has something called a "water supply".

To be fair, the farmers in the desert are using the bulk of the water.

This has come up many times in these various threads, but the Central Valley isn't a desert. It's grasslands, savannah, and scrublands, and actually largely consisted of marshes and the sort (and was subject to regular flooding) prior to the construction of the levees http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Valley_%28California%29#Environm e nt

Now, don't get me wrong, there are plenty of deserts in California - primarily in the south, southeastern part of the state. But that's not where the bulk of the agriculture occurs.

I was referring more to Los Angeles, not the central part of the state.

Los Angeles's water supply is fine - at least for now.  The problem's up north.


We got more rain up here, so it got a little better

/the middle of the state is a problem
//more than usual
 
2014-04-09 09:58:14 PM  

Jragghen: Marcus Aurelius: Marine1: It's amazing how many people will move to a large city without considering whether or not it has something called a "water supply".

To be fair, the farmers in the desert are using the bulk of the water.

This has come up many times in these various threads, but the Central Valley isn't a desert. It's grasslands, savannah, and scrublands, and actually largely consisted of marshes and the sort (and was subject to regular flooding) prior to the construction of the levees http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Valley_%28California%29#Environm e nt

Now, don't get me wrong, there are plenty of deserts in California - primarily in the south, southeastern part of the state. But that's not where the bulk of the agriculture occurs.


Yes, but places like Imperial Valley (El Centro) is a desert and there's lots of agriculture out there.
 
2014-04-09 09:59:16 PM  
Interesting tidbit: even if there is a decent snowpack (it's been about 4 years now), there's the situation where it might melt too fast. The reservoirs fill, but then need to release water to keep from flooding. That released water is essentially wasted. You want a good snowpack and a slow thaw for the best results for the flatlanders.
 
2014-04-09 10:02:17 PM  
The problem with agriculture is that rarely are conditions truly perfect. If it's a place that has a lot of water, that tends to be places that don't have a long growing season with lots of sun and stable temperature conditions.

You can certainly argue about whether shipping water to Central Valley is a good use of resources, but you have to take into account that once you ship water there you can grow significantly more produce significantly easier than you could grow in the place where the water's originating from.
 
2014-04-09 10:03:24 PM  
To make more water available for the people, all that think farmers are using too much water should boycott California veggies and fruit.  Teach those farmers to use their fair share.  Farmers are like 5% of the population?  Why should they get 80% of the water.

I could also get behind a county by county water allocation based on the amount of water that  falls on each particular county.  High rainfall counties get the most water.  Low rainfall counties get the least.  This will encourage people to move where the water is, and to grow food where the water is.  No buying water beyond the allocation.  That just encourages the ultra rich to flaunt their money.  Dry areas should be turned into solar farms, not food farms.  The desert is a perfect place to put nuclear plants, no fukashima tsunamis to worry about.  And if the nuke melts down, it just makes a glass parking lot, perfect for installing another solar farm.  and people won't be living there because of the low water allocation.

If people won't boycott California produce, then there should be some sort of local produce food law.  Eat what you can grow in your county, or any county that shares a border with the one you are in.  This also will force people to move where the water and the food is.  Desalination from non carbon source energy should be the only way that counties can increase their water allocation.  Of course I will allow the inland counties to buy desal water from the coastal counties.

Moving to where the rain falls, means that you can have a green lawn without having to pipe in the water from areas that have water to places that don't.

I also don't like the California aquaduct, it is just ripe and waiting for a terrorist attack.  By reducing the need to ship water down south to the LA area, we would actually make the state a safer space.  And we could hire less NSA phone tappers or TSA crotch patters.
 
2014-04-09 10:05:43 PM  
Am I seriously going to be the first person to point out that snowpack is 25% of normal levels?  Not down by 25%, as the headline says?

To also head off some of the predictable condescending accusations:  CA (especially Southern California) has actually done a pretty great job significantly reducing its water use in the past few decades.  Our total water use has actually dropped as the population has doubled or tripled in most areas.  We now use less water than most everywhere else in the country and we have decent rationing and conservation rules in place.  We've also spent considerable amounts of money (you know, part of the cost of living/taxes that everyone whines about) to build tremendous amounts of storage, to the point where Southern California isn't even on mandatory conservation rules above and beyond the normal yet, and won't be for at least another couple years at this rate.

That's not a hand-waving, la-la, nothing to see here.  The situation is pretty serious.  But at this point, well in excess of 80% of the water used in the state goes to agriculture.  The stereotype of oblivious rich people as the source of the problem, continuing to dump increasingly massive amounts of water on their lawns while the state burns is just not true in aggregate.

Desalinization is an increasingly attractive option, especially if we can drive the energy required through renewable sources like solar, which we sure as hell have enough of.  Getting that stuff approved through our byzantine environmental protection standards can be a nightmare.  But hell, if Dubai can do it, we can -- just hopefully not by burning a crapton of oil to make it happen.
 
2014-04-09 10:16:19 PM  

jaerik: Am I seriously going to be the first person to point out that snowpack is 25% of normal levels?  Not down by 25%, as the headline says?


Yes. Subby lacked reading comprehension. I would've cheered if we'd actually gotten 75% of our normal snowpack.
 
2014-04-09 10:18:32 PM  
"...the drama in California's snow cycle"


Drama and politics.   California.
 
2014-04-09 10:19:14 PM  

Marine1: It's amazing how many people will move to a large city without considering whether or not it has something called a "water supply".


California is the largest agriculture producing state in the Union. All the people who love to dis California are going to be hating life when those farms lose production.
 
2014-04-09 10:20:06 PM  

netcentric: "...the drama in California's snow cycle"


Drama and politics.   California.


People who think California is just San Francisco and L.A. are clueless idiots.
 
2014-04-09 10:22:20 PM  
Farmers in the Central Valley are pumping groundwater like crazy too. The water table has dropped by something like several hundred feet in some areas.

I like almonds, I like avocados, but something's going to have to give here.
 
2014-04-09 10:24:37 PM  
Snowpack? We still got snowpack. Hell we could probably ship you snowpack.
 
2014-04-09 10:27:55 PM  

MaudlinMutantMollusk: Oak: Marine1: Jragghen: Marcus Aurelius: Marine1: It's amazing how many people will move to a large city without considering whether or not it has something called a "water supply".

To be fair, the farmers in the desert are using the bulk of the water.

This has come up many times in these various threads, but the Central Valley isn't a desert. It's grasslands, savannah, and scrublands, and actually largely consisted of marshes and the sort (and was subject to regular flooding) prior to the construction of the levees http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Valley_%28California%29#Environm e nt

Now, don't get me wrong, there are plenty of deserts in California - primarily in the south, southeastern part of the state. But that's not where the bulk of the agriculture occurs.

I was referring more to Los Angeles, not the central part of the state.

Los Angeles's water supply is fine - at least for now.  The problem's up north.

We got more rain up here, so it got a little better

/the middle of the state is a problem
//more than usual


We'll have an interesting fire season this year when all the undergrowth dries out.
 
2014-04-09 10:28:39 PM  

mediablitz: California is the largest agriculture producing state in the Union. All the people who love to dis California are going to be hating life when those farms lose production.


That's what Mexico is for.

/at least around here.  Unless you want avocado, produce is coming from Mexico.
 
2014-04-09 10:28:44 PM  
Last week, California was self-sufficient with water. What happened?

/Wait, don't tell me; it's like fire danger.  Wet or dry. fire danger is extreme because of it.
 
2014-04-09 10:33:30 PM  

RedVentrue: We'll have an interesting fire season this year when all the undergrowth dries out.


Ain't that the truth

/and I live in a damned forest
 
2014-04-09 10:34:29 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: El Nino is coming, that should help some.


And it is looking to be a doozy.  Probably will end up being more trouble than it is worth.  But at least it will put an end to a certain farker and his horseshiat "The world has been cooling since 1997!!" graph.
 
2014-04-09 10:35:33 PM  

jaerik: That's not a hand-waving, la-la, nothing to see here. The situation is pretty serious.


It is, but the writer is making it sound much worse than it is. He claims a drinking water shortage in silicon valley. Drinking water shortage = Water upon request at restaurants and no running hose while washing the car in one small city. That's it. There's no mandatory rationing anywhere around here.

The bay area is in a lot better shape than socal and the farmers. Between Hetch Hetchy and the aquifers (both local and in the Central Valley), we're good for a year or so. They have the aquifers so packed around here (using percolation ponds), water shoots out of low lying roads here and there. Some Caltrans never get a handle on. They 'leak' all year round.
 
2014-04-09 10:37:07 PM  

AverageAmericanGuy: Lawns gotta be cared for. Cars gotta be washed.


no, no they don't
 
2014-04-09 10:37:14 PM  

Hollie Maea: Marcus Aurelius: El Nino is coming, that should help some.

And it is looking to be a doozy.  Probably will end up being more trouble than it is worth.  But at least it will put an end to a certain farker and his horseshiat "The world has been cooling since 1997!!" graph.


Biggest problem is we got an entire summer to get through before next rainy season

/meaning from now until November, at least
 
2014-04-09 10:38:48 PM  

Snarfangel: In 1976-77, the last time California had a drought of this magnitude, Jerry Brown was governor. You should have learned your lesson.

That's right, he is a lizard person, stealing all of your water.


very likely
 
2014-04-09 10:39:39 PM  

tbeatty: Last week, California was self-sufficient with water. What happened?


Actually, last week California was in the midst of an exceptional drought.
 
2014-04-09 10:42:53 PM  

MaudlinMutantMollusk: Hollie Maea: Marcus Aurelius: El Nino is coming, that should help some.

And it is looking to be a doozy.  Probably will end up being more trouble than it is worth.  But at least it will put an end to a certain farker and his horseshiat "The world has been cooling since 1997!!" graph.

Biggest problem is we got an entire summer to get through before next rainy season

/meaning from now until November, at least


Yeah, this year is going to be a total loss.

And to make things even better, this winter could be tons of rain and no snow, if it's a train of pineapple expresses.  I remember the storm during the 1997 El Niño that flooded the fark out of Yosemite (I think it was around New Year's).  The snow line was like 11,000 feet or something.
 
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