Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Where Has All The Water Gone?
The Global Climate Crisis has the American west looking for water.
A decade into its worst drought in a hundred years Australia is a lesson of what the American West could become.

Bush fires are killing people and obliterating towns. Rice exports collapsed last year and the wheat crop was halved two years running. Water rationing is part of daily life.

"Think of that as California's future," said Heather Cooley of California water think tank the Pacific Institute.

Water raised leafy green Los Angeles from the desert and filled arid valleys with the nation's largest fruit and vegetable crop. Each time more water was needed, another megaproject was built, from dams of the major rivers to a canal stretching much of the length of the state.

But those methods are near their end. There is very little water left untapped and global warming, the gradual increase of temperature as carbon dioxide and other gases retain more of the sun's heat, has created new uncertainties.

I think the article is a little optimistic in some of it's assumptions.

The Sierras will have 25 percent to 40 percent less snow by 2050 as rising global concentrations of greenhouses gases raise the temperature, California's water department forecasts.

The last three years were 60% of normal. 2005 was above average and 04 was a low snow year. It seems we are already close to the 40% less snow. Also, Nobel Prize winner and Energy Secretary Steven Chu predicts a 90% loss of snow pack. It is time for mandatory gray water system on all new housing.

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