Parched West is using up underground water: Study points to grave implications for Western U.S. water supply

Vastet
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Parched West is using up underground water: Study points to grave implications for Western U.S. water supply

Date:
July 24, 2014

Source:
University of California - Irvine

Summary:
A new study finds more than 75 percent of the water loss in the drought-stricken Colorado River Basin since late 2004 came from underground resources. The extent of groundwater loss may pose a greater threat to the water supply of the western United States than previously thought.

Exerpt:
The research team used data from NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite mission to track changes in the mass of the Colorado River Basin, which are related to changes in water amount on and below the surface. Monthly measurements in the change in water mass from December 2004 to November 2013 revealed the basin lost nearly 53 million acre feet (65 cubic kilometers) of freshwater, almost double the volume of the nation's largest reservoir, Nevada's Lake Mead. More than three-quarters of the total -- about 41 million acre feet (50 cubic kilometers) -- was from groundwater.
"We don't know exactly how much groundwater we have left, so we don't know when we're going to run out," said Stephanie Castle, a water resources specialist at UC Irvine and the study's lead author. "This is a lot of water to lose. We thought that the picture could be pretty bad, but this was shocking."
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"Combined with declining snowpack and population growth, this will likely threaten the long-term ability of the basin to meet its water allocation commitments to the seven basin states and to Mexico," Famiglietti said.

Full Article/Source:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140724172102.htm

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zarathustra
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I have wondered when the

I have wondered when the Malthusian crisis will start -- not a question of "if".  States will likely become protective of their water stores, with the fed countering that California is too big to fail.  

The fly-over states may feel some schadenfreude at seeing the west fall on hard times, but sing a different tune when the grocery stores run out of fruits and vegetables. 

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Beyond Saving
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 http://www.mercurynews.com/

 http://www.mercurynews.com/science/ci_25859513/nations-largest-ocean-desalination-plant-goes-up-near

I wonder if any of the envirowackos have stopped to think that if they hadn't held this project up for 6 years in court they could be drinking all the water they wanted right now? Dumb asses get what they sow. 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


Vastet
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I've been of the opinion

I've been of the opinion that desalinisation is the only credible solution for years. More than a decade. Ever since I first saw them in a Sim City game I was fascinated by the technology and curious as to why it hasn't been embraced en masse. I actually only built coastal cities after they added desalinisation to the game. Usually you have to buy water from your neighbours once your city gets to a certain size, but with desalinisation plants you end up with a surplus so you can sell water instead of buying it.
Obviously I don't trust that Sim City necessarily accurately portrays water systems, but they do put effort into it so there's probably some truth to the concepts.
The technology is awesome and doesn't cause the kind of environmental damage most other water projects cause. It isn't flawless or necessarily cheap but it can get better and it's still incredibly useful as is.

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digitalbeachbum
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zarathustra wrote: I have

zarathustra wrote:

I have wondered when the Malthusian crisis will start -- not a question of "if".  States will likely become protective of their water stores, with the fed countering that California is too big to fail.  

The fly-over states may feel some schadenfreude at seeing the west fall on hard times, but sing a different tune when the grocery stores run out of fruits and vegetables. 

Georgia and Tennessee are already, have been fighting over water for years.

http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2014/feb/18/flush-with-power-or-just-all-wetdeadline-looms-in/

 


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I was just talking to a lady

I was just talking to a lady at work today about this issue. The water consumption of the western states has been obsessive. Watering lawns and gold courses in the desert is not a smart idea.


digitalbeachbum
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Beyond Saving wrote:

Beyond Saving wrote:

 http://www.mercurynews.com/science/ci_25859513/nations-largest-ocean-desalination-plant-goes-up-near

I wonder if any of the envirowackos have stopped to think that if they hadn't held this project up for 6 years in court they could be drinking all the water they wanted right now? Dumb asses get what they sow. 

Tampa gets all of its water from desalination, but at a high cost.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/getting-clean-water-from-the-sea-at-a-high-price/