Big Issue We Aren't Talking About

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by vrDrew, Apr 11, 2015.

  1. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #1
    In between cop shootings; gun chatter; anti-Muslim hysteria; and paroxysms of fury over trivial Obama administration lapses - we don't spend much time discussing the real challenges facing our nation and society.

    Like the fact that we are running out of water.

    Not just the well-publicized California drought. The Great Plains Ogallala aquifer is running dry. In simple terms, the wells that irrigate the great breadbasket of the American midwest are dropping the water table by as much as two feet per year.

    It seems to me that while challenging, these problems are within our technical ability to solve. But the steps we've taken so far seem shortsighted - at best. California, for instance, is building ocean-water desalinization plants. The cost of producing water this way are extremely high: Roughly $2700 per acre/ft - or about the amount of water a family of five uses per year. And putting thousands of tons of additional CO2 into the atmosphere.

    It certainly is possible that some large-scale infrastructure projects may be needed: pipelines, reservoirs, etc. to move and store water. But it seems that the best long-term use of our money would be to encourage - via subsidy and tax policy, greater conservation of water.

    Switching to subsurface drip irrigation, for instance, requires a large investment on the part of farmers. But it can reduce by as much as 70% the amount of water crops need. So-called "gray water" systems, which use rain-water runoff and other "non-potable" water for such tasks as flushing toilets and watering lawns.

    It seems to me that our country has lost the ability to do really big things. We built the Interstates; the transcontinental railroad; electrified and ran telephone wire to every part of the country. We put a man on the moon and educated the veterans of WWII. All those things took vision; political courage; and a huge amount of taxpayer money to make happen. And we are all much better off today as a result. We also managed to find a trillion or two dollars to fight a useless war in the middle east.

    Is it possible in the Tea-Party atmosphere of today for any political leader to propose the sort of massive investment it is going to take to prevent our faucets running dry?
     
  2. jkcerda macrumors 6502

    jkcerda

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    #2
  3. vrDrew thread starter macrumors 65816

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    You are talking about a bottled water plant that draw maybe 750 acre/ft of water a year. And provides more than 250 jobs in the process.

    If you had wanted to provide a better example of how small-minded partisan politics is taking people's eyes of the big picture - I don't think you could have chosen a better one.
     
  4. samiwas, Apr 11, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2015

    samiwas macrumors 65816

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    #4
    So, the bottled water plant plant sucks as much water as 750 typical five-person families (3750 people) per year, and that's not something to be concerned about?

    EDIT - I would be surprised if that's all they really use.
     
  5. jkcerda macrumors 6502

    jkcerda

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    #5
    No one knows how much they draw. They have not reported it in years. You overlook the fact CA is mostly liberal, even CA republicans are liberal:rolleyes:
     
  6. vrDrew thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Its a triviality.

    You could shutter every bottled-water plant in the entire state and it wouldn't change a thing. And I bet that California probably receives far more bottled water from places like Fiji; France; and Iceland than it ships out.

    Do you want to essentially export California jobs because of this?

    Bottled water plants are not the problem. Closing them is not the solution. But I can see some people prefer to keep focused on irrelevancies.
     
  7. jkcerda macrumors 6502

    jkcerda

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    #7
    Irrelevancies, like pretending the tea party is the issue? Sticking it to the citizens while letting businesses do as they wish is not the answer either, make the cuts across the board , same standards for citizens and businesses
     
  8. thekev macrumors 604

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    That doesn't really change whether something is a good idea. Bottled water is wasteful in too many ways. It creates plastic waste. It's incredibly expensive to transport due to the high density of water. Jobs are just a positive side effect, but they shouldn't be considered pivotal to whether something is a good idea.
     
  9. Dmunjal macrumors 65816

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    The water crisis is a problem created by politicians (mostly Democrats as California is run entirely by the left). If water was not discounted to agribusiness, it would cost too much to produce almonds and walnuts and they would go elsewhere. Crony capitalism at its worst.

    http://www.sanjoseinside.com/2015/04/09/cheap-water-for-agriculture-worsens-california-water-crisis/

    "The price of water, however, is not determined by inalterable market forces; it is primarily a function of government policies and the social forces that shape them."

    Seems like a "tea party" free market solution would utilize water more efficiently?
     
  10. vrDrew thread starter macrumors 65816

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  11. jkcerda macrumors 6502

    jkcerda

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    #11
    You decided to make it a partisan issue when it did not have to be, don't be mad just because things get pointed out.
     
  12. bradl macrumors 68040

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    #12
    However, I think where he's trying to link the tea party together with this is the unspoken issue with this (although it has yet been corroborated): Global Warming/Climate change, which is something that most on the right, let alone the tea party, deny.

    I'm 100 miles from Reno. Every time I take I-80 up through the Sierras and pass Donner Summit, even during the summer, I always see the permanent snowcapped peaks around that summit. This past trip? next-to near nothing. All 6 major ski resorts around Lake Tahoe closed early, with some of them recording losses for the season. In fact, out of 21 ski resorts on the west coast that closed early with losses, 8 of them are not in California.

    A friend of my wife and their family flew up to Reno from Hawaii to visit friends, and with the main intent of showing their children snow for the first time in their lives...

    there was none to show them the entire time they were here. And that was in February.

    We are going into much longer than our 4th year of this, as it's been going on for much longer. Not to mention the fact that our oceans have become more acidic than any other time in the age of humans. In fact, you can see it from space.

    So seeing that the tea party and many of those on the right continue to deny climate change/global warming, and call it a hoax, there is that link. but it is hard to continually deny something, when you see multiple sets of facts staring you in the face, literally.

    Back on topic, at least Santa Barbara is doing something about it. In the last drought, they built a desalination plant, and was about to turn it on to desalinate ocean water, when CA got 30 straight days of rain. That was 25 years ago. Now, they're about to turn it on.

    BL.
     
  13. jkcerda macrumors 6502

    jkcerda

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    #13
    The issue is not GB at all, it's letting businesses & farms use/sell/waste as they wish . Like I said, make the cuts across the board
    some sound like a republican, screw the environment to save a couple of jobs:jeez:
     
  14. vrDrew thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Solving - long term - California and the Great Plains water issues will require many billions of dollars in infrastructure investment. It will also require the power of Government to deal with things like rights-of-way; negotiation of international treaties on water use; environmental studies; issuance of bonds; and the creation of tax incentives and subsidies that encourage efficiency.

    There is no "free enterprise" solution for this problem. (And, lest we forget, without the massive Government-led water programs of the 1920s and later - California as we know it would be all but uninhabitable for its current population.)

    Right now the United States Federal and State governments are not able to find the will to properly fund our existing infrastructure of roads, bridges, dams, and ports. The blame for this I lay squarely at the door of the rabid anti-tax, anti-government forces of America's right wing. It strikes me as "penny-wise pound foolishness" of the first order.
     
  15. jkcerda, Apr 11, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2015

    jkcerda macrumors 6502

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    Yeah, keep overlooking CA is controlled by democrats:rolleyes:
    I told you about nestle and your answer was "but it creates jobs" like 250 or so :rolleyes:
     
  16. bradl macrumors 68040

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    GB, as in Gerry Brown?

    If so, I agree. I mean, he is initiating all of these cuts and near rationing for water. On the other side of that coin, there is talk of even ticketing for extra toilet flushes or such. But with that, we run into sanitation issues.

    Either way, this doesn't any fracking businesses in any good light.

    BL.
     
  17. jkcerda macrumors 6502

    jkcerda

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    #17
    Global warming

    Brown decided to stick it to the people while bypassing businesses
     
  18. satcomer macrumors 603

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    Well I like live in area of the country that is Post Glacial Rebound and the drop in the Ogallala Aquifer maybe related?
     
  19. noodlemanc macrumors regular

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the reason why California has a water shortage because the government is providing subsidies to pump huge amounts of water out into the desert so farmers can grow crops there? Efficiency would be to grow crops only where it is genuinely profitable and sustainable.
     
  20. FieldingMellish Suspended

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    OP linked to a 2013 report. I wonder what the story is today?

    In 2013, farmers in a section of the Northwest Kansas Groundwater Management District (GMD4) have agreed to a self-imposed 20 percent reduction over the next five years in the amount of water they pull out of the renowned and shrinking Ogallala Aquifer. Farmers in Colorado and Texas, too, are responding to shrinking aquifers by putting limits on water use.

    We all saw it in 2012, during a long drought smothering the Great Plains. People living in Kansas were accustomed to murmurs about the future of the Ogallala, but because of drought, the rate of decline has undoubtedly picked up. Rex Buchanan, the interim director of the Kansas Geological Survey said that “this is an issue that has been with us in Kansas for the last 30 to 40 years. Now, it has become all that more pressing.”

    During the mid-30’s, Kansas suffered the effects of the dustbowl brought on by specific farming activities, a reduction in values and one of the worst droughts. Eventually, farmers listened to the advice of the U.S. Soil Conservation Service and began strip farming and contour farming, restoring pastureland and planting hundreds of miles of wind breaks. With concerted effort and favorable weather conditions, the land was made to bloom again.

    Presently, Kansas is a key agricultural state — it is among the top 10 states to produce corn, soybeans, hay, summer potatoes, and cattle; it ranks second in the nation for wheat production; it is number one for sorghum grain — in a nation that is a major food exporter. Thus, because the state also draws water from a shrinking aquifer that is shared with seven other dry states, water management in Kansas has both national and global implications.

    Since intensive farming began in the 1950s, some 30 percent of the water in the Kansas portion of the Ogallala Aquifer, a primary irrigation source, has been pumped out. The Ogallala, which stretches from South Dakota to Texas, is essentially a finite source because pumping is so great and the rainfall that would refill the aquifer is so scarce. The area is semiarid, receiving less than 20 inches (510 mm) of rain annually.
     
  21. steve knight Suspended

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    when have facts changed the mind of the true faithful? we have far more facts that the world is older then 6000 years but it is still believed.
     
  22. vrDrew thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #22
    The water woes of California are just part of the problem. There is a looming ecological disaster in the Great Plains. And we have to face the fact that much of the entire Southwest - New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, West Texas is also suffering from long-term water issues.

    The drought in California has national implications. We rely on California fruit and vegetables as part of our national food supply. And the grain and soybeans of the Great Plains may be essential components of American national security in the middle part of the 21st Century.

    Only the US Federal government has the financial and legislative power, the resources of science and engineering, to create a water plan big enough to be effective.

    Jerry Brown's water restrictions (no matter how annoying they might be to individual Californians) are putting a band-aid on a sucking chest wound.
     
  23. Sydde, Apr 11, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2015

    Sydde macrumors 68020

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    #23
    North America drought map projection for 2050:

    CalWater's rates – in some areas, non-residential rates go down with increasing usage. That fits with a lot of standard market practices, but in this case, it seems like a bad idea. Most of the state's water goes into agriculture, not washing your car is not going to make that much of a dent.
     
  24. aaronvan, Apr 11, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2015

    aaronvan Suspended

    aaronvan

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    #24
    California sits right on top of an endless water supply called the Pacific Ocean. Nuclear-powered desalination plants would go a long way to relieve Cali's drought with zero greenhouse-emissions and produce thousands of jobs.
     
  25. jkcerda macrumors 6502

    jkcerda

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    #25
    You used the evil word known as "nuclear"
    If they can't tax the Hell out of it they don't want it
     

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