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September 29, 2014


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Interesting photo choice. The last time water flowed into that spillway was 1983. I stood on the rail and watched four foot long stripped bass flow over the edge. I guess every species has it's thrill seekers. This would be the mother of all water slides.

I'm following the advise of the Hohokam. Left the desert came to the white mountains. May have to move on to Colorado from here.

Indeed, both metro and state are probably past their carrying capacity.

There, I said it.

And it says much about the future that no viable candidate for office dares utter these realities.

Don't come selling me desalination, gravel or turning-pee-into-drinking-water until you grasp this basic, unalterable truth.

Ah, well - I'm going to be empathetic and point out that even if a candidate grasped it (and I'm sure some of them do,) the profession of politician in a representative democracy absolutely prohibits one from speaking of such truths. If you can't bring the bright-side, then your demagogic, lying opponent will win the day, every time.

Jimmy Carter was a good man during a bad time, and he dared to speak of the malaise. What did we get? "It's morning in America again."

We are a civilization in decline. Only lying liars can win from here on out. The work has to be done from the roots. The politicians are, by definition, neutered.

This panel gave me hope because of the naked talk of outright revolution (not that that ever turns out very pretty in the short-term, but such are the times we live in.) Chris Hedges is obviously baiting the U.S. Government.

(It's nearly two hours long, and worth every minute. Smile when you see the circular-firing-squad moment when Sanders is called out on a war vote. I fucking love liberals.)

Sept 20: Bernie Sanders - Bill McKibben - Naomi Klein - Kshama Sawant - Chris Hedges - Brian Lehrer

Good comments Petro.

Rogue, I'll see you 2 million sustainable and lower it to 600K tops.

If the water or food or gas or a combination is cut off, the place is toast.

It'll be low density, low quality, high mortality.

Burn, baby, burn!

Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper.

Francis Bacon.


You're good, you're good.

Hope you are well.


Re: the sustainable comments above.

Remember the behavior of the villagers in past years when we would have a gas disruption for ONE DAY ?

That's why I feel a long term disruption will empty the place out. Where they would go, I don't know. Iowa?

But Bacon is good with everything!

Hard data: Reservoirs are at 48% of capacity.


The Seri will feast on our rotting carcass.
Drifting on the High Plains near Estancia

Cal, so you're taking the back way to Santa Fe?

am at Pasquals for juevos rancheros
lots of guberment trucks parked at 200 dollar per nite hotels

"Eventually, the desert will win. The desert always wins. Ask the Hohokam."

Damn, Jon. You couldn't have said it any better. Almost gave me goosebumps.

On a side note, Denver's Union Station is stunning. What an amazing transformation -- proof that a $1 billion investment can pay real dividends.

hey chris i said that first.
actually i think Abbey said it also along with a lot of wise folks.

Welcome back Soleri. Enjoy the Rouge comments….but it’s just not the same without you to. It’s like 50 percent full phasers. Where have you been – Mars?

FYI. In Bham had a very waterful summer. Everything is outrageously green. When you bale (for others – you’ve already read the tea leaves- on Phoenix, you might give it a thought. Getting cooler and about time to put out pansies and chrysanthemums.

Of course, this is nothing new. I finally gave up on anyone actually being able to engage with tough reality and the policy required to deal with it, and bought a house in down town Mesa on an acre of flood irrigated land. I have an urban farm and allegedly I own my water. We will see...

Good for you Colleen.

We'll be starting a community garden up here in Linden.

Alas, part of the community will be chipmunks, squirrels, deer , elk, gophers and birds. I hope a little is left for us.

Those interviews are like something out of The Onion: the best way to increase water supplies are to chop down trees, allow unlimited pollution by coal-burning power plants, and zero out the state's income tax. Really? Wow.

Meanwhile, in a related article, the possibility of paying farmers to fallow fields seasonally was raised. I wonder if this includes the feed fields used by ranchers -- a surprising number of rural Arizona legislators.

I don't think the candidates take the problem seriously. They know that the best way to extend water supplies is to decrease per capita use. The market mechanism for that is -- higher priced water. This is not exactly a politically friendly message in a state where the funding and influence of land developers plays such a prominent role.

Reducing agricultural usage is another option for extending water supplies in a state where nearly 70 percent of water use is agricultural. Again, that's not going to make a lot of friends in the rural districts. When water is priced like...well, water, and farmers are not required to modernize their inefficient flood irrigation systems, the result is a LOT of wasted water.

"A $100,000 prize awaits the group that comes up with the most innovative ­campaign to push water scarcity into the forefront of public ­conversation."

Note that the prize isn't for the most innovative solutions to the state's current and future water problems; it's for the best public service announcement. A marketing campaign isn't going to solve these problems, or even push them to the forefront of the nightly dinner table discussion (if there is any such thing anymore).

"Underwriting for the program comes from the Tashman Fund and the Lodestar Foundation."

OK, so let's understand. Companies provide funding to subsidize their own PR image of "generous giving back to the community" and the usual suspects among the establishment pretend to believe that this will have a tangible effect on public water usage. Mooncalfs.

Ed Abbey was right.

And Ed's heir just died.
Who will come forth like Abbey and Bowden.
Academia does not produce such giants.
Silent Spring is gone and the killing ozone winter is upon us.

hey cal, didn't I say it first way back when?. And I had taken it from some wise guy in Dubai. Good old times.

It's always puzzling to see how the most sensible thing --appropriate pricing of water-- is always done last if at all. They will always spend billions on grand schemes to suck some other people dry (Las Vegas) instead of doing their jobs. The recurrent dreams of desalting or some other grandiose scheme like 'cloudseeding, removing tamarisks, or looking for more water sources' (CAP director).

No matter what irrational contortions have to be endured, it's gotta be cheap and plentiful. All the misery is served up to avoid damaging one powerful ethos: we are limitless.

One of the few complaints I have about Rogue is the water issue. Arizona has plenty of water. It no longer has cheap water, which forks the developers off to no end. Farmers no longer want to give away water rights, and so the cities have to pay through the nose. I would note development has really stopped. Much of what is going up is really just replacement level stuff for houses that are old and decrepit and quietly disappearing in the older hoods of phoenix. Meanwhile those developers still have money to waste pushing their dreams, while they should instead be trying to figure out how to get those damned cotton farmers to sell their water:


Great blog entry on how the 300,000 acres of cotton suck up water in this state! Six times as much goes to grow a commodity crop as is used by Tucson.

Beef is another questionable product here on a feedlot basis, along with dairy in the desert.

Sorry to rain on the nostalgia and doom, but I don't see us looking like the California central valley, which is the result of total Randian destruction. On the other hand, if you put the Goldwater Institute in charge of DWR, we could easily end up like them.

In short, Grady Gammage's 15 million people ain't coming here. I don't think Arizona will exceed 8 million before the big boomer die off really kicks in by 2034 (Peak boomer is 1956 + 78 years old- do the math!)

Already growth is "resuming", yet the numbers are paltry. https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/newsroom/releases/2014/cb14-25_graphic.pdf

Hey look- net migration to Maricopa County was 36,541 for the last year- I would note in the county, that is just under 1% growth!!!! Whoohooo!!

Party Party Party!!!

Wow, at that rate, it will take until 2021 to just break 4 million in Maricopa County. Wow. So, the net demographic new house build is going to be roughly 17,400 total new houses and apartment units per year, excluding the rising death rate from our aging population.

So, new housing units will easily be under 10k for the future, the long future.

Now, worry about water- yeah, sure in rural Arizona where they don't have Active Management Areas for groundwater- yeah pump until you suck sand.

But the fallback to a dense urban core is not going to happen, and the shrinkage of the footprint is not going to happen.

But yeah, reality bites, and Pinal County now has enough approved and ready to build subdivisions to meed the demand for the next 50 years. And nobody moving their fast enough to save those land speculators from going broke.

Pretty funny to think Flagstaff and Northeastern Arizona have the real issue and problem, and everyone bleats about Phoenix and Tucson. Which is where everyone lives.

The Navajo have a real water crisis, and the Hopi have a real water crisis- but they bought all that ranch land to ensure they have water with their Settlement funds. The Navajo just wasted their funds.

100,000 people on the Rez haul water at least part of the year, or drink severely contaminated water.

Force some better water laws on the books, and the problem will even more dramatically recede here in urban Arizona- but rural Arizona has a crisis all right. I would even point to the San Pedro as a disaster and agree that is something that needs to be fixed.

Concern Troll that's an aka for Sustainability Idealistic Hope.
Or maybe your just Jack?
"Arizona has plenty of water"
Interestingly you point out ten negatives and a couple of were OK items.
I can find you many more places where water is gone. Like Patagonia, AZ where the creek is only town effluent except when it rains.
What Arizona has enough or too many of is people. Like at least 3 million.
But it doesn't rally matter as your grand kids will be living in Anchorage to keep from boiling to death. Maybe that's not correct?
Can you give us some of your faith of hope about the entire planets future since we now know Arizona has plenty of water.

Awinter I think your correct. The desert always wins.

Glad so many commented, including much-missed Soleri.

Reminder to Concern Troll: You are welcome here.

I have to agree with concern troll. After reading Paul Bergerlin's masterful thesis on interbasin groundwater transfers for urban areas I remain convinced that there will be water for the urban west. Arizona, with its current water system, can easily support several million additional metropolitan residents--however, it would come at the complete and utter ruin of rural/agricultural Arizona. It would take the collapse of the American nation state to starve the urban west of water--and that's a worst case scenario if I've ever heard one. If anything, I'd predict a gradual but significant tapering of growth as the costs of the water delivery system rise, but nothing so catastrophic as starving phoenix of water. By 2050, I could see a PHX/Tucson megaopolis--with nothing but empty desert surrounding it for hundreds of miles on each side. I mean, that's if the U.S. still exists in 2050. All bets are off if it doesn't.

CT is right: Phoenix is well supplied with water sources (four reservoirs on the Salt, two on the Verde, and one on the Agua Fria, plus CAP, plus groundwater). But as pointed out there are big problems out in the sticks and it will make it worse for everyone, everywhere in AZ.

Report from out in the sticks.

Yes, we are very concerned about water issues. A recent well had to go 800 feet to hit water.

Per Emil, we have very punitive water rates and they work great. No abusers in our system, otherwise they pay though the nose.

OT: If you look at the face of the disgraced head of the Secret Service you will see the inbred incompetence of the bureaucracy in Washington. It is because of this inbreeding (male and female alike) that nothing can get done at the federal level. (other than wars, since war filters the gene pool)

Over and out from the sticks.

concerntroll, said "Arizona has plenty of water. " The intellectualassassin, agreed but did he or she. Seems the definition of Arizona is Phoenix-Tucson. Arizona does not have plenty of water. I am very familiar with Phoenix and Tucson water situations, as I have been here 64 years. I was one of a four man team that inspected the entire Phoenix water system, as well as some areas of Mesa and Scottsdale after 911. All the way to the pipes that send water from west Phoenix onto the cooling system at Palo Verde. Phoenix has planned well for water. And it has been noted on this blog several times that infill will come and sprawl will die. I do not see Phoenix exceeding 4 million folks.
Pinal County is going to become a big sink hole just as Eloy and Queen Creek have became. And Pima County will barley survive only because of CPA must be filtered stinky water.

Cal from the Twisted Chili bar and cafe in downtown Socorro in a state that wisely has only 2 million folks. And Santa Fe has no high rises and many buildings only one story high.Prefer off the grid try the Ortiz Mountains near Madrid, NM.

It is amazing how getting out of an area or region gives a different point of view. 4 weeks ago I truly moved away from Phoenix, although I had been to Flagstaff for a short period and San Diego, this is the first time I fully moved away, and with that see the vast differences, and ultimately similarities. I am now in the Portland area. As many of you may know, they have a huge initiative in jobs, light rail and sustainability. Funny thing is there is a high amount of criticism about light rail, to the point it was a factor in cancelling a $3 billion Columbia River bridge project. The other similarity besides intense criticism of light rail, is the agendas at work.
To tie into the topic at hand: As was mentioned the recovery of Phoenix and Arizona in general is slow at best, to non-existent. With the kook agenda amongst others stifling the area, perhaps we are seeing a correction of sorts. Between politics, jobs, market developments and other factors being hobbled to an immobile state, our population growth is being slowed. Perhaps that is exactly what needs to happen. With the various economic, environmental and social concerns that face Arizona, and the inability to address them, I think the reality is that a vast realignment will HAVE to happen in order for Arizona to have a meaningful future. If we continue down the current path and cling to agendas in place, we will ultimately encourage a meaningless future.

I do ask one question: as we dig and search the past, is there meaningful existence in Arizona, or just a group of people surviving?

Joe, Portland's light rail is extremely popular and successful. Perhaps the car-dependent suburbs complain, as is their wont.

Now, Vancouver WA is the Alabama of the Northwest and its legislators would be damned if they would support light rail on the Columbia River Crossing. So that helped torpedo it.

The tragedy/insanity is the plenty of Vancouver residents commute to Portland and would have benefited from light rail extending across the river. But bias is very hard to change.

Welcome to the Northwest.

I lived in the valley in the 70s as a teenager, went to Apache Junction HS, have since moved far north to Canada, but continue to find the water rights issues of the region fascinating as well as horrifying.

I'm hoping Jon will review/highlight Judith Nies' brilliant Unreal City soon. For the beginner, Cadillac Desert by Marc Reisner is, of course, the primer and classic byzantine tale of southwestern water chicanery.

I enjoy the writing here. It has the cynical edge of a true Arizonan who knew the place before it was consumed by freeways and golf courses carved out of the side of the Superstition Mountain. Please continue.

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