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June 14, 2021


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"Humans build their societies around consumption of fossil water long buried in the earth, and these societies, being based on temporary resources, face the problem of being temporary themselves."
Charles Bowden



My advice to youngsters in my family who are in the valley: keep your finances liquid (no pun intended), your holdings light ( real estate, furnishings, etc) and be prepared to exit AZ on short notice. On a scale of 1 to 10, climate and drought concerns are a 9.9 . Crazy politics and crazy leaders are a 3, by comparison of personal risk.

Cal, keep that motorized home gassed up and the tires inflated. We may all be headed to Ruidoso,NM before long.

Thanks Helen but I went to Ruidoso once. That was enough.
If i were 20 years less i might drive to Nogales. Put my motorhome on a train flat bed car and get to almost Guatemala where i would have it floated to Belize.
I once met a retired high iron worker from the state of Washington that did just that. He gave me a ride back in 95 when i was "walking" across America.

Meanwhile, up here in Yavapai County, we keep putting more straws into the ground (record numbers of new home permits, according to my friend who works at Development Services). We're sucking up the groundwater that supplies the base flow of the Verde River, which of course flows into the Salt--the primary water source for Phoenix.

There is currently a die-off of native evergreens and landscape trees around Prescott that people say is unprecedented.

I'm praying for an exceptionally wet summer monsoon season. If we have too many more dry years like this, the population decrease you describe may be due to sacrifices to the rain god.

Prescott should have stopped growth in 1980.
Prescott Valley should have been left to the deer and antelope.
And its ugly.

I'm not conserving water until the municipalities start taking concrete steps to address the fact there isn't enough water for the current madness to continue. "Virtue is it's own reward" is the basic conservation message right now. I'm not taking shorter showers so some developer can use it.

Cal, I was in Prescott this past weekend and couldn't agree more, Prescott Valley may be the ugliest place in AZ. That, and the fact they've turned a state highway into a surface street with stoplights--with no synchronization--so you can spend a half hour to let the ugliness sink in at a leisurely pace.

Go slow
They need your fine money to pave the potholes

Some of you may find this report interesting: Human effects on the hydrologic system of the Verde Valley, central Arizona, 1910–2005 and 2005–2110, using a regional groundwater flow model, https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/sir20135029.

Need a better web site. That didnt work

Cal, if you click "report" it should come up.

I did, said
Page not found

I found it on google

Couple of notes in Arizona Putsch

I suspect that when the daytime temperatures are very often above 125 C for much of the summer, the population will begin to diminish.

Population concerns
125 Farenheit
$500 Utility bills.

Cal, I got the same error when I clicked on it today. Turns out the problem is the period at the end of the link. I had typed it as an end-of-sentence mark but evidently it was interpreted as part of the link. Sorry.

Oil and water per VP Harris
Oil and water per OSS/CIA agent Higgins to reader Joe Turner

The "media" need to fixate on this a little more since the powers that be are mostly ignoring the state's water situation. So many of my fellow Arizonans need to be reminded of diminishing groundwater (as if they even know what that means). I've no descendants to be concerned about so just hope the dehydrated end will be occur after I've left the building.

Ah, the religion of growth brings no sight to the blind.
The idiocies of Manifest Destiny will be buried under decaying human carcasses.
But Bezos and Virgin will be starting anew on destruction of more planets.
There is soming to be said about Hunter/gatherers on behalf of the planet earth. Thomas Malthus may be old school
and Gerard Diamond may be a little weird but maybe they were onto something.

Oops, sorry Jared.

Any conversation about water use in the valley should mention that 72% of it is used by agriculture.

And yeah, people have to eat and all that. Agriculture is important for a growing metropolis, especially if we want to minimize the costs and environmental impact of shipping produce.

Except, a large number of agriculture operations in the state are owned by foreign entities, namely Saudi Arabia. They grow alfalfa here to be exported to feed their cows domestically. The water is so accessible here that it is more cost effective for a foreign entity to grow and ship feed half way across the globe.

We can and should all do our part to conserve water in our homes. But if we’re going to address the issues of water scarcity and a potentially impending megadrought, we need to start pointing fingers at those abusing this limited resource.

Even the local agriculture that is actually of tangible use to us needs work. There are much more eco-friendly growing methods such as hydroponics, but the startup cost involved costs more than pulling from the canals.

I’m not saying we need to boost the price of water to lower demand or anything like that. But as with all environmental policy, we seriously need some oversight on commercial use rather than just blaming consumers for being wasteful. The term “carbon footprint” was invented by British Petroleum to make you feel guilty, after all.

Let's get a couple of things straight. Hardly any agriculture continues in the Salt River Valley proper (or served by the Salt River Project). Also, agriculture can go fallow during droughts, subdivisions can't.

The big problem is sprawl.


Is the problem really sprawl?

Despite our population more than doubling since the ‘80s, water use has actually dropped by around 25%. I’m not debating whether or not it is even sustainable to build a city in a desert in the first place (it’s obviously not). Just pointing out that we could significantly increase our chances of weathering a long term drought if we weren’t using up so much of our water for commercial means.

I am suspicious of anything from the Department of Water Resources, but set that aside.

Destroying shade trees for the sake of more sprawl is not a smart way of weathering climate change.

Of course we shouldn't be allowing wasteful diversion of water. But that includes data centers — huge water hogs. And it includes cracking down on sprawl in the Verde Valley, which steals the SRP's water.

Arizona Sprawl kicked off about 1500 and got a big push on March 18, 1911.
In 2021 its absurdly out of control.
No sprawl would be a high rise population within the boundaries of 7th Street to 7th avenue and Lincoln to Roosevelt. With one road in from the east and the same road out to the west.
I guess if you built it high enough you might get 10 million folks cramed in.
But the what to do for water?
Imho best left a roadless Wilderness

I find the above water resource stats, suspicious. Would like to see more explanations.

Rogue should be gratified that "championship golf" was demonized in the Republic yesterday. Golf is always the punching bag when discussing water issues, but I've not once heard any mention of soccer fields, softball fields, spring training facilities, water parks, (another gargantuan one just approved in Gilbert) public swimming pools and the like.

Since water is one of the larger expenses for golf course operators, they are incentivized to conserve, unlike any of the above.

What has to change is politicians approving anything and everything, no matter what the
impacts on water use or anything else.

@DoggieCombover, George Carlin explains everything wrong with golf in a 3 1/2 minute bit.


Compare golf with the other activities you mention. Soccer fields can accommodate 22 players and referees on a fraction of the size of a golf course. Base/softball fields can also accommodate 24, 18 players and four umpires, on a fraction of the size of a golf course.

Water parks attract thousands, employ hundreds, and in a place like Arizona it would be cruel to live without them. Public swimming pools can accommodate hundreds, if not thousands of people of all ages throughout the day. They're fun for all ages -- and rehabilitative for seniors and the disabled.

Addition to my comment: Base/softball fields also have two base coaches.

You'd be hard pressed to make the argument on an economic basis, golf is a huge industry in AZ, $4+ billion per the Republic article. Sports fields sit idle most of the day on most days, and water parks and pools are closed a good part of the year. Golf courses are used dawn to dusk, by several hundred people at busy courses pretty much every day of the year. They are also excellent mitigation for the urban heat island.

I'm only making the point that golf is always the punching bag--because it's such an easy target--but there is no good reason to single it out as the only facility that needs to be "regulated." DWR wants to mandate a certain water use reduction amount for courses, without irony about all the other water guzzling facilities not discussed.

Carlin is funny, but Robin Williams may take the gold in this vein of humor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcnFbCCgTo4

Bob an Dog, fun posts but no solutions as Arizona drowns in political insanity.

As usual, political logic to the rescue:

AZ republican legislature. AZ republican governor.

Republicans play golf.

Democrats (poor people) use public swimming pools, water parks, ball fields of all types.

AZ solution: build more golf courses.

Problem solved.

Side note: Don't think us folks up in the RIM country aren't trying to do our part to help you folks in the thirsty valley. I just checked the flow gauge for the East Verde river. It's current flow is 0.0 CFS. We'll try to do better. (:-(

@DoggieCombover, look at it this way. Add up the acreage of Arizona's golf courses and any buildings attached to them, like country clubs, resort hotels or golf course community homes.

You've got a significant chunk of Arizona's landmass. If you added them together, they may equate the city limits of Mesa and Chandler.

You could easily get $4 billion in less than a year from the block around the cluster of the Convention Center, Diamondbacks ballpark and Suns arena downtown.

This area, interestingly, would also use far less water despite thousands of people each day using the lavatories, the work crews maintaining the field and cleaning the grounds, and the kitchen staff keeping the commissaries running.

Urban areas (cities and their suburbs) tend to be where the water conservation efforts are more effective and where per-capita water use remains low relative to other uses.

Next door in California, agriculture accounts for 40% of water use. Urban areas account for just 10%. Agriculture is 2% of California's gross state product.


Numbers are from the Public Policy Institute of California, a nonpartisan think tank.

Arizona HAS to change it's culture and adapt a desert mindset in everything it does. Yes that includes the highlands (sorry Flag and ShowLow).

We pump and pump with the 'promise' (fingers crossed) that we will conserve and find new sources of water. That promise was first made in the 1920s and the 40s and 60s and on and on it goes. There is NO NEW WATER SOURCES and that includes desal.

I work in the industry and can tell you the addiction to 'sustainable growth' is akin to the addiction to cocaine or meth or oxy. I give it less than 10 years, probably closer to 5, til we see the whole thing unravel.

Stopping ag pumping won't do it. Cities and counties and other AWS regions in AMAs hide pumping, double dip their pumping.

An example of a true change in our culture would be to move all farming of food products from Pinal to the East Valley to take advantage of the one renewable place we do have: the Salt River. No more alfalfa or crops for foreign entities or mass cattle farms local or otherwise. No more data centers. No more chip manufacturers. No more Red Bull or White Claw groundwater mining operations.

We must start thinking in terms of a planned economy to manage growth or we will be the next Hohokam. They lasted 1000 years. We could last 200 at this rate.

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