Drought is over (says local water authority)

Scientists cast doubt on that assertion

The San Diego County Water Authority's board of directors today (January 26) declared that the drought is over. The board urged governor Jerry Brown and the State Water Resources Control Board to rescind statewide emergency water-use regulations for areas of the state no longer in drought conditions, such as San Diego.

Heavy local rainfall, record-setting precipitation in the Northern Sierra, and a very good snowpack in the upper Colorado River basin convinced the county water authority board to call an end to the drought.

As of January 23, San Diego's official rainfall measurement station at Lindbergh Field had recorded 172 percent of average rainfall since the start of the water year on October 1. The water content of snow in the Sierra Nevada was 193 percent of normal as of January 23. Snowpack levels in the upper region of the Colorado River were 161 percent of average.

Telling citizens they have to conform to emergency conditions when the conditions no longer exist hurts the credibility of water officials, says Mark Muir, chairman of the water authority's board. On the other hand, some scientists believe the drought could last decades and calling an end to it after a few months of above-average rainfall may breed apathy.

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Water conservation should always be the way in any city build on a desert.

MichaelValentine: In the past, droughts have lasted a century. During the 100 years, there could have been periods of heavy rains. From a short-term perspective,the drought may be over, but not from a long-term perspective. Best, Don Bauder

MichaelValentine: San Diego is in a semi-desert. One should always be on guard for a long-lasting drought. Best, Don Bauder

ImJustABill: Again, it depends on the perspective. Best, Don Bauder

No it doesn't. It depends on common sense and actually looking at data in a reasonable manner and having a reasonable definition of drought.

A reasonable definition of drought would mean that after a couple of years of above average precipitation the drought is over.

The drought is over. Anyone who says otherwise has some kind of agenda.

ImJustABill: Again: you have to separate the short term from the long term. You also have to separate the practical from the impractical.California citizens took the andi-drought mandates quite well. Some should be kept in place.Best, Don Bauder

Isn't there some middle ground between the draconian restrictions imposed statewide and a total relaxation? Here in SD County, we may have been very dried out, yet we weren't at a stage of lacking enough water to get by. We have paid dearly for all the upstream reservoirs and for the new Carlsbad desal plant, just so that we would not suffer unduly in a drought. But Brownie decided that we would be lumped into the same sort of limits as the driest areas of the state.

We should now be able to relax a bit; but the idea of conserving water needs to become a way of life. The current water limits should be saved for real emergencies and not what we have now. To continue these restrictions in the middle of downpours is like the boy who cried wolf when none were there. When there was a wolf, nobody believed him.

Visduh: Agreed. Preserving water should be a way life in a semi-desert such as San Diego County. But at the time like the present, there could be a relaxation of draconian rules. Best, Don Bauder

Letting people have the ability to purchase or sell resources on the free market should be a way of life in a free society. If I want to water my driveway I should be allowed to do it as long as I pay for it. What the heck happened to freedom?

ImJustABill: In emergencies, we all may have to sacrifice freedoms. Best, Don Bauder

It's not an emergency. 3 years ago you could make that argument - not now. If it were a true emergency the state would be restricting agriculture - which uses far, far more water than urban users.

ImJustABill: Most parts of California have had a respite from a severe drought. But is drought over? Maybe for the short term, but we have to look at the long term, too. Best, Don Bauder

Steve Trujillo: And the earthquakes in Oklahoma are punishment for stupidity. Best, Don Bauder

Assuming that the biblical story of the flood was true, I think many CA leaders would have told Noah that he was in a drought until there was 41 days of rain.

ImJustABill: I am unfamiliar with biblical stories. Sorry. Best, Don Bauder

Well supposedly it rained for 40 days and 40 nights non-stop.

I think some of the CA authorities would have still said there was a drought going on.

ImJustABill: And they might have been right --over the long term. Best, Don Bauder

the rates will still go up to cover the water processing ( conversion) plants no matter what.

Murphyjunk: Those plants can't be abandoned. Best, Don Bauder

years ago the first one in the county was sold for scrap when it did not pay off.

Murphyjunk: From what I have heard, the one in Carlsbad is working fine. Is it producing enough to be worth the money spent on it? That I don't know. Best, Don Bauder

This Region has some of the Dumbest "Leaders" I have experienced in my lifetime. They treat the Drought and Water Supply like young sailors on shore leave in a foreign port flush with their newly issued paychecks and looking for a place to blow every single penny.

California is in "permanent drought status". California, especially Southern California, is basically a desert with water pumped in to make it more liveable. The State has close to 40 million people. Its rainfall is not enough(averaged over many years) to support its population especially when you take into consideration its "water intensive agricultural industry". Until California gets on the ball and builds 10-20 Desalinization plants off the coast, then it will never have enough water. California has just one "above average rainfall year" sandwiched in with 5 Severe Drought years and it is time to call the drought over?! Please!!

Conservation and technological advances have saved many millions of gallons of water per year in California...enough so that California is using the same amount of water it used 20-30 years ago with a population that has more than doubled.

SportsFan000:I agree with the spirit of your statement but can't bless your numbers, simply because I don't know. Best, Don Bauder

Don...Have read numerous articles on it...Conservation and technological advances has allowed California's population to go from 17-18 million in the 1970's to close to 40 million in 2016 with continuing drought cycles and no increase in rainfall and water supply from natural sources..

SportsFan0000: But the question remains: Is California overpopulated given the worst possible water scenarios for the next century? I would say yes. Best, Don Bauder

The ground water tables, water that California has relied on heavily in the 5 year ongoing drought, have fallen to the lowest levels in decades and replenishment has not happened yet....

SportsFan0000: There is no question about it. Arizona, Las Vegas, and Southern California have all let their populations rise too high for the amount of water they will need in the future. Best, Don Bauder

And, there are ongoing/pending legal battles about water rights to the Colorado River with Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, California and others involved..

SportsFan0000: And there are other water battles, too. Best, Don Bauder

SportsFan0000: Californians should always be conservative on such questions. We don't know if the drought is over, but for the sake of future generations, we should plan as if it might be.

The same is true of climate change. We don't know for sure that human activity is responsible for temperature increases and icebergs melting while oceans rise. But for the sake of future generations, we should plan as if it is. Best, Don Bauder

California Drought is probably not over...if you look at the California rainfall cycles over 5-10 years...this year may be an aberration in higher than normal rainfall.

SportsFan0000: Again, it depends what time span you are talking about. Best, Don Bauder

The population has little effect on water usage because urban and residential users don't use much water. Argiculture uses 4X as much water as urban users.

ImJustABill: Yes, in California, agriculture gets more than its share of water. On the other hand, ag is important to the state economy. Best, Don Bauder

SportsFan0000: San Diego is in a semi-desert. Best, Don Bauder

I don't understand what happened to my earlier post, but this is a culture characterized by excess, not frugality.

Drought and water supply are not the same.

Even in "wet" years, the water supply is limited. But we keep on adding water meters as if we can or will pay five to ten times as much for processed poop and seawater to satisfy those who will never be satisfied.

Conservation efforts primarily help to reinforce the illusion of plenty so that more and more development can be done while the rest of us face tighter and tighter restrictions.

We have a drought every year; it's called summer.

Flapper: San Diego intends to keep residential development continue even if the drought continues. Best, Don Bauder

Big Water wants to profit from every drop of water in CA as much as they can! They fight any additional projects that will increase our supply (unless it is owned by them) by claiming that these projects will hurt our Climate/Ecosystem! At the same time Nestle (and others) pay almost nothing to pump huge amounts of water out of the ground, bottle it, then ship it so that it can be sold both inside and outside CA at a giant markup, not to mention the plastic bottle waste! If CA voters want to do anything beside just continuing to enrichen Politicans and Big Water, we need to limit how much potable water is being sold by Big Corp.'s by putting a per bottle tax on the water so that the tax can then be used to increase our water storage capacity statewide! By creating this CA "additional" capacity, this water would be available for use statewide without Big Water claiming control of it. This would be like installing additional Solar generation and adding the energy into the grid. More on the cost of Water here: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs...

Founder: I have looked into the problems caused by Nestle and other companies, but this is the first time I have heard the words "Big Water." Best, Don Bauder

Meanwhile, Nestle and other bottled water companies were caught stealing millions of gallons of water per year from California National Parks for almost free?! What happened with that Don?! Is that still going on?! Were the companies ever held accountable?! Fines?! Cut off?! Etc?!

SportsFan0000: I simply don't know. I must have been absorbed in something else when that happened. Best, Don Bauder

Someone posted a good point with the anology to the "boy who cried wolf" story.

I don't find the CA water authorities credible. Instead of trying to improve water storage facitilies and updating antiquated water distribution laws they push draconian restrictions which make sound good have little overall effect (watering driveways, no showers at the beach, etc).

There is no wolf.

ImJustABill: Actually, a lot of money has been spent on water delivery in Caifornia. Best, Don Bauder

Not to worry, we're gonna be paying 500 to 1,000 percent more for drinking our own poop water. "Cleansed," of course, but do malfunctions happen? Can hormones be removed? Other contaminants?

Let them drink mimosas . . .

Flapper: Yes, malfunctions happen. That's one reason I am queasy about drinking water coming from wastewater. It's also a reason I am skeptical of self-driving cars. Best, Don Bauder

I suspect horse and buggy riders were skeptical of automobiles.

ImJustABill: Of course they were! Whenever an auto drive was in a ditch, or the driver was changing a tire, or trying to fix the engine, observers shouted gleefully, "Get a horse!"Best, Don Bauder

John Oliver. Shucks. I have always wanted to be first in something. Now I can't even take credit for writing the dumbest thing ever seen on the internet. Best, Don Bauder

"Until California gets on the ball and builds 10-20 Desalinization plants off the coast, then it will never have enough water." --SportsFan

A scientist at Lawrence-Livermore Laboratory says that just to provide California cities (as they now exist) with desalinated water, a plant would have to be built every four miles along the coast. Presumably additional ones would have to be built between those as the cities' populations increased over time.

Flapper: If we build a desalination plant every four miles along the coast, what happens to that nuclear waste from San Onofre being stored near the water on the coast? Best, Don Bauder

That's assuming that future desalination plants won't provide any more water than the Carlsbad plant. What data or analysis does this scientist provide indicating that the Carlsbad plant is producing some sort of theoretical maximum? It would seem to me that the in theory the upper limit to the water from a desalination plant would be quite high.

ImJustABill: I would guess that future desalination plants will provide more and more water, just as solar panels have improved through the years. Best, Don Bauder

And oh, yeah, PRESENT estimates are that the cost (not the fees charged) of desalinated water are about eight times the cost to deliver water project water.

Flapper: "The rain in Spain falls mainly in the plain." War with Spain? Don't suggest it to The Donald. Best, Don Bauder

Flapper: But I would expect those costs to come down, although still be very high. Best,, Don Bauder

And SportsFan, did you really mean that California should be building desalination plants off the coast, or on the shore? Are you ready to pay $0.015 per gallon for the water to wash off your driveway?

And once we have a desalination plant every 2-4 miles along our coast and have to raise rates enough to finance their continuous maintenance, modernization, and periodic replacement, what will the price be then?

That, of course, after we have intercepted every drop of natural water at its source and no creeks and rivers will flow . . .

Flapper: Future water rates are almost certain to escalate from here. Best, Don Bauder

Our Great God, TECHNOLOGY will BURY us. If it doesn't burn us first.

Flapper: If so, no matter how many hot tech stocks you have in your portfolio, you will still lose in the long run. Best, Don Bauder

I'm sure that as soon as it occurs to him, wee, wee Donny-boy will claim that rising tides can be offset by desalination plants.

If by "escalate" you mean exponential, you are probably right.

This is not a desert, it is a semi-arid, Mediterranean-type climate, while not unique, is one of the rarest climate types in the world.

Flapper: Is there a big difference between a semi-desert and a semi-arid Mediterranean-type climate? Best, Don Bauder

" I would guess that future desalination plants will provide more and more water, just as solar panels have improved through the years. Best, Don Bauder"

Kindly provide the basis for your guess.

Flapper: If my statement is a guess, then there wouldn't be a basis for it, would there be?

Flapper: Mea maxima culpa. I should have said semi-arid climate rather than semi-desert. Best, Don Bauder

"If my statement is a guess, then there wouldn't be a basis for it, would there be?"

So it was a WAG instead of a SWAG?

It's unlikely that the amount of energy required for desalination per unit-yield will decrease. I guess one could make the plants bigger by extending them inland. How much suitable land (not cliffs) exists along the CA coast?

Of course, we could all be using solar stills, but the water has to come from someplace.

The cumulative annual average evapotranspiration for San Diego is about five times greater than our average annual precipitation.

As RR said, "There's no free lunch!"

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