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Report: Dramatic loss of (Calif. Central) Valley watershed

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Newsjock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-14-09 07:21 PM
Original message
Report: Dramatic loss of (Calif. Central) Valley watershed
Source: Fresno Bee

NASA satellites are revealing what many in the San Joaquin Valley already know: The regions underground water table is being depleted faster than it is being replenished.

A report released today says the San Joaquin and Sacramento river watersheds combined have in the last six years lost nearly enough water to fill Lake Mead, the gigantic reservoir on the Colorado River.

The NASA findings were presented today to the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

Read more: http://www.fresnobee.com/1100/story/1748159.html
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sasquatch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-14-09 08:59 PM
Response to Original message
1. Well here's an idea: you shouldn't place large fucking cities in a desert
Fuckin' lizard brains, "Gee, I like it out here, it never rains now excuse while I water the lawn."
:eyes:
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theHandpuppet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 10:48 AM
Response to Reply #1
9. Yep. It's not rocket science.
Yet folks want to drain the Great Lakes to furnish these natural deserts with water.
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sasquatch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 04:26 PM
Response to Reply #9
33. They'll try and do it with with a .45 in the back of their heads
And the business end of a kalashnakovs and m-16 waiting for their mates.
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Mari333 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-16-09 12:05 PM
Response to Reply #9
51. well, thats not going to happen
The Great Lakes states wont allow it. thank goodness.

hey, maybe people will move back here to Michigan?

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junior college Donating Member (290 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 12:58 PM
Response to Reply #1
17. Wrong. It's agribusiness and other industries that suck most of the water
A lot of the food you eat likely comes from that area. It's not just a bunch of people out there watering their lawns.

"The Central Valley is one of the world's most productive agricultural regions. On less than 1 percent of the total farmland in the United States, the Central Valley produces 8 percent of the nations agricultural output by value: 17 billion USD in 2002. Its agricultural productivity relies on irrigation from both surface water diversions and groundwater pumping from wells. About one-sixth of the irrigated land in the U.S. is in the Central Valley.<15>

Virtually all non-tropical crops are grown in the Central Valley, which is the primary source for a number of food products throughout the United States, including tomatoes, almonds,<16><17> grapes, cotton, apricots, and asparagus.

Four of the top five counties in agricultural sales in the U.S. are in the Central Valley (2002 Data). They are Fresno County (#1 with $2.759 billion in sales), Tulare County (#2 with $2.338 billion), Kern County (#4 with $2.058), and Merced County (#5 with $2.058 billion).<1> 2002 Data Sets"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Valley_ (California)#Agriculture
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WriteDown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 01:11 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. Where are the percentages of residential water usage compared to agribusiness?
:shrug:
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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 03:42 PM
Response to Reply #19
31. California's Water: An LAO Primer (with charts)
http://www.lao.ca.gov/2008/rsrc/water_primer/water_prim...
October 22, 2008
California's Water: An LAO Primer

<snip>



* The total amount of water supply available in any given year for dedicated uses varies greatly depending on precipitation levelsfrom about 65 million acrefeet (MAF) in a dry year to about 95 MAF in a wet year. In addition, the allocation of water among urban, agricultural, and environmental uses also varies greatly between wet and dry years.
* Water dedicated for environmental uses, including instream flows, wild and scenic flows, required SacramentoSan Joaquin River Delta (the Delta) outflow, and managed wetlands use, declines substantially between wet and dry yearsa 62 percent reduction.
* Available water supplied to agricultural and urban users actually increases in dry years. From wet to dry years, urban use increases by 10 percent and agricultural use increases by 20 percent. The main reason for this increase is the need in dry years for more developed water for agricultural irrigation and residential landscaping.
* Agricultural and urban uses draw their water from Californias developed water supply. This supply is the amount of precipitation, surface water, or groundwater made available for use, generally through construction of storage or delivery systems. By contrast, environmental uses depend mostly on nondeveloped water supply, such as instream flows.



* Water used for urban and agricultural purposes has generally remained stable, and has even declined at times, even though population has increased. Since the 1980s, the state has enacted multiple conservation measures to assist local entities, mainly cities where the majority of the population lives, in reducing water consumption. These measures have included lowflow toilets, showerheads, and landscape irrigation improvements, and have resulted in decreases in per capita water use in some areas.
* Agricultural water use has also remained relatively stable, as has the amount of acreage used for agriculture, over the last several decades. However, it is anticipated that agricultural water use will decline in future years for a variety of reasons, as discussed on the next page.

<snip>

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WriteDown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 04:38 PM
Response to Reply #31
37. Sweet!
Thanks! I am looking this over.
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Lionel Mandrake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 08:30 PM
Response to Reply #31
43. Thank you.
The LAO has no agenda other than to provide facts for our legislators to ponder. This report contains a lot of information and is unbiased (as far as I can tell).
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NickB79 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 01:37 PM
Response to Reply #17
24. Ok then: you shouldn't place large fucking farms in a desert
Better?
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junior college Donating Member (290 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 01:42 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. Testy? You are slightly more accurate but not better
Large scale agriculture generally has some kind of negative impact no matter where you place it. What we need are more sustainable methods of production.
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NickB79 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 01:51 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. And this article shows that farming in a desert, reliant upon fossil water, is not sustainable
The only way to be truly sustainable in this part of the world with regard to farming is to rely just upon rainfall and very limited irrigation, taking just as much water as is refilled into the aquifers every year. And that would likely make farming in this area uneconomical as yields fall off dramatically. The only way to make something like that work would be to install massive greenhouses like they do in Israel, using every drop of water efficiently.
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junior college Donating Member (290 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 02:11 PM
Response to Reply #26
29. There is plenty of water to sustain agriculture in the Central Valley
including the snow pack, reservoirs and lakes of the Sierras, rain and the water table. Instead, our water is wasted via outdated production methods and is also diverted to Southern California. I know you are probably upset by deforestation for agriculture in other areas and so you want to blame the location. Don't be confused as the Central Valley is one of the best if not the best places to farm crops in the entire world.
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sasquatch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 04:31 PM
Response to Reply #29
35. Then make it an agricultural area
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Melinda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 01:56 PM
Response to Reply #24
27. Oh teh ignorance; it burns!1!11
Or, how the largest freshwater lake in CA was drained by the JG Boswell Corp. thus ruining CA's water supply forever:

The King of California: J. G. Boswell and the Making of a Secret American Empire

http://www.amazon.com/King-California-Boswell-Making-Am...

This meticulous narrative of the rise of the cotton magnate James G. Boswell begins in the nineteen-twenties, when his family was driven from Georgia by boll-weevil infestations and brought its plantation ways to California's San Joaquin Valley. Not to be defeated by nature again, the Boswells leveed and dammed Tulare Lake, the largest body of fresh water west of the Mississippi, to the point of extinction. In its six-hundred-square-mile basin they grew cotton, while in Los Angeles office towers they built one of the country's largest agricultural operations, swallowing small farms and multimillion-dollar subsidies with equal vigor. Arax and Wartzman strive for evenhandedness but acknowledge the costs of Big Agsuch as evaporation ponds with selenium levels so high that ducks are born with corkscrewed beaks and no eyes, and the recurrent "hundred-year floods," stubborn attempts by the old lake to reassert itself.


You're welcome.
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WriteDown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 01:10 PM
Response to Reply #1
18. Time to evacuate southern California....
Your assessment is right on the money.
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sasquatch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 04:28 PM
Response to Reply #18
34. Well most of it at least
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itsrobert Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 06:34 PM
Response to Reply #1
41. Fuckin' lizard brains, "Gee, I talk out of my ass."
The water is going to agriculture, numb nuts.
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sasquatch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 10:10 PM
Response to Reply #41
45. Gee really, cause you know all of that food growing is just wasteful
Better to waste it on some coked up idiot's swimming pool in LA and on other moronic lizard brains that want it so they can grow grass in a fucking desert.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 07:17 PM
Response to Reply #1
42. We get about 45 inches of rain a year here
Dayton gets 39 inches. :P
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sasquatch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 10:19 PM
Response to Reply #42
46. Do you live in Norcal, also our soil is already saturated with water from all the creeks and rivers
The city of Dayton in 1916 had to spend several million dollars in taxes to build gigantic levies throughout the county to prevent flooding throughout the region. Also its cooler so the water doesn't evaporate as fast.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 10:22 PM
Response to Reply #46
47. I am indeed in Norcal
The Sacramento Valley, to be precise. :D
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sasquatch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 10:27 PM
Response to Reply #47
48. So you know the above statement doesn't apply to you
I was in San Jose and San Francisco once, loved it.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 10:48 PM
Response to Reply #48
49. So you went to SoCal and had a good time
Good to hear. I have a lot of friends down that way. :)
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KamaAina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-16-09 12:04 PM
Response to Reply #1
50. California has no large cities in deserts
unlike, say, Arizona or Nevada.

L.A., Orange County and San Diego are in a semi-arid zone, not a desert (it's been raining down there this week, in fact). True, they're too big for the available water supply; that's why they suck up water from the center and north (this was the plot of the classic film "Chinatown").
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sasquatch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-16-09 08:13 PM
Response to Reply #50
54. Same difference
Edited on Wed Dec-16-09 08:13 PM by sasquatch
And San Diego is in the desert.
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maryinthemorn Donating Member (115 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-14-09 11:02 PM
Response to Original message
2. Next up: Water wars.
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katkat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-14-09 11:02 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. there are already water wars all though the West n/t
Edited on Mon Dec-14-09 11:03 PM by katkat
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maryinthemorn Donating Member (115 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-14-09 11:06 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. yes, I lived
in NM last year. Got an earfull of the serious problems out there.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 01:15 PM
Response to Reply #2
22. We've had water wars since we had cities in CA.
Joan Didion writes about it a little in "Where I was From".
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katkat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-14-09 11:02 PM
Response to Original message
3. Agribusiness isn't helping either.
They use a tremendous amount of water.

The root problem is overpopulation. A smaller population, fewer cities in the desert, less BigAgriculture.
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The Stranger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 09:57 AM
Response to Reply #3
7. OVERPOPULATION is the biggest problem we face on the planet.
IT IMPACTS EVERYTHING.
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 10:16 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. Actually, it's not.
Edited on Tue Dec-15-09 10:19 AM by GliderGuider
And I say that as an activist who was convinced that it was THE problem until quite recently.

Then I started doing some thinking and research. The picture I came up with is that population has a direct, proportional impact only on the ecological damage attributable to food production. Don't get me wrong, that's a lot: it includes soil depletion, ground water depletion, the loss of ocean fish, habitat loss both on land and at sea, loss of biodiversity and pollution due to fertilizer runoff.

I wrote about this aspect of the problem in this article.

But when I looked at the Ecological Footprints of countries around the world (that take into account all our activities), I found that they correlated quite well with per capita GDP. Now GDP is a crude proxy for industrial activity, and the USA is still the the world's leader, even with less than 5% of the world's population.

I lay out the case against industrial activity in this article.

Overpopulation is important and we're certainly bursting at the seams, but we would reduce our aggregate impact on the planet a lot more by cutting our consumption than by simply cutting our birth rates. And the USA could take a leadership role in that exercise. They won't, of course, but they could...
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katkat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 11:28 AM
Response to Reply #8
11. Glider
What's going on with the rain forests? How does clearing them compare to greedy Americans? (Honest question, I have no idea and certainly the latter is a very big problem. I am happy to see a lot of blogs from people now trying to get to as little consumption as possible, me too.)
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 12:16 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. The loss of rain forests is a big problem
They store a lot of carbon, and when they are removed the carbon is released into the atmosphere. Also the underlying soil loses its fertility very rapidly when it is exposed. The rain forests also provide a lot of habitat, so deforestation contributes to extinctions.

It's difficult to compare that to the results of North American (and European) consumption, but my feeling is that the latter is still a much bigger problem. Certainly if we cut our consumption it would reduce the pressure on ecosystems around the world, and that would include the rain forests.
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Lionel Mandrake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 02:11 PM
Response to Reply #8
28. I respectfully disagree.
It seems to me that industrialization is inevitable in those places which now have relatively small ecological footprints. Every indication is that what we used to call underdeveloped nations, which we now call developing nations, want their share of the goodies.

Industrialization doesn't happen overnight. It started in Great Britain, with coal mines, water pumps, steam engines, and textile factories. Germany and the USA followed suit in the 19th century. Other large nations were slower or started later, but now many are highly industrialized and other can't wait to catch up. Fighting this trend would be like pushing back the tide.

It follows that population is the key after all. There are examples (e.g., China) of successful population control. Providing information to women and condoms to men can have a significant impact on population. The main obstructions to this common-sense approach are religious and cultural, and they must be overcome if we are to avoid further irreversible damage to the quality of life on this planet.
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 05:44 PM
Response to Reply #28
39. Yes, they do want their share of the goodies.
To the extent that they are successful in acquiring them, the world slides away.

If the whole world achieved the standard of living of Portugal, the ecological damage we're doing to the planet would double. And Portugal isn't that well off.

We can't tell the developing world not to develop, and we can't tell them not to have babies. Estamos tan jodidos.
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The Stranger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 05:08 PM
Response to Reply #8
38. I fucking knew it. We always get the lie that overpopulation is not a problem, but
overconsumption is.

The inescapable fact is that every person born now and overpopulating the planet is going to require more than food produced on the other side of the world that he or she could theoretically eat.

Each and every person born now and overpopulating the planet is going to need transportation (automobiles, buses, trains, airplanes), shelter (building materials, steel, concrete, insulation, roofing, plumbing, lighting, electricity), energy (gasoline, diesel, electricity, coal, nuclear waste), water (draining aquifers, depleting reservoirs, destroying ecosystems), communications (cell phones, land lines, satellite access, internet hookups, computers, screens, materials). All of this is just a start. The question goes far, far beyond food production.

People born in developing nations will demand all of this the same as everyone else, and to think that you can somehow curb this in a way that is effective and quickly and timely enough is simply delusional. That is a fool's errand, and we simply don't have the time.

I suppose that, if you wanted to, you could rail against consumption all you want. But the problem is that the overconsumption group tries to displace the problem of overpopulation. They do it all the time. And, worse, they provide cover for many who actually seek to exacerbate the overpopulation problem for superstitious, religious reasons. There are some even on these message boards.

Be part of the solution, instead of being part of the problem.
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The2ndWheel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-16-09 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #38
52. Everything in parentheses is a want
"Each and every person born now and overpopulating the planet is going to need transportation (automobiles, buses, trains, airplanes), shelter (building materials, steel, concrete, insulation, roofing, plumbing, lighting, electricity), energy (gasoline, diesel, electricity, coal, nuclear waste), water (draining aquifers, depleting reservoirs, destroying ecosystems), communications (cell phones, land lines, satellite access, internet hookups, computers, screens, materials). All of this is just a start. The question goes far, far beyond food production."

Both governments and corporations require more people doing more things in order to function the way we want them to.
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The Stranger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-16-09 04:08 PM
Response to Reply #52
53. Bullshit. Everything in parentheses is what they are going to get.
And if they don't, most of them will die from disease, given the overcrowding and the O V E R P O P U L A T I O N ! ! !

Face it, come to terms with it, accept it. They don't want to become hunters and gatherers again. And they won't.

We don't have the time to play the overconsumption game any more. It failed. It didn't work. The vast majority of people WILL NOT BECOME ASCETICS.
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NuttyFluffers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 02:34 AM
Response to Original message
6. if fucking agribusiness had to be as responsible for water as cities do, this wouldn't happen.
there are pretty much zero restrictions, subsidies, etc. in usage and conservation in the agricultural sector. whereas civic population centers and other industries have far more stringent pressures upon them. farmers in the valley have no incentive or pressure to turn off a water valve that's wasting water straight into a creek, and they're curious why things are getting like this? when the farmers who have 60% controlling share, and who have no responsibility for their water usage, finally have to be responsible for their practices we'll see real change. otherwise, tell us something we Californians didn't know.

we have water. we also have really excellent agricultural land. we also have wasteful assholes who have no interference from governance. guess which is the problem in our situation?
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SpiralHawk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 12:30 PM
Response to Reply #6
13. Time to listen to the call of the land...
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SpiralHawk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 12:30 PM
Response to Reply #6
14. Time to listen to the call of the land...
Edited on Tue Dec-15-09 12:31 PM by SpiralHawk
Wendell Berry thinks so...
http://thecalloftheland.wordpress.com /
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Gormy Cuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 12:46 PM
Response to Reply #6
15. +1. The Central Valley water usage is driven by agribusiness.
Until that is address all the water conservation measures in the cities amount to a drop in the water bucket.
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Lionel Mandrake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 12:58 PM
Response to Reply #6
16. The best kept secret in California
is that most of the water sent southward goes to agriculture, not to cities.

While exhorting city dwellers to stop being so wasteful, the mass media almost never mention agriculture. They show pie charts about percentages of water used in residences. They don't show pie charts comparing residential use with other uses of water.

They don't compare the price of water paid by city dwellers to the price paid by farmers.
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WriteDown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #16
21. It is a great secret...
I'm still waiting on figures and percentages on this.
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WriteDown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 01:12 PM
Response to Reply #6
20. Please post figures on residential water usage vs. agribusiness....
Will be interesting to see the comparison.
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NuttyFluffers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 04:23 PM
Response to Reply #20
32. i am not anyone's google monkey. there are documentaries and gov't stats available.
you are welcome to find them yourself if you are truly interested.

in fact, why don't you help your side discussion by posting any success or dead-ends in your research. once we start to see how you conduct research, we can help you re-tailor your efforts into more productive channels.

we will be waiting, best of luck! :hi:
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WriteDown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 04:37 PM
Response to Reply #32
36. Usually the person who makes the assertion supplies the
evidence. Do you disagree?
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Jax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 06:16 PM
Response to Reply #32
40. Oh snap!
Hilarious and spot on NuttyFluffers, you nailed this.



:rofl:
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Lionel Mandrake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 08:34 PM
Response to Reply #20
44. See post number 31. n/t
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daggahead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 11:21 AM
Response to Original message
10. I don't think you'll see Sean Manitee reporting this ... n/t
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AngryAmish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 01:18 PM
Response to Reply #10
23. Manitees are in Florida, not California
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WhiteTara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-15-09 02:18 PM
Response to Original message
30. some of the farmers there
put out HUGE signs along I-5 that say this drought is the fault of congress. :rofl:
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