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depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-29-10 09:23 AM
Original message
Klamath Basin's water worries extend to wells
Edited on Sun Aug-29-10 09:25 AM by depakid

About three-quarters of Klamath Basin fields are still in production this summer, officials estimate. A wheel line sprinkler is a big upgrade from the flood irrigation of old, but not as efficient as more costly models. A restoration agreement signed this year counts on more federal money to help improve agricultural efficiency.

MERRILL -- During the last big drought crisis in the Klamath Basin, in 2001, Carleton Farms filed for bankruptcy. Nine summers later, amid drought crisis No. 2, heavy pumping of wells that Jim Carleton and his neighbors installed since 2001 is saving his bacon, or, more precisely, his alfalfa, potatoes, wheat, cattle and 12 employees who

As a Merrill councilman who oversees public works, Carleton also experienced the downside of this year's unprecedented well use. In June, after Merrill's wells ran dry, the town trucked in water for days and spent upward of $25,000 lowering its wellhead.

Since 2001, the government has paid some basin farmers to irrigate with well water when the weather turns dry. Gov. Ted Kulongoski's drought declaration in May allowed 89 one-year emergency wells this summer on top of 177 permanent wells sunk on the Oregon side of the basin during the past nine years.

But this year's pumping, roughly double previous highs, shows the limits of that strategy for resolving Oregon's most politically fraught water war. The extra draw has lowered well water levels 30 feet in spots.

The aquifer also isn't close to recharging from greater well use since 2001, according to a U.S. Geological Survey study released in April -- before this summer's heavy pumping began.

Underground supplies aren't tapped out, Carleton notes. After going deeper, Merrill now has plenty of water. "But people are putting a lot of pumping strain on the aquifer," Carleton says during a slow "farmer speed" drive through his fields. "Will it hold up? Time will tell."

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msongs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-29-10 09:34 AM
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1. people who squander their most valuable resource will pay the price eventually. oh well nt
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Nihil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-31-10 05:09 AM
Response to Reply #1
9. Not really ...
> people who squander their most valuable resource will pay the price eventually.

Like most of these "infinite resources" adherents, the ones who are wasting
the resources now will simply get the profit: it is the following generations
that will pay the price.

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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-29-10 09:43 AM
Response to Original message
2. The Romans built aqueducts to bring water where it was needed.
We have places that flood. We collect none of that water. We have places with drought re-using toilet water.

Why has it never occurred to us to move the damn water? We have pipelines for gas.

And a public works project like that would take how many workers?
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depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-29-10 10:25 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. I've always found it "impressive" that water intensive crops like alfalfa are favored in the region
Cross the Cascades into say, the Scott Valley, west of Mt. Shasta -that's one thing.

In the Klamath Basin rain shadow- it makes a whole lot less sense.
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NickB79 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-29-10 12:07 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. Where would we be moving water from?
I live in the Midwest, and there have been calls to build a water pipeline from the Great Lakes to the Southwest US. All I can say is that such a pipeline would make a damn fine target for shooting holes in.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-29-10 10:40 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. Um, what?
Methinks you are unfamiliar with the politics of the region.
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droidamus2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-29-10 11:31 PM
Response to Reply #2
7. Sounds good but...
It doesn't really solve the problem it just moves it. Look at the California Water Project it takes North Coast (yes some of it that would be destined for the Klamath River) and sends it to the farmers in the Central Valley. If they don't use it all they sell it to Southern California. So you have collected the water from the rainier area and sent it to the naturally dryer area. What happens when the north coast doesn't get as much rain. Basically they get screwed because those farmers have much more economic and political clout and they will insist on getting their shipments. So the Central Valley farmers are then happy but the Indian Tribes and fishermen on the North Coast get screwed. The best solution is don't try to grow crops in a desert (okay South East Oregon my not be a total desert but it is obviously a fairly arid environment) or if you are going to grow in that environment find a crop that is appropriate for that climate.
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happyslug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 07:36 AM
Response to Reply #2
8. Roman Aqueducts all went downhill
Now the Romans did get water to go uphill in places, but even these areas the general flow was downhill. What the Romans would do is create some sort of seal pipeline, generally clay but sometimes lead, and then set it down one slope and then up another. The Second slope was NEVER higher then the first. In such situations "water will find its own level" i.e. Water coming in the up hill part of the pipe will go through the pipe, down to the valley flow and then up the next slope, BUT only if the second slope peak was lower then the first slope. This is still done when it comes to water, but like the Romans can ONLY occur in some sort of seal system i.e. a pipeline.

The biggest problem is Where the water is (and where we want it to be) AND getting it to that location. Northern California, Washington and Oregon have plenty of water. Central California has been the source of water for Southern California since about 1900, but is about peaked out, it is marginal when compared to Northern California, Washington and Oregon but fairly easy to move to Southern California.

The big problem is getting the water From the Pacific Northwest (Northern California, Oregon and Washington) AND the American Midwest (The Great Lakes Area) to Southern California and the American Southwest(Nevada, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico). You are talking about a huge distance AND having to go up and over Mountains. That is a HUGE expense just to build the system AND given that you have to go over mountains a huge expense to operate. Who is going to pay for this? The expense is so high you can NOT hide it in a budget approbation and sooner or later it will come to users must pay, and Southern California and the American Southwest do NOT have the population to pay for the operation of the system let alone building it.

Just pointing out pumping water from the American Northwest and the Great Lakes have been kicked around since the 1960s, and has died once anyone looks at the costs. This will happen again unless Southern California and the American Southwest is will to pay for the project themselves. I do NOT believe they have enough money to do so and never will given the lack of population. Thus such dreams will persist for the simple reason it is unobtainable.

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pscot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-29-10 10:10 AM
Response to Original message
3. What,me worry?
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