Apr 9 2014
An engineer in Central Texas sent me an email today. There is little doubt
the difference between politicians and engineers is different in Texas. Here is what he had to say:
I really enjoyed your book “Water Shock.” You are concerned about water
availability in Southern California. We are experiencing significant water
issues in Central Texas. Our highland lakes areat an all-time low. We are on stage 2 water restrictions.
That is, we can only water our lawns or wash cars once a week. This year we are behind the
average rainfall. Thus, I expect stage 3 waterrestrictions this summer. Furthermore, Austin is the fastest growing cityin the country.
I think that the city council should consider holding building permits. It appears that engineers are the mostconcerned individuals in the city.
On the other hand,the politicians want to grow the tax base. We may be experiencing some of the “Water Shock”issues.
Although, I am quick to say,Texas is doing something about their water problems, but not fast
enough. They have pushed through a two billion dollar water bond to shore up
their water infrastructure while California literally dips their toe in the
water (couldnt help myself) by throwing a few million dollars at the
problem, jaw-boning their way to secure one more term in whatever political
seat they hold.
When the taps go dry, as they will, most of the water policy makers and
implementers who can really do something will be long gone. It will be the
water consumers that will be left holding an empty bucket.
Water rights? When the aquifers are so low they can’t be pumped or are so
salty the water is useless, and the streams die out before they reach their
deltas, water rights will be moot.
Then, as the folks in Water Shock do, the migration to where the water is
will be underway .slowly at first and then as history tells us, faster and
faster until whole regions once thriving will have lost their economic base.
Is there time to correct this disastrous direction? Yes, but it is growing
shorter and shorter the longer the droughts go on. Just as John Weslely
Powell told an irrigation congress in Los Angeles at the close of the 19th
century,” Even if you catch every drop, it will not be enough in this arid
land“. He was talking about the US west of the 100th meridian.
By Milt Burgess • Blog • 0 • Tags: augmentation, California Aqueduct, Colorado River, conservation, Direct, El Nino, La Nina, MWD, precipitation, rainfall, SDCWA, State Water Project, water infrastructure, water Storage