Jun 4 2014
On Sunday June 1st, a ninety-one year-old marathon runner, Harriette
Thompson, set a new world record, running a marathon in her age class, in
7:07:42. It is an astounding feat that encourages all of us. Much has
changed since she was born in 1923. Technological advances have generally
made all of our lives better, especially in the United States. But here is
the rest of the story
A law of physics states for every action, there is an opposite and equal
reaction. We see that in many forms, usually in a positive sense. When FDR
and the contractors built the mighty Hoover Dam and many others along the
Colorado River, they did it with the best intent. The opposite action in
this instance was the utter destruction of the Colorado River Delta., within one person’s lifetime.
In the years before our 91 year-old marathon runner was born, the Colorado
River delta in Mexico extended over two million acres, an area almost the
size of Rhode Island, rich with nutrients brought downriver with tons of
silt. In 1922, the conservationist Aldo Leopold and his brother explored the
Colorado River delta by canoe. Leopold “exulted in all the wealth of fowl
and fish . . .in this milk-and-honey wilderness as his canoe wove through
winding waterways and green lagoons. The two subsisted on quail and geese
they harvested. Beaver, deer, and jaguar flourished, while shrimp and the
totoaba migrated from the upper Gulf of California to spawn in the deltas
brackish waters. Millions of waterfowl and shorebirds could be seen
circling, then descending to feed and rest in the lagoon”. Leopold’s essay,
The Green Lagoon, ia in his book A Sand County Almanac, published in 1949. It
gives a description of the delta as it was then. The area is called Cienega
de Santa Clara.
There is hope the Colorado River Delta will someday be restored. Sandra
Dibble wrote on June 2, 2014 in the UT San Diego:
“LAGUNA GRANDE, Baja California Something remarkable has been happening in
this thirsty desert region south of the U.S. border: The Colorado River once
again has been connecting to the sea.
This is no act of nature. The flow has been the result of years of planning
and high-level negotiations between the United States and Mexico under a
landmark agreement known as Minute 319.”
How can this be, in the middle of drought that we are dumping water to renew
the Delta, when the Colorado River is over-drafted now and actually
diminishing in annual flow? Its complicated.
The point of this blog is to not only encourage those who have worked so
hard to actually bring Minute 319 to reality, but to extend that effort by
reducing the impact San Diego County has on the River. It is within the
reach of those who have the duty and responsibility to reduce our dependence
on the Colorado River. Currently sixty-three percent of the water flowing
into San Diego County comes from the River. How do we reduce that number?
Well, that is not complicated…..by engineering and constructing indirect
potable recycling using the San Vicente Reservoir. The May 10 County Grand
Jury report shows the way. There is ample evidence we could in a first phase
recycle one hundred million gallons a day. That would reduce our dependence
on the Colorado by that much. Why isnt this happening?
Talk to the San Diego City Council (and the surrounding cities) and the San
Diego County Water Authority. They are charged with providing a safe,
reliable water supply. We still import eighty percent of our water from
hundreds of miles away subject to natural disasters and capricious courts.
Isnt it time to get the water policy makers and implementers off of their collective rear ends and into action?
If Harriette Thompson lives another few years, as her brother did, perhaps
when she is running up the steps to Heaven, the Colorado River Delta will be
flourishing like Aldo Leopold and his brother found it in 1922.
By Milt Burgess • Blog • 0 • Tags: augmentation, California Aqueduct, Colorado River, conservation, El Nino, La Nina, MWD, precipitation, purification, rainfall, residential water user, SDCWA, State Water Project, water rate hike, water Storage