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Lake Mead falls to lowest water level since Hoover Dam's construction in 1930s

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Stevicus, Jun 12, 2021.

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  1. Water conservation and recycling

    10 vote(s)
    58.8%
  2. Population caps on regions with water deficits

    2 vote(s)
    11.8%
  3. Desalination plants

    6 vote(s)
    35.3%
  4. Cloud seeding

    3 vote(s)
    17.6%
  5. Pipeline from water-rich areas in the east

    3 vote(s)
    17.6%
  6. Dig for water underneath the surface and hope we get lucky

    1 vote(s)
    5.9%
  7. Other

    3 vote(s)
    17.6%
  8. Don't know

    4 vote(s)
    23.5%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    Lake Mead water lowest since Hoover Dam built as shortage continues (usatoday.com)

    Not only is the water shortage critical, it could also affect electricity production by the dam, which serves 8 million people.

    The past 22 year period has been the driest on record, called a "megadrought."

    They're talking about a desalination plant and water recycling projects.

    We tend to use desert landscaping for homes here in southern Arizona, but in places like Phoenix and southern California, everyone wants large lush green lawns, which take up a good deal of water.

    Desalination seems to be the way to go. The article erroneously refers to the Gulf of California as the "Sea of Cortez," but either way, that could be an enormous help if they can start building desalination plants.

    I often wonder why cloud seeding is not being considered. I remember when that was considered a promising way of getting rain, although I haven't heard of it in quite a number of years.

    In any case, something has to be done soon. Each year, the fire season gets worse and worse.

    I also wonder: We have pipelines all over the US to transport oil and gas. Why not a pipeline from the areas which are getting too much water back east and sending it out west? We keep hearing about torrential rains, hurricanes, and floods back east - so they're getting too much water, and we're not getting enough.

    A more drastic measure might be to impose a limit on population. This desert region can't accommodate the number of people who migrate here on a yearly basis.

    Are there any large, untapped caches of water underneath the surface which we can dig for?

    What can be done?
     
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  2. Vee

    Vee Well-Known Member
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    A few years ago I was in Las Vegas with a friend and we visited Hoover Dam. I remember asking my friend why a city that big, that consumed so many resources, was built in a desert. It just didn't make sense.
    I have a feeling that the entire area of Las Vegas and its inhabitants are living in a sort of nature credit. Resources are being taken away from the rivers and lakes in the surrounding area, to feed the ever increasing needs of that population and all the visitors, but the earth's resources are limited and at one point reality kicks in.
    I'm no expert, but I think it's obvious that any potential solution to the water crisis will be extremely expensive. Can water be taken away from somewhere else? Maybe, but how much does it cost to build and maintain the infrastructure for that?
    Limit the amount people consume can be done, but only to a certain degree. There is a certain amount people need for their hygiene and drinking, not to mention watering gardens and other green areas. And I doubt the luxury hotels and casinos are willing to cut down their consumption.
    Authorities might come up with some measures to patch things up and buy some time, but I can't see a long term solution without decreasing the population in those areas. The only way to need less water is to have less consumers.
     
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  3. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    Desalination plants.
    It's unbelievable that science can perform the most amazing miracles and still it is so difficult to create clear water out of the sea...whose waters are inexhaustible.
     
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  4. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    This requires a great legal effort. There is a water pipe story you can read about called the Lake Gaston pipeline. It carries water a mere 76 miles, yet the legal wrangling to get it done is extensive.

    The people who lived near Lake Gaston didn't all wish to lose water. The people in between didn't all wish to make room for a giant pipe, and there were further complications.

    An oil pipeline pays for itself, but a water pipeline is an infrastructure investment. Legal fees for wrangling land for a water pipe comes from taxes and from money raised with certificates or bonds.
     
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  5. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    I answered "I don't know" not for technical reasons but for human reasons. We see and will see wishful thinking and procrastination. We'll see people who refuse to believe there's a problem and fight against doing anything about it.

    There are three technical solutions that might occur in tandem: conservation, desalinization and pipelines but I expect to have mega serious crises first.
     
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  6. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    Cities in the Southwest have grown by leaps and bounds in the past 50-100 years. California has seen the biggest population growth, although Nevada, Arizona, and Utah have also been growing. Las Vegas grew due to the attraction of gambling, although I don't think they realized just how limited the water supply was. The water supply of Lake Mead seemed adequate, but clearly, that was not the case. Even small towns like Lake Havasu and Bullhead City have seen increases in growth.

    Of course, the local politicians and business community have benefited greatly from more people and more businesses moving in - so that's their incentive for encouraging this and allowing cities like Vegas to get so big - even though they're in the middle of the desert. And the Los Angeles metro area is probably the biggest water hog, although they get much of their water from the California aqueduct which flows from the Sierras, although that area is also affected by the same megadrought. That's not enough for them, so they have to tap into the Colorado River as well.

    But I think the only viable solution at this point is what @Estro Felino suggests:

    This is probably it. I don't think we can make water magically appear. Cloud seeding might help in a pinch, but we need clouds to do cloud seeding - and sometimes they're in short supply. Desalination plants are doable, and they'd probably be less expensive than piping water from the other side of the Continental Divide. They'd have to push it over the Rocky Mountains. It's possible, but a major undertaking.

    Here's an article about a desalination plant in California. As Water Scarcity Increases, Desalination Plants Are on the Rise - Yale E360

    Of course, there's also an environmental downside to desalination, as this is also controversial: Controversial H.B. desalination plant seeks final approval – Orange County Register (ocregister.com)

    The article is almost 8 years old, but it points out some of the issues environmentalists have with desalination - although I think these problems can be eventually overcome.

    They're afraid that the intake of sea water could include sea life, and the wastewater from it would have a higher salt content, which could kill off sea life nearby.

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. Lyndon

    Lyndon "Peace is the answer" quote: GOD, 2014
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    Making it illegal to water your lawn would cut water consumption by 70%?? overnight, showers are not the problem, it green lawns.
     
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  8. RestlessSoul

    RestlessSoul Well-Known Member

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    I think this may be true of many places in the world.
     
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  9. Dave Watchman

    Dave Watchman Active Member

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    I voted "Dig for water underneath the surface and hope we get lucky.

    Fountains of the Great Deep

    "In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened."​

    Earth may have underground 'ocean' three times that on surface
    Scientists say rock layer hundreds of miles down holds vast amount of water, opening up new theories on how planet formed

    After decades of searching scientists have discovered that a vast reservoir of water, enough to fill the Earth’s oceans three times over, may be trapped hundreds of miles beneath the surface, potentially transforming our understanding of how the planet was formed.

    The water is locked up in a mineral called ringwoodite about 660km (400 miles) beneath the crust of the Earth, researchers say. Geophysicist Steve Jacobsen from Northwestern University in the US co-authored the study published in the journal Science and said the discovery suggested Earth’s water may have come from within, driven to the surface by geological activity, rather than being deposited by icy comets hitting the forming planet as held by the prevailing theories.

    “Geological processes on the Earth’s surface, such as earthquakes or erupting volcanoes, are an expression of what is going on inside the Earth, out of our sight,” Jacobsen said.

    “I think we are finally seeing evidence for a whole-Earth water cycle, which may help explain the vast amount of liquid water on the surface of our habitable planet. Scientists have been looking for this missing deep water for decades.”

    Jacobsen and his colleagues are the first to provide direct evidence that there may be water in an area of the Earth’s mantle known as the transition zone. They based their findings on a study of a vast underground region extending across most of the interior of the US.

    Ringwoodite acts like a sponge due to a crystal structure that makes it attract hydrogen and trap water.

    [​IMG]

    If just 1% of the weight of mantle rock located in the transition zone was water it would be equivalent to nearly three times the amount of water in our oceans, Jacobsen said.

    Earth may have underground 'ocean' three times that on surface

    Huge Underground "Ocean" Discovered Towards Earth's Core

    Four hundred miles beneath North America, Schmandt and Jacobsen found deep pockets of magma, which indicates the presence of water. However, this isn’t water in any of the three forms we are familiar with. The pressure coupled with the high temperatures forces the water to split into a hydroxyl radical (OH) which is then able to combine with the minerals on a molecular level.

    This water, which is bound up in rock, could indicate the largest water reservoir on the planet. It is
    believed that plate tectonics cycle the water in and out, and the water affects the partial melting of rock in the mantle.

    "When a rock with a lot of H2O moves from the transition zone to the lower mantle it needs to get rid of the H2O somehow, so it melts a little bit," Schmandt said. "This is called dehydration melting.” After the rock melts, the researchers say, the water becomes trapped in the transition zone, creating a reservoir.

    In March, a paper published in Nature from a different research group used a series of techniques including x-ray diffraction and infrared spectroscopy to confirm that a ringwoodite sample (the first to ever come from within the Earth and not just created in a lab) had a had a water content above one percent. This quantity matches what has been predicted by Schmandt’s experiments. Earth’s mantle is so vast, that if 1% of the material in the transition zone is actually water, it would represent a reservoir three times larger than all of Earth’s oceans combined.

    Huge Underground 'Ocean' Discovered Towards Earth's Core


    [​IMG]

    ScienceShot: Diamond Suggests Presence of Water Deep Within Earth


    Imperfections can reduce a diamond's value to a jeweler, but they may render it priceless to a geologist. Take the tiny speck in the diamond above; too small to be visible to the naked eye, it could help settle a long-standing debate about the amount of water in Earth's mantle. Down to about 400 km below the surface, the mantle is mainly a mineral called olivine, which does not absorb water.

    However, below this, the immense heat and pressure cause the olivine to adopt different chemical structures, one of which is called ringwoodite, which laboratory tests have shown can contain up to 2.5% water. The chemical structure of the diamond above, unearthed by magma pushing its way to the surface in the Juina district of Brazil, shows that it was formed more than 400 km deep. Under a microscope, the researchers spotted a 40 micrometer crystal trapped inside the diamond called an inclusion. Spectroscopic analysis showed this to be ringwoodite.

    Further analysis detailed online today in Nature shows the ringwoodite contains hydrogen-oxygen bonds, which suggests the crystal lattice contains at least 1.4% water. The place where the diamond was produced may not be typical of the entire lower mantle, but if it is then there could be a lot of water down there.

    https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2014/03/scienceshot-diamond-suggests-presence-water-deep-within-earth
    Peaceful Sabbath.
     
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  10. Dave Watchman

    Dave Watchman Active Member

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    This may be true on the planetary scale.

    As the land, the Earth, will vomit out it's inhabitants.

    "Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants.​

    More virulent avian flu strain propagating in Estonia, other countries
    News
    BNS, ERR News
    09.06.2021 09:15

    [​IMG]
    Avian flu affects and infects wild birds and domesticated birds alike. Source: ERR

    A highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of avian influenza, one which can be transmitted to other animals and birds, has been detected in Estonia, the Agricultural and Food Board (VTA) has announced.

    Avian flu outbreaks had already been reported earlier in the year, but strictly affected and infected birds, wild and domestic.

    The spring spread of the virus has not slowed down with the end of the spring nesting season, and outbreaks are also present in neighboring countries, particularly the highly pathogenic H5N8 and H5N1 strains, which have been detected in foxes in Holland and seals in the U.K. and Sweden.

    "The transmission of the virus to mammals is certainly worrying because it indicates that the virus is mutating and is spreading and adapting better. The VTA is to test foxes hunted or found dead for avian influenza, to get an idea of whether the virus is also being transmitted to mammals in Estonia," Sammel added.

    More virulent avian flu strain propagating in Estonia, other countries

    Peaceful Sabbath.
     
  11. It Aint Necessarily So

    It Aint Necessarily So Well-Known Member
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  12. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    1. Come on people. There are more than immediate effects. There are ramifications, unexpected consequences, blowback, effects of effects. Consider a wider perspective; forest vs trees, &c.
    2. The biosphere comes first. People come second.
    3. The world thrived for millions of centuries without people. People will not thrive with a radically altered biosphere.
    4. We need nature. Nature does not need us.

    5. Water conservation and recycling -- Sounds reasonable. Maybe impose progressive price increases for usage above a certain per capita allotment.

    6. Population caps on regions with water deficits-- It's beginning to look like nature itself is going to be imposing population caps. Less rain, diminishing aquifers, increasing heat. Many regions are likely to become unlivable.

    7. Desalination plants -- Could be environmentally catastrophic. The oceans are already overfished, polluted, eutrophied, acidifying -- basically dying. Should we be wiping out more species by increasing regional salinity levels with concentrated brine effluent?
    8. Some species are tough, and can adjust easily to changing salinity. Others are exquisitely sensitive even to minute chemical or temperature changes,

    9. Cloud seeding -- Google it. Look at some of the chemicals involved.
    10. Cool the atmosphere with dry ice (CO2)? Isn't CO2 one of the causes of the climate change we're trying to counter?
    11. Silver salts? -- expensive, and silver's an antiseptic, ie: it kills microbes. It will affect soil bacteria, fungi, nematodes, insects, &c, which will have widespread affects on all the other flora and fauna that are ecologically dependent on these.
    12. Urea? Ammonium nitrate? -- fertilizers? These eutrophy (eutrophicate?) soil and water, and can have massive ecological impacts. We already have fertilizer induced dead zones, toxic algal blooms, red tides, &c. Soil microbiota, vegetation, &c are already stressed. Sprinkling them with bio-crack will have unknown biomic impact.
    13. Salt? (Maybe we could get it cheap, from the desalinization plants ;).) What effects will salting soil and lakes have? Unknown.

    14. Pipeline from water-rich areas in the east -- Possible, but it sounds like a lot of expensive infrastructure and multiple water-wars. The piped water will be costly and likely rationed.

    15. Dig for water underneath the surface and hope we get lucky -- We already have -- and we were lucky.
    16. The reason the Great Plains and California's Central Valley are America's Breadbasket is because of groundwater and, in some places, diverted rivers. Have you flown over mid-America? Those giant green circles are all the result of tapped aquifers. These are being mined way faster than their recharge rate, and the cost of ever deeper wells is becoming untenable for many farmers. The Disappearing Ogallala Aquifer > Rapid Climate Change

    17. The crux of the problem, of course, is population impact. Per capita water -- and most other "resource" usage -- has increased significantly, as has the population dependent on them.
    18. There were a little more than 2B people in the world when I was born; the population's now pushing 8B. One lifetime -- and I ain't dead yet. That has an impact.
    Why do all these line numbers keep appearing? I didn't put them there -- and I can't seem to erase them. Advice?
     
    #12 Valjean, Jun 12, 2021
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2021
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  13. esmith

    esmith Veteran Member

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  14. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    One "other" I like to mention is to accept anthropogenic climate change as a reality and seriously start doing something against it.
     
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  15. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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  16. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    Rarely. Although the water that leaves a really good sewage treatment facility is perfectly drinkable, there would be major protests if it was directly fed into the drinking water system. For most people it feels really icky.
     
  17. Shaul

    Shaul Well-Known Member

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    California needs a rational water policy. There hasn’t been a new dam built in decades while the population keeps growing. Instead California has actively removed dams. Desalination isn’t a practical solution. It could help some but it certainly is no panacea. Meanwhile instead of storing water California mismanages its water and lets it run directly into the ocean.

    It root problem isn’t water. The problem is in competent policies and ignorance.
     
  18. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    But isn't removing dams usually a good thing? (Surveys say: four out of five salmon agree). Aren't we doing it because the negative ecological consequences of the dams are finally being realized? Isn't maintaining a functional ecosystem a good thing? Wasn't submerging the Hetch Hetchy valley a bad thing?

    We need to think beyond our own species' immediate interests.
     
  19. Shaul

    Shaul Well-Known Member

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    Retrofitting dams to be more efficient and less hazardous to the environment is better.
     
  20. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    Yes, "less hazardous" is better, but non-hazardous is would be best.
     
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