Western USA Drought

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Riggerjack
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Re: Western USA Drought

Post by Riggerjack » Sat Jul 18, 2015 10:01 am

WA DOE has put well drilling moratoriums in place in rural stretches of western WA. They do this by watershed, so, no drilling in Kackman creek watershed, etc. Most of the area along HWY 9 north of HWY 2 is under these moratoriums. The "drought" has been used as part of the justification for this. Of course, here, 40 inches of annual rain is drought. Or not enough snowpack. Or the river is low... we've been in drought my full adult life.

Their reasoning is that creeks need a certain volume of water for salmon, so if we stop the increase in ground water removal, we will have more salmon. If we assume every residence uses 350 gallons a day, we can calculate how much lower the stream is by counting houses.

The reality is these are places with no central sewage processing, so all the water used that isn't for irrigation, or washing cars, etc is returned to the ground near the place it was removed. Even the majority of the irrigation/wash water is returned to the ground. We are in a cool enough climate that evaporation isn't a serious concern, most of the time.

This is bureaucratic practice runs for politicizing water rights. There are factions in Western WA who will use any excuse to stop people from living further out on their rural land. There are factions interested in environmental protection, who believe you should live in your urban condo and shut up. There are factions who want to get a bigger slice of the salmon restoration pie. And they all consider DOE a fine tool for achieving those goals.

Mind you, once you have your land, and your well, you aren't likely to care what DOE does at all.

jacob
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Re: Western USA Drought

Post by jacob » Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:26 pm

@Riggerjack - For the next hundred years, you guys up north are only going to be inconvenienced by the lack of snow spacing out the stream flows during the summer. (It's not how much that's the problem ... it's when). A few dams here and there may solve it. If the drought makes it up there, we're all screwed.

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jennypenny
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Re: Western USA Drought

Post by jennypenny » Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:51 pm

jacob wrote:@Riggerjack - If the drought makes it up there, we're all screwed.
Or if the Californians make it up there, you're all screwed. ;)

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Re: Western USA Drought

Post by jacob » Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:56 pm

We'll build a wall around California. That'll do it.

No kidding. Humanity has a long tradition of solving problems with walls.

Riggerjack
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Re: Western USA Drought

Post by Riggerjack » Sun Jul 19, 2015 9:36 am

We have wanted walls to specifically block Californians for decades. Coming up here, complaining about the weather; replacing trees with grass for fear of shade; pushing for changes that didn't work down there; pests of that nature can't be stopped by walls.

Although, maybe after a few decades of drought, they will complain less about the rain.

enigmaT120
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Re: Western USA Drought

Post by enigmaT120 » Tue Jul 21, 2015 4:10 pm

"The reality is these are places with no central sewage processing, so all the water used that isn't for irrigation, or washing cars, etc is returned to the ground near the place it was removed. Even the majority of the irrigation/wash water is returned to the ground. We are in a cool enough climate that evaporation isn't a serious concern, most of the time."

Many years ago I was trying to determine if I did have water rights on my property. That after several years of using them, of course. I called the head guy with the state board that governs that stuff and one of the things I mentioned was that my septic tank put the water back in the ground. He didn't think that was funny. He never would tell me if I had the water rights, but wanted me to fill out a form to submit. Later I found maps on the state web site with all the water rights, and it turns out I have 3: one for a capped well, that even at 463 feet deep turned out to be too slow for ready use, one for my spring which is what I use for my water, and one for the creek that goes through my place. If my spring gets too slow this summer I may need to pump water from the creek into my cistern. Ugh.

Back in the 90s there was one summer when my spring slowed down enough that I hauled water in buckets up from the creek for bathing and flushing toilets. I live in the coast range and there is no snow pack there, just the considerable amount of rain that falls in the winter.

George the original one
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Re: Western USA Drought

Post by George the original one » Tue Jul 21, 2015 4:42 pm

@enigmaT120 - In Oregon, there's a maximum amount of water that you're allowed to draw without water rights for domestic use. Single or group domestic usage for groundwater of up to 15,000 gallons per day [e.g. a 10gpm pump running nonstop] is exempt from permitting. I also see that no water permit is required for "collection and use of rainwater from an artificial impervious surface (like a parking lot or a building’s roof)."

"Note: While these water uses do not require a permit, the use
is only allowed if the water is used for a “beneficial purpose
without waste” and may be subject to regulation in times of
water shortage."

George the original one
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Re: Western USA Drought

Post by George the original one » Mon Jul 27, 2015 6:19 pm

By Sunday, August 1, Portland (Oregon) may hit 23 days over 90F. 25 days of over 90F will set a new record. 2009 was the year the current record was set.

[We're just exiting a week-long break in the heat wave that brought brief intense showers to some locations and light showers to other locations]

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Re: Western USA Drought

Post by jacob » Mon Jul 27, 2015 6:25 pm

What's the corresponding humidity in Portland, OR? Consecutive 90F days at 5% humidity would be nice and you can wear Levis 501 with style... However, ditto at 70%+ humidity would suck a** and kill weak people w/o A/C.

George the original one
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Re: Western USA Drought

Post by George the original one » Tue Jul 28, 2015 11:19 am

~30% humidity when we hit 90F. Today is 66% humidity at 64F with a forecast high of 87F.

bryan
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Re: Western USA Drought

Post by bryan » Wed Jul 29, 2015 2:26 am

George the original one wrote:~30% humidity when we hit 90F. Today is 66% humidity at 64F with a forecast high of 87F.
I think it hit the 80s with ~30% humidity in San Francisco today. Felt brutal.

George the original one
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Re: Western USA Drought

Post by George the original one » Wed Jul 29, 2015 10:10 am

Effects noticed so far...

Wildfires have amazingly not run rampant. Several relatively small human-started blazes. However, there's still a month or two of dry season to go.

Salmon are suffering. Spring chinook had light kills (e.g. 10%?) due to rivers being too warm. Now estimates are that half the sockeye are dying. Have not heard or seen much effect on smolts. Long term effect will likely be poor returns in 2018-2019.

Crop of insects. Little black beetles have shown up around the garden this year and they're new to me. Likely they've always been around, but in small numbers and the weather this year favored them.

Riggerjack
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Re: Western USA Drought

Post by Riggerjack » Wed Jul 29, 2015 8:34 pm

Here in the Puget sound, burn bans have been pretty excessive, but fewer fires than in the past. I have my own well, a full size backhoe, and I still have to have a 10 foot clearance from vegetation to burn a charcoal BBQ. Drier counties have banned charcoal entirely. Well, I have forested land, and displaced Californian neighbors, so it's probably for the best.

I'm having friends over for a all day shooting festival in the back gully, and since there will be some black powder guns, I will be heavily watering down there. Black powder always has burning bits of wadding, unburnt powder, etc; so watering will be a good idea. Other than that we only watered our transplant rhodies this year. Dry years will kill off the weak vegetation making room for something more robust. It should thin the alders and make room for more conifers.

WA state only recently caved on rainwater catchment rights (proof that sometimes, hippies can have a positive impact!) WA DOE has had the concept of state ownership of water ingrained in the culture for decades. All wells must be metered. Nobody is checking meters, yet...

WA DOE does have their well logs online, in case anyone is interested in rural WA land, you can see the depth and ratings of your neighbors' wells, for an idea of expense.

enigmaT120
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Re: Western USA Drought

Post by enigmaT120 » Thu Jul 30, 2015 1:21 pm

Oregon's well logs are on line, too (same page as the water rights). That's how I know so much about my unused well. I'm glad I didn't pay for it.

George, I dunked in my creek yesterday and it's still friggin' cold. That's an example of a river that's still running through forest land rather than the ag land down on the valley bottoms. Anadromous fish (I think I spelled it wrong, but my spell check wants to change it to "androgynous".) can't make it up to my creek to stay cool because the Falls City falls make a very effective natural fish barrier, but at least there's some cold water going into the river system.

No way am I doing any shooting on my property. There have been several fires in my area caused by shooting, and not all of them involved a .50 caliber with tracers. And I just read about a fire east of Salem that started from a guy mowing some tall dead grass, so now I have an excuse to not mow for the rest of the summer. At least I can limb trees.

George the original one
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Re: Western USA Drought

Post by George the original one » Thu Jul 30, 2015 1:51 pm

Little Luckiamute seems much cooler than Big Luckiamute on my visits. Necanicum at our house is always cool. Lewis & Clark and North Fork Nehalem have both been too warm, though. Measured 62F in the Lewis & Clark two weeks ago Sunday at 8am!

George the original one
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Re: Western USA Drought

Post by George the original one » Tue Aug 11, 2015 1:04 pm

Fishing halted in National Parks on Olympic Pennisula: http://www.katu.com/news/local/Latest-d ... 34391.html

Riggerjack
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Re: Western USA Drought

Post by Riggerjack » Tue Aug 11, 2015 7:00 pm

I don't know how it is in Oregon, but anglers are a distinct minority up here. As I've pointed out in other posts, closing recreational fishing happens without cutting commercial fishing, at all.
Chinook are commercially fished, closed to recreational fishing. Native steelhead is "endangered". Commercial fishing is fine, recreational fishermen who keep one are FELONS!

(For the rest of the world, steelhead are rainbow trout, one of the most common game fish on the west coast, that go into salt water. Fry from the same batch of eggs go both routes, some stay freshwater, others go into saltwater. The environmental lobby has extended the endangered species act to cover endangered behavior.)

So, closing fishing in parks doesn't surprise me. BTW, I haven't been fishing in nearly 30 years, I have no skin in this game.

Riggerjack
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Re: Western USA Drought

Post by Riggerjack » Mon Aug 17, 2015 7:34 am

http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/weat ... 17850.html

The great western draught is so disastrous, it now comes with flood warnings!

And now back to your regularly scheduled programming...

Riggerjack
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Re: Western USA Drought

Post by Riggerjack » Mon Aug 17, 2015 7:53 am

http://www.kmud.org/news-humboldt-calif ... -2014.html

Humboldt county is down to a mere 20-50" of rain. Granted, that is about half of average, but as a draught, well...

Southern California, on the other hand is an overpopulous desert. And it is suffering from overpopulation and, shockingly, desert climate, which includes extended dry periods.

enigmaT120
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Re: Western USA Drought

Post by enigmaT120 » Tue Aug 18, 2015 1:37 pm

I used to say that a drought makes Western Oregon a halfway decent place to live. So long as my spring keeps running (and it's doing fine so far) I still say that.

My folks moved me over here from Central Oregon when I was 8. I'm 51 and haven't really adapted yet, but I'm working on overcoming my rain phobia by running and biking in it. Or, instead, by causing a drought.

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