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MrShorty

fast for drought relief in Utah and western US.

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I don't know if the group will be interested, but I just saw this posted to Facebook https://www.utahfarmbureau.org/Article/Utah-Farm-Bureau-Calls-for-Day-of-Fasting-Prayer-for-Water call for people in the region to fast (on 16 May 2021) for relief from the drought that the western US has been in for some years. Without digging up sources, it seems like we have been mostly in a drought in the west for several years (with occasional good years thrown in). If anyone is interested in participating

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Well, one of the ironies I see about many of the Western States (Utah, parts of California, Arizona, Nevada) is that they know they have limited water already.  They know they have limited resources.

Yet, instead of taking a realistic approach, they WANT TO EXPAND THE POPULATION, BRING IN BUSINESSES WITH MORE WORKERS, AND BRING IN A LOT MORE PEOPLE TO MAKE MORE MONEY IN THEIR AREAS. 

If you have a low amount of water, why in the world do you want to cause further stresses by trying to increase the population size which in turn uses MORE WATER!??

It seems they are so focused on money and how to get MORE OF IT, that instead of looking at how to feasibly deal with their water situation, they want to aggravate it by making the matters worse because in the short term they can make a lot more money by bringing in more businesses which in turn bring more workers.

One solution is to get people to move from those states.  This reduces the amount of water necessary.  Secondly, reduce the high end water usage of some of the businesses.  This also reduces the load.

They blame farmers in many instances, but it's not the farmers.  Many of these locations (especially California) deal with reservoirs and underground aquifers.  The farmers were doing just fine in the balance prior to the population explosions in these states.  With more people though, more of the water is being used to the point where these reservoirs and aquifers were shrinking.  It was shown in the past few years that even at above average rainfalls for the next few years/decade that California would STILL not solve the problem.  The population was so great that the shrinking of the water sources would STILL continue. 

Utah has been at the edge of the same problem as California for the past 5 years at least...they are at the tipping point where their population will continue to shrink their water resources EVEN IF THEY HAVE ABOVE AVERAGE precipitation during a year. 

Last time I visited Utah, they were trying to attract a TON of businesses and people, especially south of Salt Lake.

It seems to me that though they raise the alarm, because they are more focused on money than what happens to their water resources, they are making their own problems occur.  A lack of precipitation may be exacerbating the problem or hastening it's impact, but it is by no means WHY it has occurred.  This is a simple numbers game, and instead of addressing what the numbers have said, they are doing the exact opposite of what they should have because of "money" from what I can tell.

The solution is actually remarkably simple, but I don't think they consider the solution one they want to look at.

Edited by JohnsonJones

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On 5/17/2021 at 11:42 AM, JohnsonJones said:

Well, one of the ironies I see about many of the Western States (Utah, parts of California, Arizona, Nevada) is that they know they have limited water already.  They know they have limited resources.

Yet, instead of taking a realistic approach, they WANT TO EXPAND THE POPULATION, BRING IN BUSINESSES WITH MORE WORKERS, AND BRING IN A LOT MORE PEOPLE TO MAKE MORE MONEY IN THEIR AREAS. 

If you have a low amount of water, why in the world do you want to cause further stresses by trying to increase the population size which in turn uses MORE WATER!??

It seems they are so focused on money and how to get MORE OF IT, that instead of looking at how to feasibly deal with their water situation, they want to aggravate it by making the matters worse because in the short term they can make a lot more money by bringing in more businesses which in turn bring more workers.

One solution is to get people to move from those states.  This reduces the amount of water necessary.  Secondly, reduce the high end water usage of some of the businesses.  This also reduces the load.

They blame farmers in many instances, but it's not the farmers.  Many of these locations (especially California) deal with reservoirs and underground aquifers.  The farmers were doing just fine in the balance prior to the population explosions in these states.  With more people though, more of the water is being used to the point where these reservoirs and aquifers were shrinking.  It was shown in the past few years that even at above average rainfalls for the next few years/decade that California would STILL not solve the problem.  The population was so great that the shrinking of the water sources would STILL continue. 

Utah has been at the edge of the same problem as California for the past 5 years at least...they are at the tipping point where their population will continue to shrink their water resources EVEN IF THEY HAVE ABOVE AVERAGE precipitation during a year. 

Last time I visited Utah, they were trying to attract a TON of businesses and people, especially south of Salt Lake.

It seems to me that though they raise the alarm, because they are more focused on money than what happens to their water resources, they are making their own problems occur.  A lack of precipitation may be exacerbating the problem or hastening it's impact, but it is by no means WHY it has occurred.  This is a simple numbers game, and instead of addressing what the numbers have said, they are doing the exact opposite of what they should have because of "money" from what I can tell.

The solution is actually remarkably simple, but I don't think they consider the solution one they want to look at.

Perhaps one of the most complex issues in the western States is water and who has the rights.  It is my opinion that the first step towards a resolution to water problems is to recycle our water.  But the first step to a workable recycle solution is to alter what gets put down our drains which on a global scale - I am convinced is an issue far more critical than just the western USA and water as well as more important than climate change resolved by atmospheric carbon. 

 

The Traveler

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@Carborendum will probably need to correct some of this, but . . . My understanding is that acre-for-acre, suburban development uses far less water than agriculture does.  Assuming that population growth/sprawl coincides with pulling an equivalent amount of land out of agriculture, development should actually be a good thing for water usage.  I believe that in Utah, residential water use (including gardening/landscaping) is less than 20% of the state’s total water usage.

I like to think of myself as pro-farmer; but I’m evolving to the position that there are places and climates where large-scale agriculture in this day and age makes absolutely no sense.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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6 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

@Carborendum will probably need to correct some of this, but . . . My understanding is that acre-for-acre, suburban development uses far less water than agriculture does.  Assuming that population growth/sprawl coincides with pulling an equivalent amount of land out of agriculture, development should actually be a good thing for water usage.  I believe that in Utah, residential water use (including gardening/landscaping) is less than 20% of the state’s total water usage.

I like to think of myself as pro-farmer; but I’m evolving to the position that there are places and climates where large-scale agriculture in this day and age makes absolutely no sense.

I actually think 20% is a little high.  Agriculture uses somewhere around 70% as I recall (worldwide).  And commercial/industrial (which does NOT include agricultural) uses a big bunch.  I thought the split was about 50/50 between residential vs commercial/industrial.

Even if we recognize the huge percentage of usage in agriculture, I don't get this idea of 'blaming the farmers."  Farmers make food for us whether we live near them or not.  Shipping of foodstuffs is nationwide and even worldwide.

It doesn't matter where people live. Farmers have to provide the food somewhere.  And it would simply be wiser to have farms in locations where there is more water readily available.

It also doesn't matter the source of the water.  Groundwater or surface water doesn't matter.  Everyone uses whatever water is available.  Even in Houston, a lot of the water comes from the same groundwater that farms use.  Aquifers are H.U.G.E.  And it doesn't matter how far they are from the city.  Water pipeline networks are tremendously extensive in their reach.

 

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22 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

I actually think 20% is a little high.  Agriculture uses somewhere around 70% as I recall (worldwide).  And commercial/industrial (which does NOT include agricultural) uses a big bunch.  I thought the split was about 50/50 between residential vs commercial/industrial.

Even if we recognize the huge percentage of usage in agriculture, I don't get this idea of 'blaming the farmers."  Farmers make food for us whether we live near them or not.  Shipping of foodstuffs is nationwide and even worldwide.

It doesn't matter where people live. Farmers have to provide the food somewhere.  And it would simply be wiser to have farms in locations where there is more water readily available.

It also doesn't matter the source of the water.  Groundwater or surface water doesn't matter.  Everyone uses whatever water is available.  Even in Houston, a lot of the water comes from the same groundwater that farms use.  Aquifers are H.U.G.E.  And it doesn't matter how far they are from the city.  Water pipeline networks are tremendously extensive in their reach.

 

I agree with everything you’ve written.  I suppose that, as a Utahn, it just sticks in my craw a little bit to be hectored about how I have a moral duty to let my lawn go dormant so that someone else can make a little more money growing alfalfa in the middle of a desert.   :shrug:

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11 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

I agree with everything you’ve written.  I suppose that, as a Utahn, it just sticks in my craw a little bit to be hectored about how I have a moral duty to let my lawn go dormant so that someone else can make a little more money growing alfalfa in the middle of a desert.   :shrug:

One thing is the method of watering.  Sprinklers are notoriously inefficient.  But they're easy.  Drip lines are much more efficient.  It is estimated that about 25% to 30% of all water usage is lost to evaporation, etc. from poor/inefficient watering methods.  And sprinklers are one major culprit.

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1 hour ago, Carborendum said:

One thing is the method of watering.  Sprinklers are notoriously inefficient.  But they're easy.  Drip lines are much more efficient.  It is estimated that about 25% to 30% of all water usage is lost to evaporation, etc. from poor/inefficient watering methods.  And sprinklers are one major culprit.

All true. Just remember, "efficient" = "costly".

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39 minutes ago, Vort said:

All true. Just remember, "efficient" = "costly".

In the case of drip lines vs sprinklers, not really.  I priced out a sprinkler system for my three garden areas.  They ended up being about the same (the sprinklers just a tad more than the drip lines.  But the sprinklers require  a lot more labor.  Sprinklers require a minimum depth of bury.  Drip lines to not.

This is for fruit trees and vegetable beds, not lawns. 

After that, the savings in water would certainly make it worth it.

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4 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

In the case of drip lines vs sprinklers, not really.  I priced out a sprinkler system for my three garden areas.  They ended up being about the same (the sprinklers just a tad more than the drip lines.  But the sprinklers require  a lot more labor.  Sprinklers require a minimum depth of bury.  Drip lines to not.

This is for fruit trees and vegetable beds, not lawns. 

After that, the savings in water would certainly make it worth it.

For a garden, maybe. Not for five hundred acres. Labor = $$$$$.

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There are so many things in play - grass is one of the best at using carbon and produce oxygen - but not so much when it is cut short.  The biggest problem with sprinklers is watering in the heat of the day.  Hydroponics uses the least water.  Trees in enough quantities will increase rain fall.  Weeds will survive when and where flowers wilt but flowers look much better.  The truth is that things will grow without work or watering but scripture tells us that it will possess mostly thorns and thistles - if you want anything else it will come only by the sweat of your brow all the days of your life.  

Just wondering - how many believe that being righteous (keeping G-d's covenants) is the best way to maintain a beneficial climate?

 

The Traveler

Edited by Traveler

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On 5/20/2021 at 10:33 AM, Vort said:

For a garden, maybe. Not for five hundred acres. Labor = $$$$$.

I'm not certain what your point is here.  If you had to bury a sprinkler system for 500 acres, it will still cost more than a drip irrigation system that does not need to be buried.

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12 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

I'm not certain what your point is here.  If you had to bury a sprinkler system for 500 acres, it will still cost more than a drip irrigation system that does not need to be buried.

Center-pivot irrigation sprinklers do not have buried pipes.

Crop_circles_along_the_Columbia%252C_Was

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Just now, Vort said:

Center-pivot irrigation sprinklers do not have buried pipes.

Crop_circles_along_the_Columbia%252C_Was

You are correct.  And they are considered effective.  But they are also very expensive (for both installation and operation).  I would think they are more expensive than a drip irrigation system.  Aluminum vs plastic?  No contest.

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Just now, Carborendum said:

You are correct.  And they are considered effective.  But they are also very expensive (for both installation and operation).  I would think they are more expensive than a drip irrigation system.  Aluminum vs plastic?  No contest.

This is the crux of our disagreement. You actually do horticulture, which strengthens your opinion. I grew up around and working for farmers in eastern Washington, which gives me certain insights. I don't know which of us I trust more. Probably you, because I know full well that I'm talking through my hat.

My opinion is that installing and maintaining a large-scale field-based drip irrigation system would be vastly more expensive than center-pivot irrigation. Drip irrigation requires hand placement, equal pressures to each drip point (which implies lots and lots of equal-length tubing), and constant checking for leaks and plugs. Center-pivot irrigation involves putting the system in place and letting it run. There's my argument.

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The problem with a drip irrigation system for agriculture is that the irrigation system really cannot be a permanent installation. So, it needs to be laid out every spring after planting, then gathered back up at harvest time (for something like alfalfa, that can be multiple times a year, for something like grain that would be once a year). One of the advantages of movable sprinkler systems that I am familiar with is that they easily move on and off the field when you need to be working in the field. Something like drip irrigation seems like it would be labor intensive to repeatedly install and remove.

Which isn't to say that it cannot be done. If nothing else, we are a clever species with significant problem solving abilities. If drip irrigation can dramatically improve our use of water, I expect we can figure out how to do it.

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19 minutes ago, Vort said:

My opinion is that installing and maintaining a large-scale field-based drip irrigation system would be vastly more expensive than center-pivot irrigation. Drip irrigation requires hand placement, equal pressures to each drip point (which implies lots and lots of equal-length tubing), and constant checking for leaks and plugs. Center-pivot irrigation involves putting the system in place and letting it run. There's my argument.

Well, this is interesting.  Since I've never actually installed or used a center-pivot system, I'm just not familiar enough with the details enough to say with authority.  But I know that aluminum is expensive stuff.  And even if it lasts a while, it will still be subject to calcification.  And that will require either maintenance or replacement.  That's the central point of my argument.

But perhaps they've already got a solution to that problem, nullifying my argument.

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14 minutes ago, MrShorty said:

The problem with a drip irrigation system for agriculture is that the irrigation system really cannot be a permanent installation. So, it needs to be laid out every spring after planting, then gathered back up at harvest time (for something like alfalfa, that can be multiple times a year, for something like grain that would be once a year).

I don't know about those specific crops.  What I can say is that I've used rip irrigation for various vegetable crops that are less than one year.  And I've just left the drip lines in place for a few years now.  I haven't had problems.  But each type of crop has its own idiosyncracies.  And I'm only versed in the plants that I grow.

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