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Old 08-23-2007, 02:00 PM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
7,764 posts, read 16,837,299 times
Reputation: 9316

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This article appeared in todays issue of the GJSentinel the local Grand Junction newspaper:

Experts: Water at risk from climate change (broken link)

Not a pleasant read, but it does support alot of the things that Jazzlover writes about in many of his posts.

blessings...Franco
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Old 08-23-2007, 03:32 PM
 
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Personally, I am convinced that climate change due to "greenhouse gases" is real. You can't burn close to half of the fossil fuels accumulated over a million years of time in about a century-and-a-half and not have it do SOMETHING. But even if one dismisses those effects, inland locations like Colorado are subject to a LOT of climatic variation over time. Given that a HUGE amount of development and population growth occurred in Colorado during the last several decades which, until recently, showed higher than normal precipitation levels than historically was the case, even "normal" climate variation could cause some serious water supply problems in Colorado. If the global warming pundits are right in their predictions for Colorado, well . . .

Unfortunately, most people in Colorado, especially those from wetter climates elsewhere, are absolutely oblivious to the complexity and gravity of Colorado's water situation. And, if the state enters a protracted period of decreased precipitation, more evaporation, and increased stream sedimentation, no amount of dam-building, water diversions, cloud-seeding, or drying up of ag land will bail us out of catastrophe. Somebody (more properly, a lot of somebodies) just will have to go without water.
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Old 08-23-2007, 06:27 PM
 
Location: Boulder
151 posts, read 663,907 times
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A similar article appeared in the Denver Post. Check out The Denver Post - Strain on Colo. water predicted

I am part owner in a whitewater rafting company, and I can attest that run-off (the spring melt) has been starting earlier almost every year on both the Arkansas and Colorado rivers for the last decade or more. Fortunately, this year the "monsoons" kicked in and kept the CFS (cubic feet per second) flow reasonably high for the entire rafting season, but those monsoons are much less predictable than they were 30 years ago when my company started operations.

What are we doing to our planet and to our entire "civilization"? Between population growth and global warming, Colorado *is* going to face a water shortage in the very near future.

MM
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Old 08-23-2007, 08:40 PM
 
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I equate Colorado's situation with growth to a story I read about the sinking of the Titanic. One of the crew members manning a lifeboat that wasn't quite full proceeded to row the boat away from the sinking ship and out of swimming range for the people in the water. As his lifeboat wasn't quite full, he was taken to task for doing this. His explanation, though cold, was logical. He explained that, had he kept the boat in range of the victims still in the water, so many would have clamored to get in the boat that they would have swamped it--dooming themselves, along with the survivors in already in the boat, to drown. That is about where we are in the Rocky Mountain West. We can continue to accomodate every single person who wants to move to the region--for whatever reason--but, at some point, the carrying capacity of the land (and water resources) will become so stretched, that we all will face unbelievable hardships. Of course, no one wants to be the "mean, heartless SOB" that rows the boat out of range of the clamoring hordes, even as it becomes clear that the survival of the place and its existing residents demands it. Ugly times ahead--with even uglier choices and consequences.
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Old 08-23-2007, 09:41 PM
 
Location: Highlands Ranch, CO
615 posts, read 2,761,705 times
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Boy, lots of doom and gloom! Global warming? I remember when scientists were saying we were heading for another ice age. Now the latest craze is "global warming". Could it be happening? Sure. Could it be part of another normal cycle on the Earth? You betcha. So, how far back do we have accurate global temperature data? Only enough to represent a tiny fraction of Earth's history, yet people are trying to draw major conclusions from it.

As for water, yes, it is a limited resource. We do need to conserve and look for better ways of reclaiming water. No doubt about that. Though, I do think that CO is in better shape than some of the other western states.
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Old 08-23-2007, 11:17 PM
 
Location: Staring at Mt. Meeker
220 posts, read 711,850 times
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How long has this type of gloom and doom been predicted for Colorado? I'm not being facetious and there isn't a piece of the globe that doesn't face drought at one time or another. Thankfully we live in a world where conservation of matter exists with regard to water. What goes in, comes out and vice-versa.

What say ye?
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Old 08-24-2007, 05:37 AM
 
Location: Boulder
151 posts, read 663,907 times
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It is true that any effective and long-term answer must be national or better yet global because one of the major causes of an earlier melt melt and higher evaporation rate (moisture from snow evaporates rather than flowing into rivers) here in Colorado's mountains is increased dust from poor farming practices and drought in Asia. The dust makes snow absorb rather than reflect solar heat, leading to evaporation and earlier melts.

Colorado can not isolate itself like that lifeboat (more's the pity), but it can tackle some hard questions. One with a lot of potential to conserve what water we have is: should we ban water-guzzling bluegrass-sodded lawns here in the high, naturally dry plains while we are in a documented long-term drought (especially since science has shown that the last serious drought in this area of the country lasted several hundred years)?

There's just too many people nearly everywhere on the planet. We're exceeding our resources, and poisoning our air and water -- did anyone else read that they can now measure the percentage of people in a town who use drugs (both legal and illegal) by testing just a teaspoon of sewage water from that town? And that we've introduced so many and so much pseudo-estrogenic chemicals (including chlorine) into our waters that fish are losing their ability to breed (which leads to the question of what are all those chemicals are doing to those of us who drink and bath in water from rivers downstream from some other town's “treated” sewage?)

Another example – even the purest, highest Colorado streams now contain lead and other nasties from vehicle exhaust. We could extend emissions testing and get rid of leaded gas everywhere in the state instead of just along the front range.

But all humans (yes, even me) are selfish, self-centered creatures and much more likely to make choices that suit them personally rather than sacrifice a lawn or take public transportation for the greater good.

MM
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Old 08-24-2007, 09:09 AM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
7,764 posts, read 16,837,299 times
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Default A radical concept!

Here's a concept that might push some buttons and ruffle some feathers, but it provides an opportunity for walking the talk so to speak:

Those who believe that there are already too many people living in Colorado, and advocate locking the gate to newcomers, could move out of Colorado, thereby lessening the drain on the already overtaxed natural resources.

regards...Franco
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Old 08-24-2007, 02:02 PM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
7,764 posts, read 16,837,299 times
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While this article is only loosely related to Colorado Water Issues, I found it to be a thought provoking read.

regards...Franco
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Old 08-24-2007, 02:50 PM
 
2,755 posts, read 11,740,559 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewAgeRedneck View Post
Those who believe that there are already too many people living in Colorado, and advocate locking the gate to newcomers, could move out of Colorado, thereby lessening the drain on the already overtaxed natural resources.
Actually, PEOPLE don't really use up that much water. We have plenty of water to accommodate the people. The one thing that uses up nearly all the water is people's lawns. You want to save water: that's the place to start looking at. One person's water-thirsty lawn uses up more water than the whole lot of us could ever drink in our entire lifetime.

I'm always shocked when I go back east and see how people can manage to have huge lawns without sprinklers. If you like big lawns, back east is the place to go. Surprisingly, it seems that most of our desert southwest neighbors know better than we do -- they xeriscape their yards. We don't. We Coloradans are the ones in denial about it. We live in an arid climate but we pretend we live in a humid, rainy one.

I'd be supportive of new landscaping guidelines forcing new landscape projects to be largely xeriscaped. With that one simple change, we could make our current water supplies last much longer, even despite the growth. And we wouldn't have to waste precious billions on new water projects! Sounds like a win/win for everyone!
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