Posts Tagged ‘megadrought’

Snow joke

January 16, 2023

I guess we can leave the skinny skis in the garage.

Well, it must be true, if both The New York Times and The Washington Post simultaneously catch up to the sad story about Rio Verde Foothills, where dreams go to die in the dust.

It’s an old story, with the new wrinkle being Scottsdale finally putting a cork in water sales to Rio Verde, saying it had to consider its own residents first and foremost. From the WaPo:

“The city cannot be responsible for the water needs of a separate community especially given its unlimited and unregulated growth,” the city manager’s office wrote in December.

The stories share a squeaky wheel — Cody Reim, who has a wife and four kids, works for the family’s sheet-metal business, and is looking at a water bill that could surpass the tab for his mortgage, when he’s not chatting up the national press. Again, from the WaPo:

“I thought, this is the United States of America, we do so much in humanitarian aid to other countries that don’t have water, they’re not going to let taxpaying citizens of this county go without water,” he said.

“You don’t think this could happen,” he added. “You have this belief that there’s going to be help.”

I have sympathy for the Reim family. Like them, we chose to live in a sandbox — the northern edge of the Chihuahuan Desert — and our water gets humped uphill to El Rancho Pendejo via a series of pumping stations. If we paid what this liquid gold is actually worth, or had to fetch it here by bike or burro, you can bet your ass we’d use a lot less of it.

Either that or we’d move to where the water is. Yet here we are.

Deciding to build your base camp in the desert is magical thinking going toe to toe with mathematics. As John Fleck observes in his ongoing Dead Pool Diaries, decent runoff this year will not change the fact that Colorado River water is overallocated and always has been.

“It’s just arithmetic!” he says.

If God wanted us here, He would’ve stored more agua fria under the rocks and cacti. But clearly He wasn’t expecting quite so much company.

“Hey, you come to the desert to get wisdom, 40 days and nights, tops. And then you go back where you came from. You silly sods never went back.”

We was robbed

June 3, 2022

Good morning, sunshine.

The weather wizards were talking a double-digit possibility of a sprinkle yesterday. But talk don’t water the cacti, son! What we got was nada, and plenty of it.

Our Acu-Rite widget claims we last got precip’ on March 30, a whopping 0.14 inch, but I don’t remember that. My training log mentions rain on March 22, and after that, bupkis.

“We are having a very bad year,” observes John Fleck.

Riding my bike to a meeting with folks trying to figure out how to cope with climate change seemed appropriate signaling, but mainly bikes are fun, as my friend Charlie likes to say, and I pretty much ride mine everywhere I can.

After the meeting, I took the long way home, which involved a dirt trail through the riverside woods along Albuquerque’s reach of the Rio Grande. It was shady and cool on a hot afternoon, but the glimpses of the river were painful. Sometime around midday flow dropped below 300 cubic feet per second, which probably means nothing to most everyone, so I’ll put it this way – it’s just a hair above one tenth of the normal flow for this time of year.

Yow.

Southern California is restricting water use for 6 million people, and I would not be surprised to see our local water coppers taking measures before much longer. I’ve spotted a flotilla of Albuquerque-Bernalillo Water Utiility Authority vehicles cruising the Foothills lately, and they can’t all be meter readers.

Even Arizona is contemplating a “new normal,” though the last I looked the thinking was running very far afield indeed, from desalinization projects in Mexico to pumping water from the Mississippi Basin rather than restricting use of a diminishing supply.

Meanwhile, as the wind blows and the temperature rises, while the swamp coolers begin to bubble and air conditioners to whir, the power grid seems to be a few watts shy of the load.

Phrases like “rolling outages” and “worst-case scenarios” are getting tossed around as neighboring grids find they have no spare power to share and the aforementioned shortage of our old pal water threatens hydroelectric generation. And the buck stops … uh, where, exactly?

“The problem is there is nobody in charge,” said M. Granger Morgan, a professor of engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. The national power grid, he said, is a patchwork of regional systems designed to be guided by market demand in each area. Federal regulators have limited authority over it, and many states have constrained their own power to manage energy resources as part of a deregulation push that took hold in the 1990s.

“We don’t have the national regulatory arrangements and incentives in place to implement this energy transition in a coherent and rapid-enough manner,” Morgan said.

Oh, good. For a second there I thought we might be in trouble.

And the uniform of the day is. …

August 17, 2021

Some faces should be covered.

Face diapers for everyone!

I’ve been wearing mine for a while now. I like to think of it as a community-beautification project.

Still, Jesus H., etc. Afghanistan’s up the spout and all its daddies are ducking for cover, the West’s faucets are running dry, and Paris Hilton has a cooking show. Truly these are Dire Portents of the End Times.

Smoke gets in your eyes

June 8, 2020

How many horsemen does the apocalypse have these days, anyway?

Most mornings I get a fine clear look at the Sandias as I shamble around El Rancho Pendejo, opening windows to air out the joint.

Today? Not so much.

New Mexico Fire Information and InciWeb both report a handful of fires in our fair, dry, and windblown state. One of them, Los Charcos, is just down the road a bit, on Isleta Pueblo. There are three more down in the Gila National Forest, plus some more in Arizona, and the Duke City has issued a health alert for this morning. Our gentle 45-mph zephyrs should send the forest exhaust elsewhere by this afternoon.

Los Charcos was human-caused. Happily, it — unlike the humans and their megadrought — is nearly under control.

And the windows? They’re closed.