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« Journal of AWRA (JAWRA): Early View Articles - 14 May 2013 | Main | G.F. White Lecture by Steven L. Stockton - 'Global Context: The Flood Risk Management Challenge' @USACEHQ »

Wednesday, 15 May 2013


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I'm not sure I agree with the map. It is difficult for me to see that eastern Washington is at high risk whereas many locations in Arizona are at low risk. This seems especially troubling since the map indicates that only local sources are used to meet demand. If the methodology combines different types of demand (i.e., municipal plus agriculture) then I think the following is true (if methodology does not combine demand then I'm full of schist and my apologies). So here goes, from two distinct regions on the map: I would think that the Columbia Basin Project (CRB) would be well hydrated due to the influx of Columbia River water to the canals of the CRB. Sure the Odessa Aquifer is dropping like a led zeppelin (sic) and I would agree that center pivot demand likely exceeds or at least exacerbates problems with supply. But is the Columbia River in the CRB considered to be not local? Seriously, how you can make the Columbia River a non-local source of water either hypothetically or physically in the CRB? On the other hand, we are to believe that certain parts of Arizona are not in danger of being dry, so to speak? Sure there is reuse and conversation, both are important, but as I recall, land subsidence from groundwater mining left huge cracks in the land surface in many parts of Arizona. Hell from the recent USGS report on groundwater decline in the US talked about on this blog, we see decline in groundwater in nearly every regional aquifer. If the caveat is that we are only using local sources, then for some parts of Arizona, I doubt one could really make the case that Colorado River water is more local than Columbia River water. I don't want to be seen as picking on Arizona here--it just seems to be a nice visual counterpoint example to the case of eastern Washington. I could have just as easily pointed out that some local surface water irrigation districts in Nebraska received enough water in 2012 during the drought that their lands appeared "green" (i.e., NDVI green) on satellite imagery contrary to what one might conclude from the map given here. Water rights to far off sources of water, in many cases, are going to trump problems with demand due to limits on local sources of water.


Interesting about the understatement of risk. Why do you think these tools aren't conveying the magnitude of the issue?

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