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Honored Advisor

Re: Water worries

Bingo,

 

Kay you have described exactly why Kansas has no idea how fast of slow it's depletion rate is.  the first 30% of our recorded water usage is done without meters just as you describe.  Meters eventually came and suddenly it was obvious we had been over reporting.  But the environmentally leaning regulators took the opportunity to jump in and say "look how much these wells have depleted over the years.."  ------- The over reporting backfired on the irrigators and resulted in very tight restrictions on water use and replacing of wells.

 

And your second point whomever brings it to the surface first-------- The state administration that wanted to get tight regulation on the use of groundwater proposed it by adding a portion of the law that guaranteed "first in time" priority to control infringment issues.  The farm community fell in line to support being regulated ------ who doesn't want to control his neighbor in the future?

You are absolutely right in your assesment.

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Honored Advisor

Re: Water worries

I make notations on the survey that indicate that this is not a metered flow. There are sixteen counties in central NC, just acorss the Roanoke River from ours, that exist in the limbi of a Capacit Use Area...thus, the Eagle Water proposition. They had been ordered to reduce groundwater usage by a major percentage ( memory dails npme on the exact number this morning), by 2016. It was impossibke sounding to me.

I had made a post that kept bouncing off the biard a couple of days ago, about how depletion on the East Coast appears as further-inland intrusion of the saltwater wedge. Water is not absent, it is just increasingly brackish, so limited in its utility. There are big hog farms well west of us whose water comes from the USDA-funded public water system, because their deep wells are just too salty now.

There are places in this state and in Virginia, where the cone of deoression of groundwater supplies surrounding certain fixtures like paper mills are pretty well documented now. Throw in the battle between the City of Virginia Beach and the Lake Gaston crowd, which has kept a lot of lawyers fed for over a decade now.

Cities like Raleigh/ Durham stay in a near - cinstant stage of needing to apply water use restrictions, and you get a prime potential for the next battle over interbasin transfers like that one. Yet, they keep building more homes, schools for more additional children ach year than attend all the public, private and charter schools combined in our rural county.

Water equals economic potential. Once someone covets yours long enough to snatch it across a watershed boundary, with the blessings of the state, your fate is sealed.
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Highlighted
Senior Advisor

Re: Water worries

It would appear to me Canada is holding the majority of the fresh water cards and UDSA is watering China's pork ---

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Honored Advisor

Re: Water worries

yes ------289,

 

It is a factor that noone at usda seems to take into account when projecting volume trends in production into the future.

 

Large irrigation projects like central valleys of calif, the kansas groundwater reserves, the nebraska platt groundwater reserves, Texas & Okla Panhandles, Arizona/calif southern Aquaduct projects, etc have been part of our stablizing backstop.  None of those is in it's "hay day" of production.  All are either depleted or loosing water to urbanization in large volumes.  Water use for grain is a continuously dropping number.  

The east coast does not sound great either.

 

Thanks Kay.  Did not realize how big the issue is there.

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Honored Advisor

Re: Water worries

Again, I am just scratching the surface. USDA money spent for rural water systems here is the bane of agriculture, ironically. That blue PVC, laid out on a highway ROW, awaiting trenching, used to herald an influx of cheap housing ( trailers and doublewides, mostly), which then require farms and farmers to pay higher taxes, mostly to afford schools, police and fire, EMS, etc. The occupants can be a major PITA, too...trash, trespassing, complaining about our necessary farming activities.

There is water everywhere here...but much of it is unfit to drink. Septic tanks with absorption issues are a major problem here.
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Honored Advisor

Re: Water worries

We are increasingly watering exports...crops, livestock, fiber and even woodlands, for China. Yes, we work for the Chinese now. I dread it, and honestly feel anxious about how that will play out longterm. Time will tell.

We see all sorts of examples of the quantum shift. Trees here used to be harvested as sawmill timber for lumber used in houses in the US. Now, instead of thinning stands at a couple of intervals for pulp, then letting the remaining trees grow out for that end use, entire young stands are being mowed like wheat fields, the destination being " fluff" mills, geared up to make disposable diapers for China, or pelletizing mills for the EU's clean electricity mandates.

Why, I have to ask, are we tax credit whores for Chinese-manufactured solar panel farms, while doing everything but using the wood pellets to make power here? It is just one big shell game.

Meanwhile, every gallon of water that gets taken out of a river and every gallon of effluent that gets put back into it equal an impact on assimilative capacity, and EPA's TMDL sorcery determines how much or little of that is left to afford new economic development. If my fresh water leaves this basin, for consumption in yours, or you discharge into a neighboring watershed, at a lower standard of treatment ( because, of course, that is cheaper), it is all okay, if you did it first.

The odd thing about most of this is that agriculture was almost always first in any given watershed, and first in the water lottery is supposed to be last one left out. This is where the deal us breaking down. We have watched different areas get shut down completely on irrigation in this country, and other, nonessential, activities left unscathed. The rules get rewritten, and ag isn't in the room.