5 comments on “Water, Water, Every Where

  1. Central Texas went through something very similar the past few years. Worst drought in my lifetime from about 2010-2014 and then a year straight of rain, minus a couple summer months. Lake Travis was at almost its lowest recorded level and it was actually getting to the point where we were worried about running out of water (Austin’s population just keeps growing). The lake has now been full for two years, but that drought certainly made people wake up and it was indeed a heavy topic of conversation among city and state government agencies and especially during election season.

    • I know the drought you speak of. My best friend is from Brady and they were mighty worried about what was going on. I also remember him griping about all the rain too, even though it was desperately needed. The big difference, as I see it, is that Texas is not beholden by groups like the Sierra Club and other activist organizations. This dramatically increases the likelihood of solutions to water issues being implemented. Here in California, the state government is utterly in the thrall of these kind of groups. Indeed, they have become part of the very warp and woof of Sacramento and they are an absolute impedence to any progress being made. Take the Oroville issue. When the crisis occured, it was revealed that the Sierra Club and other groups had urged the state to armor the area beneath the spillway with concrete (because that area was recognized as a potential weakness by pretty much everyone). They made it sound like the DWR did not care and nothing was done. The truth is that DWR recognized the problem but wanted to install gates on the emergency spillway so they could control the flow and thereby mitigate erosion issues. The Sierra Club opposed this because that created the potential, in extreme weather situations, for a certain amount of upstream river canyon to be inundated (I am guessing it would be around 15 feet of elevation, however far back into the canyons that would reach). Therefore, they argued for no gates but the precautionary armor. This created a stalemate, nothing was done and here we are. I figure in Texas groups like that would not wield enough clout to utterly derail a public safety issue like what is faced at Oroville. Maybe I am wrong on that, but would guess that I am not.

      Now, I think the body of my work on this website would make it obvious that I care deeply not just about the natural land but the retention of its wild character. That is, however, balanced by the recognition that people need water and we have to find a solution that balances those two things. So far, in the last 35 years or so of California history, that has been a nearly impossible balance to achieve.

  2. The concrete in the Oroville spillway looks paper-thin compared to the depth and ferocity of the erosion caused by what was “supposed” to be a flow within design limits. Ha! We always seem to forget that Nature bats last!

    • It really does. It is an amazingly simple structure. To be fair, thought, if the original collapse had not happen, it probably could handle the capacity it was rated for. The area above the original collapsed section seems to be handling things just fine. Nonetheless, water is the universal solvent and will find a way to undermine just about anything given the chance.

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