Commentary: Drought Crisis Needs to Be Taken Seriously

waterwaster

I’ll admit I was tantalized by reports of a major El Niño brewing that would effectively put an end to the state’s water crisis. But more and more the models show the El Niño either fizzling out or failing to grow further.

As the report out of UC Davis indicates, “Statistically, 2015 is likely to be another dry year in California – regardless of El Niño conditions.”

So, after reading that report, I was appalled to see Bob Dunning’s column that tongue-in-cheek makes light of the water situation and laments the browning of Davis and California.

He writes, “In an extreme case of short-sightedness, our beloved governor has ordered that the stunning green grass in Capitol Park — enjoyed by generations of Californians — be allowed to die as an example to all of us. It is, after all, California’s ‘front porch,’ as the governor describes it.”

He continues, lamenting “those super-righteous folks who are letting their lawns die as if they’re going to singlehandedly save the planet by disabling their sprinklers and not flushing the toilet.”

Worse were a few of the comments. One wrote, “We’ve gone through many droughts in California and always came out of them as droughts come in cycles. No need to over panic.”

Another stated, “Being super aware of water usage doesn’t mean ‘stopping’ altogether. Relax, folks!”

Obviously we would not stop using water altogether. However, the idea that we should “relax” or “not panic” seems misplaced at this time.

Writes the UC Davis researchers, 2014 marked the third driest year in history, models suggest dry years in 2015 and 2016 and “the 2014 drought is responsible for the greatest absolute reduction in water availability for California agriculture ever seen.”

Maybe not panicking, but concern is critical.

The researchers note, “If the drought continues for two additional years, groundwater substitution will remain the primary response to surface water shortage, with decreases in groundwater pumping capabilities and increasing costs due to declining water levels. A continued drought also increases the vulnerability of agriculture, as urban users with largely adequate supplies in 2014 will likely buy water from agricultural areas.”

California’s economy is precarious and now we are talking a billion dollar ongoing hit to agriculture.

Water-Waster-State

A water map was released that shows a double-digit decrease in water use in the Sacramento and San Joaquin River Valleys. However, the 8% increase in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties trumps the rest of the state, and so the state actually modestly increased water consumption by 1%.

This leads Bob Dunning today to write, “Because folks in Southern California refuse to conserve and have, in fact, actually increased their water consumption in response to our never-ending drought, those of us who pee in the back yard and take only 30-second showers once a week are going to pay the price.

“That’s the message the State Water Resources Control Board is sending with its mean-spirited threat of $500 fines for anyone who dares to let a drop of our precious water land in a nearby gutter. And yes, that edict applies in all 58 counties of this once-golden state, not just in those areas where water conservation has been mocked. Because little Tommy left the water running while brushing his teeth, mom and dad are sending all the children to their rooms.”

While there is a small point there – the reality is that the rest of the state’s 10% decrease in water use is still not enough.

I went out yesterday morning to find my neighbor – whose yard is pictured at the top of this article – still watering their driveway and the street. These are the people that need to be reined in – regardless of whether they live in northern or southern California.

But there is another problem that local communities are going to have to deal with – how do we fairly apply conservation standards?

For example, my family in San Luis Obispo, during a seven year drought in the mid-1980s to early 1990s, would take out their lawn and their water intensive trees and replace it with lower-water ground cover. They invested in drip irrigation and water saving devices.

On the other hand, their neighbor just allowed their lawn to die out. In that drought, the city officials imposed an across-the-board rationing policy – everyone had to reduce their water use in incremental amounts.

The problem is obvious in this community and others – how to apply those standards when some people have low-flow toilets, drip irrigation, and drought resistant ground cover, while other people water the streets, have swimming pools, and use 40 CCF of water each month.

Why should responsible people be forced to ration the same percentage of water as irresponsible water wasters?

That will be a challenge for a community that has just implemented what is as close to a flat rate as possible. I always favored tiered rates for this very reason.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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110 thoughts on “Commentary: Drought Crisis Needs to Be Taken Seriously”

  1. Don Shor

    NOAA:

    we think it’s likely that the atmosphere will get on board soon, and we’re still predicting El Niño, with about a 70% chance that conditions will be met in the next few months, and around an 80% chance by this fall. If you’re interested in how the ocean and atmospheric conditions are evolving, CPC has weekly updates available.

    1. Davis Progressive

      Failure to replenish groundwater in future years will hit hard, the analysts say, adding that “the drought is likely to continue through 2015” regardless of the periodic El Nino storm conditions.

      “Don’t count on El Nino,” said Jay Lund, director of the watershed sciences center, referring to the climatic changes triggered by a periodic band of warm water off the Pacific coast of South America.

      Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/07/15/6558062/uc-davis-study-finds-drought-will.html#storylink=cpy

  2. Don Shor

    NOAA:

    we think it’s likely that the atmosphere will get on board soon, and we’re still predicting El Niño, with about a 70% chance that conditions will be met in the next few months, and around an 80% chance by this fall. If you’re interested in how the ocean and atmospheric conditions are evolving, CPC has weekly updates available.

    1. Davis Progressive

      Failure to replenish groundwater in future years will hit hard, the analysts say, adding that “the drought is likely to continue through 2015” regardless of the periodic El Nino storm conditions.

      “Don’t count on El Nino,” said Jay Lund, director of the watershed sciences center, referring to the climatic changes triggered by a periodic band of warm water off the Pacific coast of South America.

      Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/07/15/6558062/uc-davis-study-finds-drought-will.html#storylink=cpy

  3. hpierce

    Ok, David… did you talk to your neighbor about their water overuse? Will you report them to the City? Do you believe they should be assessed a 500 dollar fine? Will you do nothing now that you have your picture and your copy?

      1. hpierce

        Radical idea… how about getting to know your neighbor, politely express your concern and suggesting they get assistance in finding water leaks, or education on proper irrigation techniques? Nah, this is Davis… better to pass laws, create fines, create water cops, and reward snitches.

          1. hpierce

            California law is permissive, not prescriptive regarding imposition of fines on water use miscreants. California law does not preclude neighbor reaching out to neighbor. California law does not require that local agencies create water police nor develop a snicth system. Your point eludes me.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      The neighbors have been a problem for some time. I’ve never actually seen them, but during the winter the city had to put yellow caution tape because they were running their sprinklers and the water on the sidewalk froze and created a huge hazard where a kid got hurt.

      1. South of Davis

        David wrote:

        > The neighbors have been a problem for some time. I’ve never actually
        > seen them, but during the winter the city had to put yellow caution tape
        > because they were running their sprinklers

        If they were my neighbors I would leave a note offering to adjust their sprinklers so they don’t spray the driveway and show them how to turn the sprinklers off in the winter (you can find the manuals for all modern timers on line once you get the model number).

        You can also tell them that if they get one of these (like I have) it will pay for itself (and avoid a lawsuit if another kid slips on the ice) and you can install in in less than 5 min. if you have done it before and probably 20 min. max if you need to read the manual.
        http://www.amazon.com/Orbit-Sprinkler-System-Freeze-57071/dp/B000CZ2Z24/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1405643898&sr=8-1&keywords=orbit+wireless+rain+sensor

  4. hpierce

    Ok, David… did you talk to your neighbor about their water overuse? Will you report them to the City? Do you believe they should be assessed a 500 dollar fine? Will you do nothing now that you have your picture and your copy?

      1. hpierce

        Radical idea… how about getting to know your neighbor, politely express your concern and suggesting they get assistance in finding water leaks, or education on proper irrigation techniques? Nah, this is Davis… better to pass laws, create fines, create water cops, and reward snitches.

          1. hpierce

            California law is permissive, not prescriptive regarding imposition of fines on water use miscreants. California law does not preclude neighbor reaching out to neighbor. California law does not require that local agencies create water police nor develop a snicth system. Your point eludes me.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      The neighbors have been a problem for some time. I’ve never actually seen them, but during the winter the city had to put yellow caution tape because they were running their sprinklers and the water on the sidewalk froze and created a huge hazard where a kid got hurt.

      1. South of Davis

        David wrote:

        > The neighbors have been a problem for some time. I’ve never actually
        > seen them, but during the winter the city had to put yellow caution tape
        > because they were running their sprinklers

        If they were my neighbors I would leave a note offering to adjust their sprinklers so they don’t spray the driveway and show them how to turn the sprinklers off in the winter (you can find the manuals for all modern timers on line once you get the model number).

        You can also tell them that if they get one of these (like I have) it will pay for itself (and avoid a lawsuit if another kid slips on the ice) and you can install in in less than 5 min. if you have done it before and probably 20 min. max if you need to read the manual.
        http://www.amazon.com/Orbit-Sprinkler-System-Freeze-57071/dp/B000CZ2Z24/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1405643898&sr=8-1&keywords=orbit+wireless+rain+sensor

  5. South of Davis

    David wrote:

    > I went out yesterday morning to find my neighbor – whose yard is
    > pictured at the top of this article – still watering their driveway

    It looks like David lives in a fancy South Davis Neighborhood (not many fancy stamped concrete driveways, decorative rocks and automatic sprinkler systems in Bob Dunning’s Old East Davis neighborhood)…

  6. South of Davis

    David wrote:

    > I went out yesterday morning to find my neighbor – whose yard is
    > pictured at the top of this article – still watering their driveway

    It looks like David lives in a fancy South Davis Neighborhood (not many fancy stamped concrete driveways, decorative rocks and automatic sprinkler systems in Bob Dunning’s Old East Davis neighborhood)…

  7. tribeUSA

    Regarding the map in the article; I seem to remember from seeing the Sac Bee article (from which this map was taken?) that the map refers to urban (and suburban?) water use; and excludes agricultural water use–this is an important point.

    I believe CA population growth has been about 2% per year over the past few years. So per capita use of water in May actually declined about 3% from May 2012 to May 2014 (1% increase in water volume used minus 4% increase in population). Another consequence of population growth; as the population grows there is inevitably less water available per capita– less farmland (and thus less food production and more expensive food for a growing state/national population) and/or fewer lawns or lush gardens in CA and the southwest (except for the affluent). If we stabilize population growth by ratcheting way back on immigration; we can help mitigate such changes.

    1. DavisBurns

      I am also interested in the benefits of controlling population growth, however, IMHO, it isn’t possible to use immigration as part of the problem without joining ranks with groups who are listed as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center. When one say control immigration, it means control illegal immigration, not control legal immigration. Our immigration policy allows a little more than one million people to immigrate every year. That’s the policy that needs reform. As far as illegal immigration, it isn’t that our country offers more opportunity, its that people leave their own countries because they cannot survive there. Recent immigrants aren’t using excess water but when/if they become second and third generation and consume like the rest of us, then, yes, they are part of the problem.

      I do not think this is off topic.

      I also agree with Tia Will, the first place to put money and effort is giving women control over their lives, ability to provide for their children and access to contraception. While we may do a poor job here, the countries the illegal immigrants come from generally do worse.

  8. tribeUSA

    Regarding the map in the article; I seem to remember from seeing the Sac Bee article (from which this map was taken?) that the map refers to urban (and suburban?) water use; and excludes agricultural water use–this is an important point.

    I believe CA population growth has been about 2% per year over the past few years. So per capita use of water in May actually declined about 3% from May 2012 to May 2014 (1% increase in water volume used minus 4% increase in population). Another consequence of population growth; as the population grows there is inevitably less water available per capita– less farmland (and thus less food production and more expensive food for a growing state/national population) and/or fewer lawns or lush gardens in CA and the southwest (except for the affluent). If we stabilize population growth by ratcheting way back on immigration; we can help mitigate such changes.

    1. DavisBurns

      I am also interested in the benefits of controlling population growth, however, IMHO, it isn’t possible to use immigration as part of the problem without joining ranks with groups who are listed as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center. When one say control immigration, it means control illegal immigration, not control legal immigration. Our immigration policy allows a little more than one million people to immigrate every year. That’s the policy that needs reform. As far as illegal immigration, it isn’t that our country offers more opportunity, its that people leave their own countries because they cannot survive there. Recent immigrants aren’t using excess water but when/if they become second and third generation and consume like the rest of us, then, yes, they are part of the problem.

      I do not think this is off topic.

      I also agree with Tia Will, the first place to put money and effort is giving women control over their lives, ability to provide for their children and access to contraception. While we may do a poor job here, the countries the illegal immigrants come from generally do worse.

  9. Tia Will

    tribeUSA

    “If we stabilize population growth by ratcheting way back on immigration; we can help mitigate such changes.”

    We could also choose to stabilize population growth by allowing women full control over their own reproductive choices. Despite recent advances in contraceptive efficacy, the unintended pregnancy rate overall in the US remains close to 50%. Our religious right maintains an incongruent position seeking to stop abortion by a series of maneuvers to make the procedure increasingly more difficult for women to obtain. They then proceed to block access to some of the most statistically effective means of contraception available. What is very clear is that the best way to stop abortion is to prevent unintended pregnancy but this seems to elude the religious extremists on the right.

      1. Tia Will

        tribeUSA

        I don’t have these statistics and would imagine that most of these countries do not either since it requires asking directly whether or not each individual pregnancy was planned or not planned.

        What I can say is that from my one week outreach in rural Honduras, on the basis of examining 35-45 women daily, a much higher proportion there were using highly effective contraception in the form of IUDs than is true in the US. In the one week, I met only two women of reproductive age who were not intending pregnancy who were not using either an IUD ( by far the most popular method since it was free) or birth control pills which were provided at a nominal cost. This is what a very proactive educational and medical outreach program backed by a proactive government can achieve. We just do not have the political will to do so. Clothing our religious and philosophical beliefs in clearly biased judicial decisions, we are choosing to attempt to not only encourage, but in some cases force women into having children that they are unable or unwilling to support.

        Relevance to water for BP.
        It is clear as Bob Dunning correctly pointed out that a family of six needs more water than does a family of four. Four equals replacement, six equals increased demand on our resources including water. One can fight endlessly over the best way to distribute the cost of this greater demand. What one cannot do is to pretend that greater numbers of people do not need more water. There are a number of ways to potentially lessen this demand.
        One would be through immigration control. Another would be through readily available, statistically effective, and affordable birth control.

        1. Frankly

          One would be through immigration control. Another would be through readily available, statistically effective, and affordable birth control.

          Tia and I agree on this. Hallelujah!

        2. tribeUSA

          Tia–quite surprising to me re: prevelance of birth control use in Honduras. I had no idea that a poor country such as Honduras would be ahead of the USA in terms of availability and use of birth control to prevent unplanned pregnancies–sounds like USA could learn from Honduras in this regard!

      2. Tia Will

        tribeUSA

        I agree that it is a surprisingly high number. It has hovered in the high 40’s to 50% for as long as I have been practicing medicine. I do see a glimmer of hope on the horizon with the recent downward trend in teen pregnancy. Fingers crossed that these young women will continue to practice appropriate contraception until such time as they are fully equipped to raise children, emotionally, socially and financially and that future generations of young women will follow their example.

        Less unplanned pregnancies = less children = equals less need for water.

  10. Tia Will

    tribeUSA

    “If we stabilize population growth by ratcheting way back on immigration; we can help mitigate such changes.”

    We could also choose to stabilize population growth by allowing women full control over their own reproductive choices. Despite recent advances in contraceptive efficacy, the unintended pregnancy rate overall in the US remains close to 50%. Our religious right maintains an incongruent position seeking to stop abortion by a series of maneuvers to make the procedure increasingly more difficult for women to obtain. They then proceed to block access to some of the most statistically effective means of contraception available. What is very clear is that the best way to stop abortion is to prevent unintended pregnancy but this seems to elude the religious extremists on the right.

      1. Tia Will

        tribeUSA

        I don’t have these statistics and would imagine that most of these countries do not either since it requires asking directly whether or not each individual pregnancy was planned or not planned.

        What I can say is that from my one week outreach in rural Honduras, on the basis of examining 35-45 women daily, a much higher proportion there were using highly effective contraception in the form of IUDs than is true in the US. In the one week, I met only two women of reproductive age who were not intending pregnancy who were not using either an IUD ( by far the most popular method since it was free) or birth control pills which were provided at a nominal cost. This is what a very proactive educational and medical outreach program backed by a proactive government can achieve. We just do not have the political will to do so. Clothing our religious and philosophical beliefs in clearly biased judicial decisions, we are choosing to attempt to not only encourage, but in some cases force women into having children that they are unable or unwilling to support.

        Relevance to water for BP.
        It is clear as Bob Dunning correctly pointed out that a family of six needs more water than does a family of four. Four equals replacement, six equals increased demand on our resources including water. One can fight endlessly over the best way to distribute the cost of this greater demand. What one cannot do is to pretend that greater numbers of people do not need more water. There are a number of ways to potentially lessen this demand.
        One would be through immigration control. Another would be through readily available, statistically effective, and affordable birth control.

        1. Frankly

          One would be through immigration control. Another would be through readily available, statistically effective, and affordable birth control.

          Tia and I agree on this. Hallelujah!

        2. tribeUSA

          Tia–quite surprising to me re: prevelance of birth control use in Honduras. I had no idea that a poor country such as Honduras would be ahead of the USA in terms of availability and use of birth control to prevent unplanned pregnancies–sounds like USA could learn from Honduras in this regard!

      2. Tia Will

        tribeUSA

        I agree that it is a surprisingly high number. It has hovered in the high 40’s to 50% for as long as I have been practicing medicine. I do see a glimmer of hope on the horizon with the recent downward trend in teen pregnancy. Fingers crossed that these young women will continue to practice appropriate contraception until such time as they are fully equipped to raise children, emotionally, socially and financially and that future generations of young women will follow their example.

        Less unplanned pregnancies = less children = equals less need for water.

  11. Tia Will

    BP

    Off topic starting with which post, tribeUSA’s or mine ?

    I see both as very much on topic since the amount of water usage is directly related to the population of an area.
    Population control by a variety of means would have a direct effect on the need for water.
    I don’t know if Don will share this expansive view. He is, of course, free to pull comments if he agrees with you.

    1. Barack Palin

      It’s just as much off topic as many of my posts and other commenter’s posts that get deleted on here frequently.

      I guess if your post is allowed to stay then I should be able to post about the failure of Obama and his terrible immigration policy that is expanding our population and creating even more need for water in our country.

      1. Tia Will

        BP

        ” guess if your post is allowed to stay then I should be able to post about the failure of Obama and his terrible immigration policy that is expanding our population and creating even more need for water in our country.”

        As long as you make the connection, I would agree with you.
        However, if you throw in “the kitchen sink” because ultimately water goes down it, you will have gone top far n my view ; ).

    2. tribeUSA

      Of course population stabilization is a long-term strategy; but I believe both short-term strategies and long-term strategies are needed to address problems such as water shortages. And I will continue to harp on overpopulation in vanguard articles; as it is an overlooked (and ignored by politicos and mainstream media) underlying factor in so many problems at local to national (& world) scale. Related to climate change; and even more fundamentally important than climate change in my view (but climate change gets all the press; overpopulation almost none).

  12. Tia Will

    BP

    Off topic starting with which post, tribeUSA’s or mine ?

    I see both as very much on topic since the amount of water usage is directly related to the population of an area.
    Population control by a variety of means would have a direct effect on the need for water.
    I don’t know if Don will share this expansive view. He is, of course, free to pull comments if he agrees with you.

    1. Barack Palin

      It’s just as much off topic as many of my posts and other commenter’s posts that get deleted on here frequently.

      I guess if your post is allowed to stay then I should be able to post about the failure of Obama and his terrible immigration policy that is expanding our population and creating even more need for water in our country.

      1. Tia Will

        BP

        ” guess if your post is allowed to stay then I should be able to post about the failure of Obama and his terrible immigration policy that is expanding our population and creating even more need for water in our country.”

        As long as you make the connection, I would agree with you.
        However, if you throw in “the kitchen sink” because ultimately water goes down it, you will have gone top far n my view ; ).

    2. tribeUSA

      Of course population stabilization is a long-term strategy; but I believe both short-term strategies and long-term strategies are needed to address problems such as water shortages. And I will continue to harp on overpopulation in vanguard articles; as it is an overlooked (and ignored by politicos and mainstream media) underlying factor in so many problems at local to national (& world) scale. Related to climate change; and even more fundamentally important than climate change in my view (but climate change gets all the press; overpopulation almost none).

  13. Tia Will

    tribeUSA

    I agree with you that population growth is the root problem and that it is not a frequent topic of discussion.

    In other counties, there are different drivers behind population growth. In this country one non -immigration related issue is put forth in this quote :

    “”And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” King James Version, Genesis 1:28″

    I heard the “be fruitful and multiply” phrase used again and again in church as a child. What we don’t seem to realize is that we have done that, we are through, finished, Mission Accomplished with this directive.
    What we seem to be missing is adherence to another directive.

    Genesis 1:26
    Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
    and
    Peter 4:10
    “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”

    This is where we appear to me to be failing as good stewards of God’s varied grace as applied to our natural resources, the most basic which are our air ( pollution ) and our water ( pollution, failure to conserve, ill considered growth and expansion into areas with insufficient supplies).

    In our area this failing to appreciate the precious nature of water, our undervaluing it for many years, is now coming back to haunt us in the form of sticker shock as we find the need to pay for diversifying our supply.
    Instead of accepting responsibility for our own lack of proactive planning, how much easier to spurn the second phrase of Paul’s directive “use it to serve one another”.

    1. tribeUSA

      Tia–yes, I think you are spot on with the scriptural references; and how it seems that priests/ministers preach only the “be fruitful and multiply” quote; but neglect the “good stewards” quote and other quotes you mention. Yes, it seems in regard to “be fruitful and multiply”: mission accomplished!

  14. Tia Will

    tribeUSA

    I agree with you that population growth is the root problem and that it is not a frequent topic of discussion.

    In other counties, there are different drivers behind population growth. In this country one non -immigration related issue is put forth in this quote :

    “”And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” King James Version, Genesis 1:28″

    I heard the “be fruitful and multiply” phrase used again and again in church as a child. What we don’t seem to realize is that we have done that, we are through, finished, Mission Accomplished with this directive.
    What we seem to be missing is adherence to another directive.

    Genesis 1:26
    Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
    and
    Peter 4:10
    “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”

    This is where we appear to me to be failing as good stewards of God’s varied grace as applied to our natural resources, the most basic which are our air ( pollution ) and our water ( pollution, failure to conserve, ill considered growth and expansion into areas with insufficient supplies).

    In our area this failing to appreciate the precious nature of water, our undervaluing it for many years, is now coming back to haunt us in the form of sticker shock as we find the need to pay for diversifying our supply.
    Instead of accepting responsibility for our own lack of proactive planning, how much easier to spurn the second phrase of Paul’s directive “use it to serve one another”.

    1. tribeUSA

      Tia–yes, I think you are spot on with the scriptural references; and how it seems that priests/ministers preach only the “be fruitful and multiply” quote; but neglect the “good stewards” quote and other quotes you mention. Yes, it seems in regard to “be fruitful and multiply”: mission accomplished!

  15. Frankly

    Please correct me if I am wrong you scientists out there, but all the water on the planet stays on the planet… it gets recycled. It does not evaporate to space.

    So water supply is simply a natural transportation and logistics issue. And all fresh water eventually makes its way back to the oceans where it is mixed with the salts in the oceans and made unfit for consumption and irrigation (although it does well filling swimming pools… which is one of my ideas to reduce SoCal water consumption.)

    With desalinization systems we could effectively supply most of our coastal areas with plenty of water.

    And doing so would then allow our interior areas a greater supply of the water that flows from the mountains to the seas.

    The problem is one that can be solved and will be solved as the cost of water increases. And technology will evolve to help lower the cost once it gets to a point that the initial investment is justified.

    We need to conserve during drought years, but beware of the water alarmist that predicts doom and gloom as a way to push their environmental extremism on the rest of us.

    1. Don Shor

      With desalinization systems we could effectively supply most of our coastal areas with plenty of water.

      True, and that is being done. It is a very expensive way to get water, and yields a large amount of salt that has to be disposed of. There are environmental issues involved as to how far out you have to take the byproduct of desalinization. But for certain coastal California cities, the costs are worth it. The biggest plant in the nation is going in near Carlsbad, and fifteen are proposed along the coast.

      1. Frankly

        It is very expensive now, but as technology advances and the cost of fresh water from the interior increases, it will be come a more and more viable alternative.

        But of course we will be fighting the tide of irrational environmental concerns.

        At least we won’t have to worry about those sea water pumps getting clogged with Davis’s single use plastic grocery bags.

        1. Tia Will

          Frankly

          While I agree that there are, and will be technologies that will help us make better use of water, there will be a limit to how many people can be served by the existing water on earth. You and I will not live to see it, but as you often point out to me, take out the calculator understanding that while the amount of water is vast, it is not infinite ,and then tell me what the limit of support is for the human population.
          Let’s pray that we don’t ever get there, and that reason will prevail and people we appreciate that we simply cannot grow , innovate and develop our way out of every limitation of nature.

          1. Frankly

            Tia – read what I wrote. Water is not like fossil fuel. There is an endless loop of supply. It get recycled into the global ecosystem. The issue is simply transportation and logistics and the social and environmental impacts of both.

            Your words above make it sound like you believe that we will run out of water. We will not run out of water… we simply need to adapt to a new paradigm for getting enough water from places where it is plentiful to places where it is not. And there will be a cost for that. And people in poorer and dryer places are going to have a hard time.

            I find it increasingly difficult to reconcile the standard science-leaning, atheist-leaning left-of-politics-leaning person’s position on things like water and the population. Do you believe in creationism or Darwinism? Do you believe in the teaching of Jesus, or the laws of nature? If the latter, then how do you reconcile so much corruption of the rules of natural selection? If we constantly feed and water areas of the planet that are not able to sustain a population, then don’t we just exacerbate the problems?

            Water and food are the two most fundamental requirements for any animal to survive. Animals can survive in sub-zero climates, and also in raging hot deserts… only if they can access food and water.

            But food production takes water. And food production requires fertilizer which requires energy to produce. And that energy releases carbon into the atmosphere. So if you want to deal with the global population problem and save the environment, you would not advocate for feeding and watering the people living in places where they cannot sustain themselves.

            This illustration is the fundamental dysfunction of a combined social and environmental justice platform. There is a large conflict of interest that cannot be resolved unless one or the other positions gives.

            In countries like the US, we can afford to implement the necessary technology and infrastructure to feed and water the people. That is as long as we step flooding our country with too many poor and uneducated and demand that we keep raising taxes on everyone to give to the government so the government can funnel a greater and greater share of our limited monetary resources to provide them things. Basically, if we keep pursuing the liberal social justice short-term “safe all the people of the world” policies, we will eventually join those other places on the planet as unable to sustain ourselves.

        2. Don Shor

          On what do you base your assumption that the environmental concerns are “irrational?” The outflow from desalinization plants contains a lot of stuff, and there is a huge volume involved. Usually the argument comes down to how far out the company will be required to go with their discharge pipes, because it costs them money and they don’t want to reduce their profits. Here’s a list of some of the environmental concerns. Bear in mind: if you don’t go far enough out, these come back in to shore and affect marine life. http://www.paua.de/Impacts.htm
          So the answer, as usual, is for the state to regulate this.

          1. Frankly

            It is irrational to make the case that we are running out of water and so need to conserve more and more.

            The rational position is that we need to factor that water transport will be more and more necessary and so we need to allocate more of our budgets to water delivery infrastructure.

            And I get your point about environmental impacts from desalinization. But then there are the environmental impacts from transporting water from wet areas to dry areas. There are environmental impacts from just breathing and belching and farting. Bottom line… if it was not for people the natural world would be in very good shape.

          2. Don Shor

            It is irrational to make the case that we are running out of water and so need to conserve more and more.

            The rational position is that we need to factor that water transport will be more and more necessary and so we need to allocate more of our budgets to water delivery infrastructure.

            Our issues are largely distribution, not supply; storage is one way we solve that. We need to move forward on the Sites and probably Temperance Flat projects. But distribution is always a battle because you’re taking real or perceived water supplies from one region to another. I’m always startled and amused by Northern Californians’ fierce ‘ownership’ of water that is conveyed south (“they’re stealing our water!’). I’m guessing most readers of this blog oppose the distribution network being proposed for water through the Delta tunnels.

          3. Frankly

            I am fine with the state regulating desalinization. I am not in favor of irrational environmental extremism to rule the policy.

        3. tribeUSA

          Another important factor to mention is that operational costs for desalination plants are mainly for energy use; and there are fundamental thermodynamic limits on how little energy is needed to separate water from salt; I believe some of the newer and proposed plants are getting near theoretical maximum thermodynamic efficiency in terms of energy usage. So as energy costs continue to rise in the future, this does not bode well for costs of desalinated water. One major class of desalination plant designs rely directly on on-site solar energy for providing the energy for desalination (through direct evaporation and other related clever energy captures/conversions).

          1. Tia Will

            Frankly

            “There is an endless loop of supply.”

            I agree with this statement. I do not agree with the extrapolation that you seem to making that an “endless loop” equals an infinite quantity. These two are not the same and there is no guarantee that the population of the earth could never exceed the carrying capacity of the earth with the absolute amount of water in the “loop” being one of the limiting factors.

  16. Frankly

    Please correct me if I am wrong you scientists out there, but all the water on the planet stays on the planet… it gets recycled. It does not evaporate to space.

    So water supply is simply a natural transportation and logistics issue. And all fresh water eventually makes its way back to the oceans where it is mixed with the salts in the oceans and made unfit for consumption and irrigation (although it does well filling swimming pools… which is one of my ideas to reduce SoCal water consumption.)

    With desalinization systems we could effectively supply most of our coastal areas with plenty of water.

    And doing so would then allow our interior areas a greater supply of the water that flows from the mountains to the seas.

    The problem is one that can be solved and will be solved as the cost of water increases. And technology will evolve to help lower the cost once it gets to a point that the initial investment is justified.

    We need to conserve during drought years, but beware of the water alarmist that predicts doom and gloom as a way to push their environmental extremism on the rest of us.

    1. Don Shor

      With desalinization systems we could effectively supply most of our coastal areas with plenty of water.

      True, and that is being done. It is a very expensive way to get water, and yields a large amount of salt that has to be disposed of. There are environmental issues involved as to how far out you have to take the byproduct of desalinization. But for certain coastal California cities, the costs are worth it. The biggest plant in the nation is going in near Carlsbad, and fifteen are proposed along the coast.

      1. Frankly

        It is very expensive now, but as technology advances and the cost of fresh water from the interior increases, it will be come a more and more viable alternative.

        But of course we will be fighting the tide of irrational environmental concerns.

        At least we won’t have to worry about those sea water pumps getting clogged with Davis’s single use plastic grocery bags.

        1. Tia Will

          Frankly

          While I agree that there are, and will be technologies that will help us make better use of water, there will be a limit to how many people can be served by the existing water on earth. You and I will not live to see it, but as you often point out to me, take out the calculator understanding that while the amount of water is vast, it is not infinite ,and then tell me what the limit of support is for the human population.
          Let’s pray that we don’t ever get there, and that reason will prevail and people we appreciate that we simply cannot grow , innovate and develop our way out of every limitation of nature.

          1. Frankly

            Tia – read what I wrote. Water is not like fossil fuel. There is an endless loop of supply. It get recycled into the global ecosystem. The issue is simply transportation and logistics and the social and environmental impacts of both.

            Your words above make it sound like you believe that we will run out of water. We will not run out of water… we simply need to adapt to a new paradigm for getting enough water from places where it is plentiful to places where it is not. And there will be a cost for that. And people in poorer and dryer places are going to have a hard time.

            I find it increasingly difficult to reconcile the standard science-leaning, atheist-leaning left-of-politics-leaning person’s position on things like water and the population. Do you believe in creationism or Darwinism? Do you believe in the teaching of Jesus, or the laws of nature? If the latter, then how do you reconcile so much corruption of the rules of natural selection? If we constantly feed and water areas of the planet that are not able to sustain a population, then don’t we just exacerbate the problems?

            Water and food are the two most fundamental requirements for any animal to survive. Animals can survive in sub-zero climates, and also in raging hot deserts… only if they can access food and water.

            But food production takes water. And food production requires fertilizer which requires energy to produce. And that energy releases carbon into the atmosphere. So if you want to deal with the global population problem and save the environment, you would not advocate for feeding and watering the people living in places where they cannot sustain themselves.

            This illustration is the fundamental dysfunction of a combined social and environmental justice platform. There is a large conflict of interest that cannot be resolved unless one or the other positions gives.

            In countries like the US, we can afford to implement the necessary technology and infrastructure to feed and water the people. That is as long as we step flooding our country with too many poor and uneducated and demand that we keep raising taxes on everyone to give to the government so the government can funnel a greater and greater share of our limited monetary resources to provide them things. Basically, if we keep pursuing the liberal social justice short-term “safe all the people of the world” policies, we will eventually join those other places on the planet as unable to sustain ourselves.

        2. Don Shor

          On what do you base your assumption that the environmental concerns are “irrational?” The outflow from desalinization plants contains a lot of stuff, and there is a huge volume involved. Usually the argument comes down to how far out the company will be required to go with their discharge pipes, because it costs them money and they don’t want to reduce their profits. Here’s a list of some of the environmental concerns. Bear in mind: if you don’t go far enough out, these come back in to shore and affect marine life. http://www.paua.de/Impacts.htm
          So the answer, as usual, is for the state to regulate this.

          1. Frankly

            It is irrational to make the case that we are running out of water and so need to conserve more and more.

            The rational position is that we need to factor that water transport will be more and more necessary and so we need to allocate more of our budgets to water delivery infrastructure.

            And I get your point about environmental impacts from desalinization. But then there are the environmental impacts from transporting water from wet areas to dry areas. There are environmental impacts from just breathing and belching and farting. Bottom line… if it was not for people the natural world would be in very good shape.

          2. Don Shor

            It is irrational to make the case that we are running out of water and so need to conserve more and more.

            The rational position is that we need to factor that water transport will be more and more necessary and so we need to allocate more of our budgets to water delivery infrastructure.

            Our issues are largely distribution, not supply; storage is one way we solve that. We need to move forward on the Sites and probably Temperance Flat projects. But distribution is always a battle because you’re taking real or perceived water supplies from one region to another. I’m always startled and amused by Northern Californians’ fierce ‘ownership’ of water that is conveyed south (“they’re stealing our water!’). I’m guessing most readers of this blog oppose the distribution network being proposed for water through the Delta tunnels.

          3. Frankly

            I am fine with the state regulating desalinization. I am not in favor of irrational environmental extremism to rule the policy.

        3. tribeUSA

          Another important factor to mention is that operational costs for desalination plants are mainly for energy use; and there are fundamental thermodynamic limits on how little energy is needed to separate water from salt; I believe some of the newer and proposed plants are getting near theoretical maximum thermodynamic efficiency in terms of energy usage. So as energy costs continue to rise in the future, this does not bode well for costs of desalinated water. One major class of desalination plant designs rely directly on on-site solar energy for providing the energy for desalination (through direct evaporation and other related clever energy captures/conversions).

          1. Tia Will

            Frankly

            “There is an endless loop of supply.”

            I agree with this statement. I do not agree with the extrapolation that you seem to making that an “endless loop” equals an infinite quantity. These two are not the same and there is no guarantee that the population of the earth could never exceed the carrying capacity of the earth with the absolute amount of water in the “loop” being one of the limiting factors.

  17. Tia Will

    Frankly

    “I find it increasingly difficult to reconcile the standard science-leaning, atheist-leaning left-of-politics-leaning person’s position on things like water and the population. Do you believe in creationism or Darwinism? Do you believe in the teaching of Jesus, or the laws of nature? If the latter, then how do you reconcile so much corruption of the rules of natural selection? If we constantly feed and water areas of the planet that are not able to sustain a population, then don’t we just exacerbate the problems?”

    Just as you find it difficult to reconcile ……”, I find it difficult to understand why you apparently favor an either or approach to almost every topic. I do not see belief in the “teaching of Jesus” as inimical to the “laws of nature”.
    I find it entirely congruent that Jesus’ teachings might be seen as a means to socialize people and to teach that our reason and generosity of spirit could be tapped so as to elevate ourselves above the “dog eat dog” world of animals that do not have our rational or spiritual capacity.

    Likewise, i do not see that it is necessary for creationism and Darwinism to be at odds. Why not consider that natural selection might be a means used by a creative force to enact the desired vision. I often confront this in medicine. I have no conflict with Christians or those of other religious faiths who question me about my practice.
    I feel that it is entirely conceivable that our human brain with its capacity for invention could have been the means behind providing modern procedures such as transfusions and devices such as IUDs to help humans reach their full potential. I do not see these as contradictory at all.

    1. Frankly

      Jesus did not save everyone. In fact, Jesus through God, and God himself, was more apt to cause great misery to people not doing the right things as a way to teach them to change their behavior.

      I agree that God’s design for us includes the expectation that we will use our brain. We should know how to use a calculator and we should be honest with respect to sustainability.

      Tia – I entered a longer response and the website malfunctioned and it was gone. But the essence of that response was that you and I differ on the consideration of money and its role in society. You seem to see it as a necessary evil and I see it as a necessary necessity as long as our system allows enough freedom of choice and consequence for exchange of value for money.

      Value is the key. A regulated free market economy naturally establishes the level of monetary returns based on market value.

      If you don’t have this method, then you have to arbitrarily decide. You have advocated for this… some nebulous idea about setting wage levels to level of effort and not market value.

      If you look at our problems with government compensation you can see the problem.

      Someone has to decide if not the market. And that someone is corruptible. And the end is just another type of unfairness… but one that cannot be so easily remedied by the individual.

      In the case of market -based monetary value the individual has control to go do something else, or work to improve the value of the thing he/she wants to exchange for more money. And markets are dynamic. New opportunities present themselves and the resourceful, enterprising and creative people can take advantage of that.

      And again, if we want to subsidize some roles that have greater social value, then I am fine with that. But only for those roles that do not have any market value. Because otherwise government meddling in the free markets causes greater negative consequences. Government should do the top-down work… establishing the infrastructure that keep the markets the healthiest so that people can go get their own stuff.

      And that “stuff” should include healthcare.

      1. Tia Will

        Frankly

        “You have advocated for this… some nebulous idea about setting wage levels to level of effort and not market value.”

        This is once again a misrepresentation of my position. I have never, ever, advocated for “some nebulous idea about setting wage levels to the level of effort….” What I have advocated for consistently is to set the level of compensation at a fixed level based on the cost of living. Then provide everyone with exactly the same compensation based on the one “commodity” that is exactly the same for all of us….time. What could possibly be more objective and more clear than paying on the basis of one hour contributed = one unit of pay ( the same for everyone).

        Under this system the only thing that would require deciding is what the amount is needed as the base compensation. We have a great deal of experience in deciding how much it takes to live in our society. We establish poverty levels and percentages there of.
        What I propose is that every man, woman and child in our society receive sufficient funds to live at ( X amount above the poverty level). Then with the assurance that no one is going to starve or be homeless or lack medical care, individuals would be free to put in more credited time if they wanted to earn more luxuries.

        Their is ample precedent for this in our current system. It is called overtime. I work my regular schedule and get my regular compensation. If I want more money, and my employer has need for my services, I can open additional clinic hours and get paid for each hour worked. I get paid at the same rate that I am paid for my regular work schedule since I am doing this voluntarily.

        This would be a time, not effort based system. I trust you would agree that an hour is an objective measure and the same for everyone.

        I honestly cannot see how you can consider this a
        “nebulous” idea since it is absolutely concrete with only two variables.
        1) At what level to set the base, or cost of living allowance ( the same for everyone).
        2) At what level to set the compensation for additional hours worked. ( the same for everyone)
        I am sure that these two numbers could be arrived at without too much trouble by anyone proficient with a knowledge of the poverty level and a calculator.

        1. Frankly

          What could possibly be more objective and more clear than paying on the basis of one hour contributed = one unit of pay ( the same for everyone).

          It may be objective and clear, but not rational since if someone could make what a doctor makes without having to go to college for 10-14 years, then we would have very few doctors.

          Everyone has time. There is no differentiation between one person and another for the amount of time. So in this respect, you are correct that it is a commodity. But people are already are paid for their time of labor. What you are taking out with this utopian egalitarian idea of paying everyone the same is the differentiation of pay for different skills and experience and market value of both. And with your ideas, you are certainly not paying any differentiation for actual performance on the job.

          I am starting to worry a bit that you do not understand human behavior at a macro level. Look at drug use for example. Look at obesity. Humans generally pursue what feels good. Keeping them from self-destruction requires three things: principles to live by, rules that constrain bad behavior, and systems that motivate good behavior. I am all about principles over rules, but my preference is systems that motivate good behavior by rewarding good behavior and then consequences for bad behavior.

          Of course we need all three, but systems are the key because they can be design to provide an environment of individual freedom within a larger framework of constraints.

          Regulated free market capitalism is a system. It is a fantastic system if we honor and support it. We move away from that system at our peril.

          As a society we can spiral upwards to greater and greater accomplishment and opportunity, or we can decline.

      2. DavisBurns

        We would be a rich country if we did not allow the obscene accumulation of wealth by a few who, by virtue of their wealth and the power that comes with wealth, are able to circumvent and manipulate the laws of every country from which they extract wealth, so that they don’t pay their fair share of taxes nor do they pay for the externalities of the natural resources they use. A regulated “free market” would correct for this unsustainable imbalance.

        The current accumulation of wealth by a very few is a serious threat to our democracy.

        I will grant that this is off the topic of water. Unless, you consider that there is an effort to privatize water for profit in this country and across the world and we are a small part of that here in Davis with our private/public water project with CH2MHill. If you want to read about the communities that have worked with them and lived to regret it, the stories are out there courtesy of Google.

  18. Tia Will

    Frankly

    “I find it increasingly difficult to reconcile the standard science-leaning, atheist-leaning left-of-politics-leaning person’s position on things like water and the population. Do you believe in creationism or Darwinism? Do you believe in the teaching of Jesus, or the laws of nature? If the latter, then how do you reconcile so much corruption of the rules of natural selection? If we constantly feed and water areas of the planet that are not able to sustain a population, then don’t we just exacerbate the problems?”

    Just as you find it difficult to reconcile ……”, I find it difficult to understand why you apparently favor an either or approach to almost every topic. I do not see belief in the “teaching of Jesus” as inimical to the “laws of nature”.
    I find it entirely congruent that Jesus’ teachings might be seen as a means to socialize people and to teach that our reason and generosity of spirit could be tapped so as to elevate ourselves above the “dog eat dog” world of animals that do not have our rational or spiritual capacity.

    Likewise, i do not see that it is necessary for creationism and Darwinism to be at odds. Why not consider that natural selection might be a means used by a creative force to enact the desired vision. I often confront this in medicine. I have no conflict with Christians or those of other religious faiths who question me about my practice.
    I feel that it is entirely conceivable that our human brain with its capacity for invention could have been the means behind providing modern procedures such as transfusions and devices such as IUDs to help humans reach their full potential. I do not see these as contradictory at all.

    1. Frankly

      Jesus did not save everyone. In fact, Jesus through God, and God himself, was more apt to cause great misery to people not doing the right things as a way to teach them to change their behavior.

      I agree that God’s design for us includes the expectation that we will use our brain. We should know how to use a calculator and we should be honest with respect to sustainability.

      Tia – I entered a longer response and the website malfunctioned and it was gone. But the essence of that response was that you and I differ on the consideration of money and its role in society. You seem to see it as a necessary evil and I see it as a necessary necessity as long as our system allows enough freedom of choice and consequence for exchange of value for money.

      Value is the key. A regulated free market economy naturally establishes the level of monetary returns based on market value.

      If you don’t have this method, then you have to arbitrarily decide. You have advocated for this… some nebulous idea about setting wage levels to level of effort and not market value.

      If you look at our problems with government compensation you can see the problem.

      Someone has to decide if not the market. And that someone is corruptible. And the end is just another type of unfairness… but one that cannot be so easily remedied by the individual.

      In the case of market -based monetary value the individual has control to go do something else, or work to improve the value of the thing he/she wants to exchange for more money. And markets are dynamic. New opportunities present themselves and the resourceful, enterprising and creative people can take advantage of that.

      And again, if we want to subsidize some roles that have greater social value, then I am fine with that. But only for those roles that do not have any market value. Because otherwise government meddling in the free markets causes greater negative consequences. Government should do the top-down work… establishing the infrastructure that keep the markets the healthiest so that people can go get their own stuff.

      And that “stuff” should include healthcare.

      1. Tia Will

        Frankly

        “You have advocated for this… some nebulous idea about setting wage levels to level of effort and not market value.”

        This is once again a misrepresentation of my position. I have never, ever, advocated for “some nebulous idea about setting wage levels to the level of effort….” What I have advocated for consistently is to set the level of compensation at a fixed level based on the cost of living. Then provide everyone with exactly the same compensation based on the one “commodity” that is exactly the same for all of us….time. What could possibly be more objective and more clear than paying on the basis of one hour contributed = one unit of pay ( the same for everyone).

        Under this system the only thing that would require deciding is what the amount is needed as the base compensation. We have a great deal of experience in deciding how much it takes to live in our society. We establish poverty levels and percentages there of.
        What I propose is that every man, woman and child in our society receive sufficient funds to live at ( X amount above the poverty level). Then with the assurance that no one is going to starve or be homeless or lack medical care, individuals would be free to put in more credited time if they wanted to earn more luxuries.

        Their is ample precedent for this in our current system. It is called overtime. I work my regular schedule and get my regular compensation. If I want more money, and my employer has need for my services, I can open additional clinic hours and get paid for each hour worked. I get paid at the same rate that I am paid for my regular work schedule since I am doing this voluntarily.

        This would be a time, not effort based system. I trust you would agree that an hour is an objective measure and the same for everyone.

        I honestly cannot see how you can consider this a
        “nebulous” idea since it is absolutely concrete with only two variables.
        1) At what level to set the base, or cost of living allowance ( the same for everyone).
        2) At what level to set the compensation for additional hours worked. ( the same for everyone)
        I am sure that these two numbers could be arrived at without too much trouble by anyone proficient with a knowledge of the poverty level and a calculator.

        1. Frankly

          What could possibly be more objective and more clear than paying on the basis of one hour contributed = one unit of pay ( the same for everyone).

          It may be objective and clear, but not rational since if someone could make what a doctor makes without having to go to college for 10-14 years, then we would have very few doctors.

          Everyone has time. There is no differentiation between one person and another for the amount of time. So in this respect, you are correct that it is a commodity. But people are already are paid for their time of labor. What you are taking out with this utopian egalitarian idea of paying everyone the same is the differentiation of pay for different skills and experience and market value of both. And with your ideas, you are certainly not paying any differentiation for actual performance on the job.

          I am starting to worry a bit that you do not understand human behavior at a macro level. Look at drug use for example. Look at obesity. Humans generally pursue what feels good. Keeping them from self-destruction requires three things: principles to live by, rules that constrain bad behavior, and systems that motivate good behavior. I am all about principles over rules, but my preference is systems that motivate good behavior by rewarding good behavior and then consequences for bad behavior.

          Of course we need all three, but systems are the key because they can be design to provide an environment of individual freedom within a larger framework of constraints.

          Regulated free market capitalism is a system. It is a fantastic system if we honor and support it. We move away from that system at our peril.

          As a society we can spiral upwards to greater and greater accomplishment and opportunity, or we can decline.

      2. DavisBurns

        We would be a rich country if we did not allow the obscene accumulation of wealth by a few who, by virtue of their wealth and the power that comes with wealth, are able to circumvent and manipulate the laws of every country from which they extract wealth, so that they don’t pay their fair share of taxes nor do they pay for the externalities of the natural resources they use. A regulated “free market” would correct for this unsustainable imbalance.

        The current accumulation of wealth by a very few is a serious threat to our democracy.

        I will grant that this is off the topic of water. Unless, you consider that there is an effort to privatize water for profit in this country and across the world and we are a small part of that here in Davis with our private/public water project with CH2MHill. If you want to read about the communities that have worked with them and lived to regret it, the stories are out there courtesy of Google.

  19. Tia Will

    Frankly

    “This illustration is the fundamental dysfunction of a combined social and environmental justice platform. There is a large conflict of interest that cannot be resolved unless one or the other positions gives.”

    I see this as yet another example of your dichotomous way of thinking. I do not agree that one has to abandon one principle or the other. I do believe that honoring both will take time and a tremendous change in both societal attitudes and development of a much greater willingness to think outside the box. As some preliminary steps I would recommend the following .

    1) Realize that although we will be unable to save every person everywhere, that we do have an obligation
    to help those who present to us directly. You brought up Jesus, so I will respond in kind. Did not Jesus teach
    that we are directed and obligated to help those who are weaker than ourselves ?
    2) Change the “American Dream” from a belief that every generation should aspire to be materially better off
    than their parents to one in which the dream is for every individual to make a greater contribution to the
    well being of humanity than did their parents.
    3) Replace your insistence on only considering material harm ( usually meaning money or possessions) with
    an at least equally consideration of spiritual harm, both to those we refuse to help, and to our own spirit by
    not conforming to the teachings of Jesus ( or whichever spiritual power you acknowledge).
    4) Consider that raising the standard of living for those in deprivational circumstances will not raise, but rather
    lower the number of humans that have to be supported in environmentally challenging circumstances.
    It has been shown as Don has pointed out repeatedly that as the standard of living increases, the population
    drops as women ( who are enabled by their society to do so) choose to have fewer children since they gain
    greater certainty that their children will survive.

    1. Frankly

      I see this as yet another example of your dichotomous way of thinking. I do not agree that one has to abandon one principle or the other.

      Nuance is the wind moving the leaves of the tree, but principles are the roots holding the tree firm. Without healthy roots, the leaves will not exist and the tree eventually topples.

  20. Tia Will

    Frankly

    “This illustration is the fundamental dysfunction of a combined social and environmental justice platform. There is a large conflict of interest that cannot be resolved unless one or the other positions gives.”

    I see this as yet another example of your dichotomous way of thinking. I do not agree that one has to abandon one principle or the other. I do believe that honoring both will take time and a tremendous change in both societal attitudes and development of a much greater willingness to think outside the box. As some preliminary steps I would recommend the following .

    1) Realize that although we will be unable to save every person everywhere, that we do have an obligation
    to help those who present to us directly. You brought up Jesus, so I will respond in kind. Did not Jesus teach
    that we are directed and obligated to help those who are weaker than ourselves ?
    2) Change the “American Dream” from a belief that every generation should aspire to be materially better off
    than their parents to one in which the dream is for every individual to make a greater contribution to the
    well being of humanity than did their parents.
    3) Replace your insistence on only considering material harm ( usually meaning money or possessions) with
    an at least equally consideration of spiritual harm, both to those we refuse to help, and to our own spirit by
    not conforming to the teachings of Jesus ( or whichever spiritual power you acknowledge).
    4) Consider that raising the standard of living for those in deprivational circumstances will not raise, but rather
    lower the number of humans that have to be supported in environmentally challenging circumstances.
    It has been shown as Don has pointed out repeatedly that as the standard of living increases, the population
    drops as women ( who are enabled by their society to do so) choose to have fewer children since they gain
    greater certainty that their children will survive.

    1. Frankly

      I see this as yet another example of your dichotomous way of thinking. I do not agree that one has to abandon one principle or the other.

      Nuance is the wind moving the leaves of the tree, but principles are the roots holding the tree firm. Without healthy roots, the leaves will not exist and the tree eventually topples.

  21. Tia Will

    Frankly

    “Nuance is the wind moving the leaves of the tree, but principles are the roots holding the tree firm. Without healthy roots, the leaves will not exist and the tree eventually topples.”

    True. Equally true is that without the function of healthy leaves, just as without the roots, the tree will eventually topple.

    It seems to me that you and are equally wedded to our own set of myths of how the world works.
    You seem to approach the world from a good vs evil, right vs wrong, free market as the rightful basis of transactions point of view. With this comes the belief that you your own version of good vs evil, right vs wrong is the correct view.
    I tend to see the world as having many possibilities for interpretation and an awareness that reasonable people may not share my understanding of the “principles” of right vs wrong. One small example. I believe that you favor the death penalty under certain circumstances while I view it as entirely unacceptable under any circumstances. You believe that you are “right”. I believe that this is immoral and against my “principles”. So who is correct Frankly ?

    Your once asked me if I am a creationist. My answer is it depends. If you are using “creationist” to indicate a belief in some anthropomorphized super human like being, then definitely not. If you are using the word “creationist” to mean a belief in a creative force which we, as humans will never fully comprehend and which is most certainly not accurately described by any of our creation myths ( aka religions) then my answer would be “yes”.

    What I see as a root cause of many of our social, economic and environmental problems is the hubristic way that humans have defined their position in nature. We have chosen to define ourselves as superior and thus worthy of “dominion” over all of nature. We have woven this into our creation myths and bestowed this dominance on ourselves as a mandate from “God”. I feel that we as humans, and the rest of the world, which we have chosen to despoil for our immediate comfort rather than serving as “good stewards” would be much better off if we had chosen harmonious co-existence as our mandate instead of dominance. Fortunately, as humans, we have the ability to reason and could still have the power to make this choice.

  22. Tia Will

    Frankly

    “Nuance is the wind moving the leaves of the tree, but principles are the roots holding the tree firm. Without healthy roots, the leaves will not exist and the tree eventually topples.”

    True. Equally true is that without the function of healthy leaves, just as without the roots, the tree will eventually topple.

    It seems to me that you and are equally wedded to our own set of myths of how the world works.
    You seem to approach the world from a good vs evil, right vs wrong, free market as the rightful basis of transactions point of view. With this comes the belief that you your own version of good vs evil, right vs wrong is the correct view.
    I tend to see the world as having many possibilities for interpretation and an awareness that reasonable people may not share my understanding of the “principles” of right vs wrong. One small example. I believe that you favor the death penalty under certain circumstances while I view it as entirely unacceptable under any circumstances. You believe that you are “right”. I believe that this is immoral and against my “principles”. So who is correct Frankly ?

    Your once asked me if I am a creationist. My answer is it depends. If you are using “creationist” to indicate a belief in some anthropomorphized super human like being, then definitely not. If you are using the word “creationist” to mean a belief in a creative force which we, as humans will never fully comprehend and which is most certainly not accurately described by any of our creation myths ( aka religions) then my answer would be “yes”.

    What I see as a root cause of many of our social, economic and environmental problems is the hubristic way that humans have defined their position in nature. We have chosen to define ourselves as superior and thus worthy of “dominion” over all of nature. We have woven this into our creation myths and bestowed this dominance on ourselves as a mandate from “God”. I feel that we as humans, and the rest of the world, which we have chosen to despoil for our immediate comfort rather than serving as “good stewards” would be much better off if we had chosen harmonious co-existence as our mandate instead of dominance. Fortunately, as humans, we have the ability to reason and could still have the power to make this choice.

  23. Tia Will

    Frankly

    “Jesus did not save everyone. In fact, Jesus through God, and God himself, was more apt to cause great misery to people not doing the right things as a way to teach them to change their behavior.”

    Here you are relying on a definition of “God” that I do not share.
    My above post will perhaps explain why. I am not an atheist. I do believe in the existence of a creative force beyond human capacity of understanding.
    It is equally true that I do not believe that the words of the Christian bible ( or any other myth of creation) are literally true.

  24. Tia Will

    Frankly

    “Jesus did not save everyone. In fact, Jesus through God, and God himself, was more apt to cause great misery to people not doing the right things as a way to teach them to change their behavior.”

    Here you are relying on a definition of “God” that I do not share.
    My above post will perhaps explain why. I am not an atheist. I do believe in the existence of a creative force beyond human capacity of understanding.
    It is equally true that I do not believe that the words of the Christian bible ( or any other myth of creation) are literally true.

  25. Frankly

    Tia – I watched Snowpiercer last night with my son. It started out campy and then it built and built and ended up being a pretty good movie. Of course the messaging and plot was over simplified and the thing was dripping with political hyperbole of classism… the ol’ have and have-nots.

    I will make this simple. For the sake of argument, let’s say there are three states of community governance: free, equal and class-stratified. The later is the plot of the movie. That class-stratification is necessary to keep order, and order is necessary for the good of the community.

    The counter to that idea would be your egalitarian equality idea… the type of community where everyone is equal and everyone gets along well enough to maintain that equality.

    And then there is a community of individual freedom.

    As the young lady and child left the train as the only two apparent survivors, assuming they survived and mated and began the creation of a new community of people, eventually there will be a need for principles and rules to constrain freedom of the individual so as not to cause harm to other individuals and to keep the community sustainable and well-functioning.

    See where this is heading?

    Of course the key is to always strike a balance.

    The problem with egalitarian systems of collectivism is that it requires enforcement to prevent the exceptional from pulling away from the pack. But then the exceptional simply pursue the enforcer job and then they exploit the power… absolute power… to pull away from the pack. And then you end up with the Snowpiercer community. This is the reason why systems of collectivism do not work. They convert the motivations of the exceptional to seek political success for monetary reward, rather than market success.

    But political success means absolute power. It provides the monopoly of all monopolies that only can be toppled by violent revolt.

    Conversely, a well-functioning system of free market capitalism is a principled and constrained system of freedoms where the exceptional individual that gain power can be knocked down by the next exceptional individual building the better mouse trap.

    It is an artificial system from certain perspectives. If the super volcano at Yellowstone erupts today, those few global survivors will certainly not start out putting a system of free market capitalism into place. They will more likely seek the type of system you desire to start out. But then as their community grows they would find it increasingly difficult to prevent the corruption and exploitation of power by those exceptional individuals that rise to the top. They would be wise to turn toward a system of regulated free market capitalism…

    I urge you to look at the glass half full… the number of people that are well-served by the RFMC system instead of the smaller number of people that struggle because they don’t want to, or don’t know how to, compete at an economic level.

    Like left-leaning people before you, you can let the perfect be the enemy of the good. And then America becomes a giant Argentina and you will really know the face of poverty and not the artificial version that we have in America today.

    1. Tia Will

      Frankly

      “And then America becomes a giant Argentina and you will really know the face of poverty and not the artificial version that we have in America today.”

      I do not share your view that the ugly future that you portray is the only alternative to a “freedom” based system as you portray it. You also seem to be failing to perceive that our “freedom and free market” based system has resulted in exactly the poor outcome that you state is the inevitable out come of a collectivist state. If less than one percent of the population controls the vase majority of the power in a system, what difference does it make what we call the process by which this system evolved.

      “Conversely, a well-functioning system of free market capitalism is a principled and constrained system of freedoms where the exceptional individual that gain power can be knocked down by the next exceptional individual building the better mouse trap.”

      The other point that you are not appreciating as expressed in this quote, is that not only can the “exceptional individual” be knocked down by the next “exceptional individual” but that those who are not so “exceptional” can be knocked and then held down by those with more power. But, what if we chose to fundamentally change the values with which we raised our children ? What if we were to teach them that true power lies in contribution, not in accumulation of wealth ? What if we taught them that their worth depended not upon their ability to “knock down” the other “exceptional person” but rather to use their unique skills to help everyone succeed and contribute to their full ability. We as human beings have a rather unique capacity. We have the ability to define and pass on to our children our values.
      I would prefer passing on a system that values collaboration over competition and contribution over materialism.
      It is possible. We define our world. The choice is ours.

  26. Frankly

    Tia – I watched Snowpiercer last night with my son. It started out campy and then it built and built and ended up being a pretty good movie. Of course the messaging and plot was over simplified and the thing was dripping with political hyperbole of classism… the ol’ have and have-nots.

    I will make this simple. For the sake of argument, let’s say there are three states of community governance: free, equal and class-stratified. The later is the plot of the movie. That class-stratification is necessary to keep order, and order is necessary for the good of the community.

    The counter to that idea would be your egalitarian equality idea… the type of community where everyone is equal and everyone gets along well enough to maintain that equality.

    And then there is a community of individual freedom.

    As the young lady and child left the train as the only two apparent survivors, assuming they survived and mated and began the creation of a new community of people, eventually there will be a need for principles and rules to constrain freedom of the individual so as not to cause harm to other individuals and to keep the community sustainable and well-functioning.

    See where this is heading?

    Of course the key is to always strike a balance.

    The problem with egalitarian systems of collectivism is that it requires enforcement to prevent the exceptional from pulling away from the pack. But then the exceptional simply pursue the enforcer job and then they exploit the power… absolute power… to pull away from the pack. And then you end up with the Snowpiercer community. This is the reason why systems of collectivism do not work. They convert the motivations of the exceptional to seek political success for monetary reward, rather than market success.

    But political success means absolute power. It provides the monopoly of all monopolies that only can be toppled by violent revolt.

    Conversely, a well-functioning system of free market capitalism is a principled and constrained system of freedoms where the exceptional individual that gain power can be knocked down by the next exceptional individual building the better mouse trap.

    It is an artificial system from certain perspectives. If the super volcano at Yellowstone erupts today, those few global survivors will certainly not start out putting a system of free market capitalism into place. They will more likely seek the type of system you desire to start out. But then as their community grows they would find it increasingly difficult to prevent the corruption and exploitation of power by those exceptional individuals that rise to the top. They would be wise to turn toward a system of regulated free market capitalism…

    I urge you to look at the glass half full… the number of people that are well-served by the RFMC system instead of the smaller number of people that struggle because they don’t want to, or don’t know how to, compete at an economic level.

    Like left-leaning people before you, you can let the perfect be the enemy of the good. And then America becomes a giant Argentina and you will really know the face of poverty and not the artificial version that we have in America today.

    1. Tia Will

      Frankly

      “And then America becomes a giant Argentina and you will really know the face of poverty and not the artificial version that we have in America today.”

      I do not share your view that the ugly future that you portray is the only alternative to a “freedom” based system as you portray it. You also seem to be failing to perceive that our “freedom and free market” based system has resulted in exactly the poor outcome that you state is the inevitable out come of a collectivist state. If less than one percent of the population controls the vase majority of the power in a system, what difference does it make what we call the process by which this system evolved.

      “Conversely, a well-functioning system of free market capitalism is a principled and constrained system of freedoms where the exceptional individual that gain power can be knocked down by the next exceptional individual building the better mouse trap.”

      The other point that you are not appreciating as expressed in this quote, is that not only can the “exceptional individual” be knocked down by the next “exceptional individual” but that those who are not so “exceptional” can be knocked and then held down by those with more power. But, what if we chose to fundamentally change the values with which we raised our children ? What if we were to teach them that true power lies in contribution, not in accumulation of wealth ? What if we taught them that their worth depended not upon their ability to “knock down” the other “exceptional person” but rather to use their unique skills to help everyone succeed and contribute to their full ability. We as human beings have a rather unique capacity. We have the ability to define and pass on to our children our values.
      I would prefer passing on a system that values collaboration over competition and contribution over materialism.
      It is possible. We define our world. The choice is ours.

  27. Tia Will

    Don Shor

    “As the young lady and child left the train as the only two apparent survivors”

    That last scene has another component that I will not spoil, which leaves Frankly’s interpretation open to alternative interpretation.
    I think it is still worth seeing.

  28. Tia Will

    Don Shor

    “As the young lady and child left the train as the only two apparent survivors”

    That last scene has another component that I will not spoil, which leaves Frankly’s interpretation open to alternative interpretation.
    I think it is still worth seeing.

  29. Tia Will

    Frankly

    “political hyperbole of classism… the ol’ have and have-nots.”

    A simple question. Do you not believe that there exist, factually, within the world, and within our own society “haves and have nots” ?

    1. Frankly

      Haves and have nots exist in every society. Your egalitarian utopia does not exist because people are born with differing capacities and personalities and don’t all fit it a box of equality. The point is that the American system of democratic, regulated free market capitalism is the best at providing the greatest opportunity for the have nots to lift themselves up to be haves.

      But the differentiation starts in school. Those wired with academic gifts do better than those not so blessed.

      In fact, I think we should start taxing parent of students with higher grades to give to the parents of students with lower grades so that those parents can use the money to higher more tutors so their kids can get equal grades.

      If you think that is absurd then you have just implicated your ideology as being the same.

      1. wdf1

        Frankly: But the differentiation starts in school. Those wired with academic gifts do better than those not so blessed.

        And how do you define those academic gifts? Standardized test scores, especially in reading and math. It gives politicians and business types a sense of objectivity in education policy, but it is a very incomplete and limited. It is the main way that the U.S. public school system is judged to be “crappy”. Education doesn’t necessarily fit into a Taylor business model. It even hurts “successful” kids to pretend that education works that way.

        Einstein: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

  30. Tia Will

    Frankly

    “political hyperbole of classism… the ol’ have and have-nots.”

    A simple question. Do you not believe that there exist, factually, within the world, and within our own society “haves and have nots” ?

    1. Frankly

      Haves and have nots exist in every society. Your egalitarian utopia does not exist because people are born with differing capacities and personalities and don’t all fit it a box of equality. The point is that the American system of democratic, regulated free market capitalism is the best at providing the greatest opportunity for the have nots to lift themselves up to be haves.

      But the differentiation starts in school. Those wired with academic gifts do better than those not so blessed.

      In fact, I think we should start taxing parent of students with higher grades to give to the parents of students with lower grades so that those parents can use the money to higher more tutors so their kids can get equal grades.

      If you think that is absurd then you have just implicated your ideology as being the same.

      1. wdf1

        Frankly: But the differentiation starts in school. Those wired with academic gifts do better than those not so blessed.

        And how do you define those academic gifts? Standardized test scores, especially in reading and math. It gives politicians and business types a sense of objectivity in education policy, but it is a very incomplete and limited. It is the main way that the U.S. public school system is judged to be “crappy”. Education doesn’t necessarily fit into a Taylor business model. It even hurts “successful” kids to pretend that education works that way.

        Einstein: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

  31. DavisBurns

    Back to the water issue in California and Davis in particular. I am the unhappy consumer of an average 774 gallons per day of water according to the Davis Waterinsight website. The City says I should aim for 199 and that similar households use 280 gallons per day.

    I have a pool, but I wish I didn’t. It uses about 300 gallons per week in the summer. We are told a pool uses about the same as the same area if it were planted in grass.

    We use less than average inside the house. We have low flow toilets and the one we use most has a liquid and solid waste option for flushing. We have a dishwasher and washer that use very little water.

    We had an underground drip watering system installed and have a tiny patch of grass on the corner. Everything else is ‘low water’ use but not drought tolerant which means it needs to be watered in the summer as opposed to plants that expect water in the winter and actually need not to be watered in the summer. The alleged advantage of a buried (an inch or two below the surface) system is all the water goes to the roots of the plant rather than evaporating in the air. Supposedly, this uses less water but there are significant problems when there are leaks–knowing that there is a leak and finding the leak.

    We have spent 3 years trying to live responsibly with this expensive system. A couple of months ago, we realized the contractor said he installed 24″ on center spaced tubing but we, in fact, had 12″ on center tubing installed. We had already reduced his recommended schedule by about 50% but we reduced it a little more. We have done more to determine where all that water goes than most families ever will. We have taken water meter readings before and after running each zone. First we did five minute samples but when we ran all the zones, we found the water consumption was much much higher than our extrapolation from 5 minute readings. Then we measured the water used by each zone by reading the meter. We still haven’t solved the problem but we have gone from watering daily as the manufacturer recommends to watering 3 times a week but applying the same amount of water in order to encourage plants to grow deeper roots as we did prior to having this system installed–with thanks to Don Shor for encouraging us to return to deep infrequent watering.

    My point is, you cannot assume that just because you have low flow toilets, shower heads and appliances and you do not have water running in the gutter that you are conserving water. You can assume (if you don’t have a leak or a toilet with a bad seal that leaks slowly–that will use about 300 gallons in 12 hours–I know because we measured it) that you aren’t consuming too much inside but it is the landscaping that uses 60 to 80% of the water you are billed for. The admonition to install drip watering is not a panacea. And if you just use those cheap soaker hoses to water–they use a lot of water and it is easy to leave them on and forget them.

    The City’s meter’s read CCF and they aren’t easy to read and the conversion to gallons is tedious. There are 774 gallons in a CCF. Just like with energy where people can’t seem to agree on units of measure, the use of different measures makes it difficult to communicate or understand the volume under discussion.

    While I do not look forward to the increase in water rates, I know that it will motivate people to pay attention to their water use. I think Sacramento should install water meters. Given what we have done, it is clear that it is necessary to measure water use in order to actually conserve. If we had no meter, we would assume that we had done everything to conserve water.

    I also see a lot of lawns going brown in Davis but I do not find it unattractive. I have lived in much greener places and it seems like the norm but after more than 30 years in California and watching the hills turn green in the winter and pale golden brown in the late spring, I have come to see that buff colored grass as what California is meant to be in the summer. We need to adjust our expectations and what we plant. It’s crazy to plant things that are thirsty in this climate. Just take a walk in the arboretum if you want to see how beautiful California can be with little or no added water.

  32. DavisBurns

    Back to the water issue in California and Davis in particular. I am the unhappy consumer of an average 774 gallons per day of water according to the Davis Waterinsight website. The City says I should aim for 199 and that similar households use 280 gallons per day.

    I have a pool, but I wish I didn’t. It uses about 300 gallons per week in the summer. We are told a pool uses about the same as the same area if it were planted in grass.

    We use less than average inside the house. We have low flow toilets and the one we use most has a liquid and solid waste option for flushing. We have a dishwasher and washer that use very little water.

    We had an underground drip watering system installed and have a tiny patch of grass on the corner. Everything else is ‘low water’ use but not drought tolerant which means it needs to be watered in the summer as opposed to plants that expect water in the winter and actually need not to be watered in the summer. The alleged advantage of a buried (an inch or two below the surface) system is all the water goes to the roots of the plant rather than evaporating in the air. Supposedly, this uses less water but there are significant problems when there are leaks–knowing that there is a leak and finding the leak.

    We have spent 3 years trying to live responsibly with this expensive system. A couple of months ago, we realized the contractor said he installed 24″ on center spaced tubing but we, in fact, had 12″ on center tubing installed. We had already reduced his recommended schedule by about 50% but we reduced it a little more. We have done more to determine where all that water goes than most families ever will. We have taken water meter readings before and after running each zone. First we did five minute samples but when we ran all the zones, we found the water consumption was much much higher than our extrapolation from 5 minute readings. Then we measured the water used by each zone by reading the meter. We still haven’t solved the problem but we have gone from watering daily as the manufacturer recommends to watering 3 times a week but applying the same amount of water in order to encourage plants to grow deeper roots as we did prior to having this system installed–with thanks to Don Shor for encouraging us to return to deep infrequent watering.

    My point is, you cannot assume that just because you have low flow toilets, shower heads and appliances and you do not have water running in the gutter that you are conserving water. You can assume (if you don’t have a leak or a toilet with a bad seal that leaks slowly–that will use about 300 gallons in 12 hours–I know because we measured it) that you aren’t consuming too much inside but it is the landscaping that uses 60 to 80% of the water you are billed for. The admonition to install drip watering is not a panacea. And if you just use those cheap soaker hoses to water–they use a lot of water and it is easy to leave them on and forget them.

    The City’s meter’s read CCF and they aren’t easy to read and the conversion to gallons is tedious. There are 774 gallons in a CCF. Just like with energy where people can’t seem to agree on units of measure, the use of different measures makes it difficult to communicate or understand the volume under discussion.

    While I do not look forward to the increase in water rates, I know that it will motivate people to pay attention to their water use. I think Sacramento should install water meters. Given what we have done, it is clear that it is necessary to measure water use in order to actually conserve. If we had no meter, we would assume that we had done everything to conserve water.

    I also see a lot of lawns going brown in Davis but I do not find it unattractive. I have lived in much greener places and it seems like the norm but after more than 30 years in California and watching the hills turn green in the winter and pale golden brown in the late spring, I have come to see that buff colored grass as what California is meant to be in the summer. We need to adjust our expectations and what we plant. It’s crazy to plant things that are thirsty in this climate. Just take a walk in the arboretum if you want to see how beautiful California can be with little or no added water.

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