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CA Drought Emergency Declared Pt 5

Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared Pt 5

Unread postby Plantagenet » Thu 23 Feb 2017, 11:48:25

The real reason San Jose is flooding isn't the rain or the atmospheric rivers.....its the failure of the dam managers to lower their reservoirs enough to have space for the runoff from these storms.

People in California have apparently forgotten that one of the purposes of man-made dams is to regulate floods. If there is room in the reservoir then it will trap the storm run-off and PREVENT flooding.

The multi-year drought seems to have caused the dam managers to forget how to run the dams--- i.e. they are failing to lower their reservoirs prior to these rainstorms. The reservoirs are already full or nearly full when the rains come, so the dams have to release too much water, causing flooding downstream.

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared Pt 5

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Thu 23 Feb 2017, 12:14:52

jedrider wrote:Well, a San Jose neighborhood is underwater because it was built on a 100-year flood plain, but most people forgot that fact and so, 50,000 people are without a home right now. A bridge is falling south of Big Sur and so Highway 1 is cut off. I love camping there and I think this bridge is on the south side of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, so mostly a bridge to just scenic views, but it is still a major failure. Between sea level rise and Atmospheric Rivers, the bridge didn't have a chance, I suppose.

Still, we'll take the water any time.


The total number of people affected in the San Jose floods was 14,000, a few more than the 1997 floods. All but 200 are salvaging possessions now. Ground floor apartments and houses within the flood zone were damaged to a height of 2-4 feet depending on location.

I happen to believe that all housing built within the 100-year flood zone should be destroyed and the riparian woodlands restored. This is the second time within the 31 years I have lived here that the area has flooded. The woodlands avoid exacerbating the floods, unlike the concrete bridges, culverts, and creekside concrete walls in the area now.

Like many areas in this valley that are at risk from floods, mudslides, and wildfires, the Coyote Creek areas were built up after somebody crossed the palm of a local official with silver. Like magic, waivers are granted that allow construction, and the new homes are sold. Then the homeowners find out about the flood zone from their insurance company.

Flood insurance should not exist for rivers, streams, and ocean beaches. If people choose to live in these areas, it should be with the certain knowledge that they will lose their total investment if the floods or storms destroy their homes. Our generosity should be confined to six months in a FEMA trailer a few hundred miles from their destroyed property. The governments are not your nannies.

Edit: Plant, the Anderson Reservoir (less than 2 miles from my home) has been near empty and the dam under repair since 1998. It was 68% full last year and it did indeed perform it's flood control function this year. There was nothing to manage, the spillway is fixed and there are no floodgates, the spillway began overflowing once the water reached 100% capacity, and at the crest was 3 feet above the spillway. The pipe used to manage water levels is 24" in diameter, which was more than adequate to regulate levels to 68% capacity in the drought years, and totally inadequate with this year's rains. This level was chosen after a seismic study said that the dam (perched squarely on the Calaveras Fault) would fail after a quake of 6.6 magnitude. The earthquake retrofits to the dam were originally scheduled for completion in 2018.

I reside at 110' above sea level, about 50' above the dam, but if the quake happens and the dam fails, there would be an 8' wave of water in South San Jose along Coyote Creek, and a 35' wave of water would destroy all of low-lying Morgan Hill (which is South of the Valley) save for the houses on the hillsides.
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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared Pt 5

Unread postby yportne » Fri 24 Feb 2017, 11:49:38

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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared Pt 5

Unread postby dohboi » Wed 01 Mar 2017, 16:16:05

Wettest year to date in California (1895-present, prelim data)

http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/monitor/cal-mon/

https://twitter.com/climate_guy/status/ ... 7144496128
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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared Pt 5

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Wed 01 Mar 2017, 21:42:02

There is a mini Gold Rush underway. With this much erosion in the mountains, considerable new gold has been washed into the creeks. You have to be a real zealot to go in the Winter, and wear a wetsuit and go into freezing water. I'll take my gold pan on my next camping trip this coming Summer, you never know.
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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared Pt 5

Unread postby jedrider » Thu 09 Mar 2017, 17:11:19

Well, the drought emergency is certainly not behind us:

http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/San-Joaquin-Valley-is-sinking-fast-rains-won-t-10989670.php?ipid=articlerecirc#photo-12513555

But won't the winter's near-record rainfall replenish parched aquifers?
No, says Steven McQuinn, former water conservation writer for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
"There has to be standing water on the floodplain that can seep down and reach the aquifer," McQuinn says. "But such conditions are exactly what the entire flood control system is designed to prevent. Only an emergency release will make the Central Valley the immense floodplain it used to be in the era of uncontrolled rivers, such as the accelerated drawdown of Oroville Lake that flooded the area around Sutter Buttes. Natural flooding is a thing of the past in California."
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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared Pt 5

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Thu 09 Mar 2017, 17:18:55

jedrider wrote:Well, the drought emergency is certainly not behind us:

http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/San-Joaquin-Valley-is-sinking-fast-rains-won-t-10989670.php?ipid=articlerecirc#photo-12513555

But won't the winter's near-record rainfall replenish parched aquifers?
No, says Steven McQuinn, former water conservation writer for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
"There has to be standing water on the floodplain that can seep down and reach the aquifer," McQuinn says. "But such conditions are exactly what the entire flood control system is designed to prevent. Only an emergency release will make the Central Valley the immense floodplain it used to be in the era of uncontrolled rivers, such as the accelerated drawdown of Oroville Lake that flooded the area around Sutter Buttes. Natural flooding is a thing of the past in California."

Hence the need to pump (or at least allow water to run into) the wells that are now too shallow to reach the aquifer level. Some of these wells are 400 feet deep so letting them fill to the top with runoff water would put pressures of 173 pounds per square inch at their bottoms and recharge the aquifer as much as possible. As long as the water being allowed to flow down the hole isn't oil contaminated it is a good way to store it for the next drought.
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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared Pt 5

Unread postby dohboi » Sun 12 Mar 2017, 19:25:22

This might be interesting:

From award winning filmmakers, Marina Zenovich and Alex Gibney, #WaterAndPower is the story of California's most precious resource: water

Premieres Tuesday, March 14, 9 PM. National Geographic Channel.

https://twitter.com/natgeochannel/statu ... 0196459523
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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared Pt 5

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Sat 18 Mar 2017, 14:22:34

dohboi wrote:This might be interesting:

From award winning filmmakers, Marina Zenovich and Alex Gibney, #WaterAndPower is the story of California's most precious resource: water

Premieres Tuesday, March 14, 9 PM. National Geographic Channel.

https://twitter.com/natgeochannel/statu ... 0196459523


In fact, it's worth your time. The actual title is WATER & POWER: A CALIFORNIA HEIST. It is playing this week for free on the National Geographic Channel, and is also available via the usual on-demand video sources.

It's a little preview of things to come. One of the parting blurbs: 1.8 billion humans live today without enough clean and safe water. Within 10 years, over half the world will be in this category.

Of interest also is the California-specific stuff. Each pistachio, almond, and other tree nut requires right around 1 gallon of water to produce, making them some of the least water-efficient crops. But they are very profitable if one does not have to pay for water, and during the years of drought we just endured, nut production skyrocketed in California's Central Valley, at least at large corporate farms with access to water. The small family farms and all the cities suffered the brunt of the drought, while record nut and wine profits were made by major players. But those crops were cover for the real opportunity, which is water - this is the story of a Water Bank in the Southern San Joaquin Valley, and how the desert was made to flower where there were no water resources whatsoever.
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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared Pt 5

Unread postby Tanada » Sun 19 Mar 2017, 12:30:40

Okay folks I just spent an hour splitting off 5 weeks worth of Oroville Dam posts to a thread just for that topic. Lets try and keep those over there and drought posts over here. Thanx.


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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared Pt 5

Unread postby dohboi » Tue 21 Mar 2017, 21:24:58

Thanks as always for your tireless and mostly thankless work here, T.

Don't think it goes completely unnoticed!

This is for all of the N. Am. West, not just CA. But I think it's still relevant here:


Image

Things are changing as we speak, folks. This is real. This is happening.
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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared Pt 5

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Wed 22 Mar 2017, 04:29:19

dohboi wrote:

Image

Things are changing as we speak, folks. This is real. This is happening.

I'd like to see their margin of error bars for their forty years ahead projections. When was it published and did their methodology predict this winters precipitation?
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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared Pt 5

Unread postby dohboi » Wed 22 Mar 2017, 07:46:48

Models don't predict year to year precipitation in specific states. This is a general idea of what has happened and what is coming based on the best science. Usually, these types of models have been underestimating how how bad things have been actually getting and how quickly they've been getting there, so far.

Note that it was published in 2012 in Nature Geoscience. Good question on error bars. I'm sure those are discussed in the notes. Sorry I didn't provide a link this time. I'll see if I can dig one up.

ETA: Ah, here's the abstract and the figures: http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v5/n ... o1529.html
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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared Pt 5

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Wed 22 Mar 2017, 10:47:29

dohboi wrote:Models don't predict year to year precipitation in specific states. This is a general idea of what has happened and what is coming based on the best science. Usually, these types of models have been underestimating how how bad things have been actually getting and how quickly they've been getting there, so far.

Note that it was published in 2012 in Nature Geoscience. Good question on error bars. I'm sure those are discussed in the notes. Sorry I didn't provide a link this time. I'll see if I can dig one up.

ETA: Ah, here's the abstract and the figures: http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v5/n ... o1529.html

I'm unsure what they mean by "normalized". It looks like they chose 2000 as the average year then made just the red area 2000 to 2100 equal to the wet blue area 1900 to 2000. The graph above shows 2000 to be an abnormal dry or drought year so why wold you not think it will return up to the mean of the graph above.
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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared Pt 5

Unread postby dohboi » Wed 22 Mar 2017, 11:51:40

Not sure I follow your question. But yeah, the line between blue and red is essentially arbitrary, but it shows that they are predicting that western drought in the coming decades will on average be beyond anything seen in previous recent decades.

It looks like they failed to predict the drought of the last few years, so even this is likely a conservative estimate. (I don't have drought stats ready at hand for all of western North America for the last few years though, but since California's was the biggest drought in about a thousand years, I'm thinking that alone would put this graph well into the red for those years.)
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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared Pt 5

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Wed 22 Mar 2017, 16:59:25

As for the California drought, it's pretty much over at present. Although CA gets an average annual rainfall of 24+ inches, places like the Silly Valley (aka the Santa Clara Valley) are in the "rain shadow" of the Santa Cruz mountain range, we only get 14.90" on average.

The annual totals as we continue to withdraw from the 5-year drought:

2015 - 13.18" - 88% of normal
2016 - 14.91" - 100% of normal
2017 - 15.26" - 138% of normal

I plucked these figures from the National Weather Service web site, and the observation station is the San Jose airport. This is "water year" data, which runs from October 1 of the year before to September 30 of the current year. Yes, it is still raining here as I speak, we will have more than 138% of normal here in the Silly Valley, but who knows how much more. I do recall a few Summer light rain showers in the last 30 years, but they are rare.
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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared Pt 5

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Wed 22 Mar 2017, 17:06:03

dohboi wrote:Not sure I follow your question. But yeah, the line between blue and red is essentially arbitrary, but it shows that they are predicting that western drought in the coming decades will on average be beyond anything seen in previous recent decades.

It looks like they failed to predict the drought of the last few years, so even this is likely a conservative estimate. (I don't have drought stats ready at hand for all of western North America for the last few years though, but since California's was the biggest drought in about a thousand years, I'm thinking that alone would put this graph well into the red for those years.)
Not only did they not predict the drought of the last three years they totally did not predict this years floods. In other words they don't have a clue about what will happen in the future.
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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared Pt 5

Unread postby hvacman » Wed 22 Mar 2017, 17:15:40

California averages 24", San Jose averages 14". At Shasta Lake, we average 65" and have had well over 80" so far. We could hit 100" by the time this rain year ends. I don't know how that is % wise, but in any math, it is enough rain to make you want to scream "Uncle! Uncle!" I really, really need to see some sun soon....
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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared Pt 5

Unread postby dohboi » Wed 22 Mar 2017, 17:52:10

The graph was for the entire west of the entire Northern Hemisphere, and of course they didn't claim to be able to predict even over that vast area exactly what was going to happen in any particular year or set of years. They can't, after all, predict major volcanoes ahead of time. These types of graphs are intended to give a general idea of where we are going in the long term.

The drought in California, though, is not in fact completely over. The Drought Monitor still records drought conditions in some parts of coastal southern Cal, and a spot of long term severe drought in the far south of the state (though that area is pretty damn arid all the time anyway, iirc).

http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

Going from getting much less rain than you need to much more is exactly the kind of erratic pattern predicted for much of the globe with increasing global warming.
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Re: CA Drought Emergency Declared Pt 5

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Wed 22 Mar 2017, 18:59:35

hvacman wrote:California averages 24", San Jose averages 14". At Shasta Lake, we average 65" and have had well over 80" so far. We could hit 100" by the time this rain year ends. I don't know how that is % wise, but in any math, it is enough rain to make you want to scream "Uncle! Uncle!" I really, really need to see some sun soon....

I hear you on getting too much of a good thing. Been there and done that.
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