The drought of the West appears to be the worst in over 500 years. This is what the scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey are now saying and we have been reading in America's Newspapers.
The Western States which rely on the Colorado River have been in a drought for ten years now. The Colorado River is the most important source of water for 26 million people across the West, including Southern California, Southern NV, Phoenix, etc. Many environmental groups state that his reinforces the need to figure out a better way to manage the Colorado River before reservoirs run dry.
The Water report is saying the drought has produced the lowest flow in the Colorado River on record, with an adjusted annual average flow of only 5.4 million acre-feet at Lees Ferry, Ariz., during the period 2001-2003. During the Dust Bowl years, between 1930 and 1937, the annual flow averaged about 10.2 million acre-feet, the report said.
Scientists are using among other things tree-ring reconstructions of Colorado River flows to estimate what conditions were like before record-keeping began in 1895. Using that method, the lowest five-year average of water flow was 8.84 million acre-feet in the years 1590-1594. From 1999 through last year, water flow has been 7.11 million acre-feet. The findings appear to conclude that our current drought may be comparable to or more severe than the largest-known drought in 500 years. In the report was another interesting finding that the river had its highest flow of the 20th century from 1905 to 1922, the years used to estimate how much water Western states would receive under the Colorado River Compact.
The tree-ring study hardly surprised the people living in Las vegas, phoenix or Southern CA, they know this, having been under drought restrictions and conservation measures for years now and the water in Lake Meade is way too low and worrisome to many.
Western US Droughts seldom persist for a decade. And the worst part of this current drought is about 5 years but the previous five before that could also be considered a drought. The biggest problem is it could take as long as five to ten more years of 125% of snow pack to get the water levels up to the needed amount for supply and demand of a larger and growing population. One water manager was discussing this and saying that if the water supply is not recovered in the next five it could take over thirty years to get back to normal and this would include a major and comprehensive public plan to conserve.
If you look at the wood used in the Canyon Indian civilizations and Kivas you can tell that there were years with little rain or tree growth. Some lasting five to ten years in a row.
Here is another thought along this line and what the previous inhabitants had to deal with here on these lands:
Water issues are surely critical indeed:
We can see the changes over the ages from the history left behind from Tree-rings and growth sperts indicating wet years and small distances between rings indicating very little rain fall, in some places on these tree-rings they are so close together it is hard to count the rings. Meaning relatively severe droughts. We can learn a lot from natures cycles and the patterns which share our space in this realm.
"Lance Winslow" - If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; www.WorldThinkTank.net/wttbbs