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Water News: Masters of Disasters Screw with Mother Nature, Leave Less Room for Reservoir Errors | High Sierra Backpacker

Water News: Masters of Disasters Screw with Mother Nature, Leave Less Room for Reservoir Errors


Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 27 November 2017

 

 

Water News
Masters of Disasters

Don't Screw with Mother Nature

Rising reservoirs: Less room for error this winter on San Joaquin River,
Record Net, November 24, 2017.


I've was tracking the chances of a catastrophic thaw-driven flood last Spring, which I figured could be triggered by warm tropical rains scouring last May and June's vast snowpack.

That would have brought disaster. Yet the flooding threat from last Winter's record snow pack has not yet abated. This flood risk still sits in California's full reservoirs along the West Flank of the Sierra, and it rises and falls with the rising and falling chances of torrential downpours out of the tropics soaking the West Sierra Flank.

The competing concerns of not catching enough water, or being broken by catching too much, which are typical for Spring but unusual for Fall, which we are experiencing this year, are going to be typical of the future of water manager's dilemmas. The issue is that the Winter snow season is shrinking and warming, giving way to warmer and more powerful tropical rains that they must capture when they can, and especially as the frequency of droughts, drying, fires, and flooding are all increasing.

These water managers are going to be adjusting to our changing times by running reservoir levels as high as they can coming into Winter as well as coming out of the Spring Thaw, to assure adequete supplies during drying times. This will work until an unanticipated torrential downpour brings huge flows into their already over-filled reservoirs, necessitating catastrophic releases to presvent catastrophic failures, if possible.

The changing character of our warming weather, changing from Arctic Snows to Tropical Rains, is increasing the threat of flooding during Fall and Spring!

Our continuing irresponsible growth continues to push us up against the "safe & sane" limits of our resources as well as our safety.

It's ironic that this is making the water managers pray for less, rather than more rain this Fall. That must be a change for them, after experiencing the last forty year's trend line of shortening and warming Winters.

I pray for less people. Everything else will naturally fall back into place, after we first control ourselves. Currently our political leadership is dealing poorly with the pollution and climate change consequences of our irresponsible growth, while driving its causes, being the irresponsible growth itself, full speed ahead.


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