NE Drought Relief

Been pretty dry this spring for southern New England. We are about 2" short of normal. Hopefully, won’t be as bad as last year.

Anyway, we got some decent rain last light, about 1-1.5". My backyard appreciates it. So, does my “thirst” for some surf.

Supposed to be getting a string of small disturbances throughout this week. Yeehaa!!!


All the rivers are up - seems to always happen on a Monday. I need to retire, but still have a few years to go.

“Two inches short of normal.” In the West that is a great year.
Death Valley averages a little more than that in a year. Where I live in Nevada we average around 9 inches a year. In the mountains nearby more like 20-30 inches.

Yes, a 2" deficit ain’t too bad. Last year, we went into a foot plus deficit. Just hope we don’t go the way of last year.

Of course, a foot deficit still better than what is happening out west. At some point, hard choices will have to be made by the residents and businesses out there…


Tell us more about the hard choices.

I stopped by Mansfield Hollow over near UConn this AM, and it’s about 8 feet higher, and into the parking lot. Another foot or two, and they would have to close the road. That hasn’t happened in about 2 years or so.

Water is a basic to life. Shortfall in the short term can be addressed with behavior changes. Longer term shortage requires behavior changes as well as more expensive system adaptations and choices. Very long term (“permanent”) drought because of climate change would probably require migration because large scale adaptations are insufficient, costly, and unsustainable.

No expert, just an interested consumer of reports/studies. The direct “impact” on me is that I no longer have a wish to live in CA as once did when I was a younger adult.


An example:
The Imperial Valley (CA) has a population of about 200,000 and is an agricultural powerhouse. It gets a trillion gallons of Colorado River water per year - about 10 times more than all of Nevada’s 3+ million residents. Demand from all seven Colorado River states plus Mexico continues to rise. What happens when crunch time comes? To hazard a guess, I’d follow the money and the # of votes. Residential/industrial use will win and agriculture will lose. Water rights will be redistributed, either through new market mechanisms or by Gov’t fiat or a combination of both. Production of water-intensive crops will move to other areas of the country or the world where irrigation isn’t the limiting factor. Costs will be higher and prices will go up for everyone. Of course.

Thanks for your replies. I am a retired environmental consultant and live in Nevada the driest state.

Agriculture has the senior water rights in most western states.
Conservation is the smartest and least expensive way to extend water supplies.
Water laws need to be changed to reward conservation instead of using all of water allotments.

Ag uses 80% of the water in state like California mostly with siphon irrigation like the ancient Egyptians. People in the West still grow lawns which makes no sense. We need to start using water like it is valuable.

I don’t see people people relocating.


Climate change amounts to 1.5 degrees C.
Don’t believe everything you read.

As a forester, I am really tired of climate scientists, landscape ecologists, and other “experts” interpreting tree ring data. Dendrochronology is fine, but people need to know something about forestry. The reason that tree rings are so dense now is mostly related to the increased density of forests. We have protected them from fire for 110 years and quit logging in the early 1990s. We are not experiencing the worst drought in 1,200 years.

Ag uses 80% of the water in state like California mostly with siphon irrigation like the ancient Egyptians. People in the West still grow lawns which makes no sense. We need to start using water like it is valuable.

I agree 1000%. Agriculture IS important for obvious reasons, too. At the same time, it burns me up to see how many growers still irrigate with equipment that literally sprays jets of water very high up, undoubtedly evaporating much of it before it even makes it below the soil surface. AND they do this in the brightest, hottest, driest part of the day!

As for lawns, newer subdivisions don’t allow KY Bluegrass thirsty grass to be planted. That still leaves a lot of grandfathered thirsty-grass lawns to keep being watered.

However, the real cause of overconsumption of anything is from not just waste or thoughtless use—it is from TOO MANY CONSUMERS in the first place. Whatever happened to build moratoriums? It might be time (or past due) to consider those in places growing too fast.

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Agriculture uses 80% of the water in California. Build moratoriums would not help and they are hard to sell in states with high rates of growth.

The future will convert some Ag water rights to M&I, Municipal and Industrial use. Desal plants will become more common. Lawns will go out of style. Ag will use drip irrigation with buried lines and piezometers that measure soil moisture. All residential use will be on water meters. Low flow appliances will become widespread. There is plenty of work to do.

Now the reservoirs are full again. It will slow down the progress.

Definitely a relief. Fingers crossed for more.


Once again, follow the money. Take a look at the vested interests of the members of the local Planning and Zoning Board, City Council, Town Board, County Commission or whoever would have to approve a moratorium. If population growth is good for their businesses (Main Street retailer, real estate broker, developer, school district administrator, banker, etc.), then any thought of a moratorium will give them all a wicked case of heartburn. Also, adding to the tax base is politically more palatable than raising rates on the existing tax base.
Fortunately, as has been mentioned, we have plenty of opportunity for conservation. Why is it that Americans use 15 times the amount of water per capita as do Danes? We can learn and benefit from others.

When I saw a number for average gpd used by each US resident, my husband and I dug up our utility records. We use less than a third of that per capita amount most of the year. During the droughty hot season we still use less than 2/3 of the average, even with drip irrigation of some plants and hand-watering by hose some trees. You know it is really bad when the hardiest, most drought-tolerant trees (junipers and pinyons) are struggling.

The thing is, we don’t skimp on our water use, not to the point of feeling “deprived.” There is certainly room for more conservation without pain, and yet we use far less than the “average” resident.

Americans like to shower daily, or even twice a day. Wonder how many gallons an average US shower takes? Cutting down from, say, an 8-minute shower to a 6-minute shower, trims a few gallons from that activity alone while still retaining the daily frequency. Halve the pee-only flushing (pee twice before flushing), and that’s another few gallons. Small daily saves multiplied by every day lived and every person = ??? a lot of water conserved.

But…we are too reliant on technology sparing us from having to make small changes in our routines. Sometimes it feels like nobody even considers the one thing that would lessen the problem, yet it costs absolutely NOTHING, requires no additional equipment, and takes no skill. :pleading_face:

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“However, the real cause of overconsumption of anything is from not just waste or thoughtless use—it is from TOO MANY CONSUMERS in the first place.”

Wouldn’t it be great if we humans started at least talking about reducing our numbers… without killing each other? I was out yesterday successfully looking for an endangered / protected bird. Why is it endangered? Habitat loss. Displaced by humans.

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My Dad was a sailor in WW 2 and taught me the Navy method of showering. Get in , get wet, turn the shower off ,soap up, turn it back on and rinse.
I still do that.


An excellent example. Why did showering like that matter? Because fresh water is in limited supply aboard ship. Each sailor saved a little so all could have some. What a concept! Alas, the idea of making small individual sacrifices for the benefit of all has fallen out of fashion in recent years.
Instead, a mishmash of attention-seekers, narcissists and me-firsters, aided by the megaphone of social media (and a good bit of the mainstream media too), insist that the Constitution guarantees their right to do whatever they want in the name of “freedom”. Those that see things differently are evil, and any effort to regulate for a greater good is Government over-reach.
Fortunately, winds shift and fashions change. Faster, please.

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Some fulltime RVers do that, too. Reason: the effort of adding water to the tank more often takes more work than the effort of doing the on-off-on shower.

I need to adopt that habit myself! I do it only sometimes. My father taught us to brush teeth that way. We took baths as kids. Maybe if we had taken showers instead we would have been told to adopt the same habit. But it’s not too late to do it now.

Using water is a privilege not a right.