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18 January 2014



George, the piece by Jeff Kane I was responding to set the range of topics as he set to smear the Committee Chair who issued a supoena against the EPA:


It still makes my head hurt reading Jeff Kane (a local MD who talks to cancer patients rather than practicing medicine) spinning an innocuous meeting about the search or biosignatures from other planets into an ad hominem attack on the committee's chair as being anti education and somehow responsible for low math scores because he's not buying the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming party line, and so his constituents would do us all a favor by voting him out of office in November.

I've met Kane a number of times, both when my first wife was a cancer patient in one of his groups, and when he shared an office in the KVMR building with a friend of mine. He's an OK fellow and his groups do help patients and their families deal with what is often a mortal blow from their cancers, but his view of science in this case is way out in left field.

Bill Tozer

The Feds released their 3 month forecast concerning CA's drought this week. Yes, projecting the weather out 3 months will not be as accurate as a 5 day forecast. With that said, they predict no rainy season for the next 3 months. After laying out the high pressures and yaddy yaddy yaddy, they mentioned that the reason for the high pressure driving the Alaskan Air Stream north is that the Pacific Ocean is 1 degree cooler than normal. Cooler ocean temps are bad and causing man made Global Warming.

Bill Tozer

Concerning the Clintons, wouldn't it be something if Jeb Bush ran against Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2016. Lets see. We had George H W Bush, then Bill Clinton, then George W Bush, then our first post racial dude, then H Clinton or J Bush? Well, Hope and Change didn't work, so lets go back to what we know.

Personally, I will never forgive Hillary Rodham for January 2013, during her testimony on Capitol Hill concerning Benghazi, Hillary Rodham famously stated to Senator Ron Johnson, when testifying about the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Glen Doherty, Tyrone Woods, and Sean Smith, “...what difference does it make?”

"What difference does that make?" You decide.

But it is not Hillary we should be watching. Its Chelsea. Noticed that The Bill and Hillary Foundation changed its name to The Bill and Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. Then another name change. Notice the wording. It is now called The Chelsea and Bill and Hillary Foundation. Yep, they gave Chelsea top billing and are grooming her to become much more than a First Lady someday. I wonder if she will be well funded? You think?


One of my favorite Hillary moments is her utter distain for the bill of rights, namely the second one. I remember her making proclamations about the horrible gun dealers along our southern border with Mexico being the source of the massive amount of guns flowing into Mexico and being the cause of the gun violence there. At least she, in her progressive democrat mind, was telling the truth, albeit a half truth, which to me is a full blown lie. She knew full well that the gun dealers were being forced by so called US gubnent employees to sell the guns to straw buyers for shipment to Mexican drug cartels.
I guess at this point 'what difference does it make' ends justify the means Hillary would make a fine president. Besides the fat man Governer of New Jersey is such a scumbag for causing a traffic jamb on some bridge back East that I couldn't in good conscience vote for him. I would much rather have the former Governer of New Jersey at least he is a democrat and TEO (thief executive officer) of MF global , the eight largest bankruptcy in US history.


Regarding freedom of speech, actress Maria Conchita Alonzo has just been fired from a 'frisco Spanish language production of the Vagina Monologues... for appearing in a campaign ad for a tea patyish candidate.

Imagine the howling had she been fired for supporting a so called progressive cause.

Bill Tozer

Mr. Gregory: BTW, excellent scribing to The Union. I debated telling you how much I enjoyed reading your thoughts cause I don't want to give you a swollen head. Ah, what the hay. Good job. You are a true alliant on the topics you focused on.


George, I don't know how to contact you directly so I'll post this here as a possible new topic:

Do you have any thoughts on the potential impact of this drought? You're an accomplished analytical thinker so please add/modify my thoughts:

According to the news, we are in the worst drought since record keeping began. Folsom reservoir stands at 17% capacity. Snow water content for the north state stands at 8% of normal for this date and statewide its 22%. I heard one report that Central Valley farmers may receive as little as 5% of their normal allotment. Some farmers are already planning to switch from low value row crops to high value crops, such as fruit and nut trees. It take 6 years to establish some nut trees so they can't be neglected without a serious financial loss. Switching out of row crops means higher prices and lower availability for some vegetables. The great Central Valley was once just arid grassland.... it only blooms as long as vast amounts of water can be stored and moved to it.

California has been droughty for a couple of years now. Here's some hypothetical thoughts on the worst case scenario, which would be if we receive little rain and snow for the remainder of this season, and the winter of 2014/15 is just as bad:

Locally, severe water restrictions by late summer 2014 in Sacramento and environs. Folsom Dam reduced to single digits in % of capacity. Water restrictions could hit 50% by late summer, with no outdoor watering. Businesses that are heavy water users will be greatly affected, especially if they can't recycle and reuse. The extent of the drought and its effects will be a hot topic on national news. As the inconvenience of water restriction begins to seriously affect daily life, the value of the "California lifestyle" will begin to diminish. Home values will start to fall, especially if it gets to the extent where some towns and areas of California run out of water completely. If the 2014/15 rainy season is just as bad, it will be a statewide water crisis. Home values will drop 50%, but it wouldn't matter how far they drop because who would want to move to a catastrophic drought. Home owners won't be able to sell, and a high % of those with mortgages will find themselves "upside down". Wealthy retirees and high income workers, especially those with mobile jobs, will just leave the old house behind and move to more "water secure" areas of Oregon/Washington or even farther north or east. Those areas will see a corresponding rise in home values, thus making it even harder for people to leave California. Even if normal amounts of rain/snow returned in the winter of 2015/16, the fact that 2013-14 could be repeated will make people shy of committing to California. There will be much talk of an emergency drive to set up numerous desalination plants along the California coast but that will take time and won't provide enough output to serve all the state. People already living in coastal California towns will have the best chance to weather the drought until enough desal can be constructed to serve their own immediate needs. People on wells will see their levels start to drop and ag wells in the Central Valley will have to be strictly controlled because ground subsidence from over pumping is already starting to affect the aqueducts. New reservoir construction takes too long to address the immediate need. All this social turbulence will negatively affect business across the board, thus making everything worse. (I would expect moving van lines to have a booming business outbound.)

Of course, I HOPE THIS DOESN'T HAPPEN!! I HOPE IT RAINS AND SNOWS LIKE #@%$ IN FEB, MAR, APR. But what if it doesn't????…and what if it doesn't next year???? …. because if it doesn't, its game over!!! Should I try to be preemptive and sell my house now? I might feel bad for the buyer later on but do I risk being on the wrong side of this equation? I'm retired and I can do whatever I want. I like California but I'm nervous. Yes, we've had droughts before, but we're in record territory now. The population and water demand is much higher. Farm workers, fearful for their jobs, are already protesting for more water for big Ag. Water is the new gold. Your thoughts?

George Rebane

Fuzz 214pm - Yes, I was planning a post on the drought to elicit a wider discussion of its economic and social impact. The question here is how really extraordinary is this drought. If you wordsmith your comment a bit and email to me at gjrebane@gmail.com, I'll post it as your byline. Of course, in that case you'll have to use your real name.


George, thanks for the offer but I'm not qualified to have my own byline. (Besides, if you knew my real name my agents would have to spirit you off to Ecuador .... or worse yet, San Francisco :) I'm just glad you're going to address the issue and to hear thoughts from other readers. I sent a copy of my thoughts to a local long-time realtor to see her reaction and comments. There's too much at stake to be brushed off with a trite phrase, "Oh, it'll rain and snow again, it always does." We all hope and pray that it does soon.

George Rebane

Fuzz 433pm - In the meantime, here's a post on Russ Steele's blog on the drought.

Russ Steele

There were strong California droughts, longer then 3 years, ending in 983, 1301, 1581, 1778, 1796, 1829 and 1934? In 1580 there was only enough moisture for less than 1 million acre feet (MAF) flow in the Sacramento river. The average is about 18 MAF. More details at http://sierrafoothillcommentary.com/2014/01/20/are-california-droughts-caused-by-anthropogenic-global-warming/

Bill Tozer

Mr. Steele. Interesting that you mentioned 1829. That was about the time when CA had its first gold rush, albeit unknown to most, in the LA region. Wonder if low flows in the LA River back then caused gold to be exposed or accessible, thus the first "gold rush"?

Mr, Fuzz. This is what will happen in a very severe drought under emergency survival crunch time: Water will be prioritized. Top priority will be for safety and human survival. No more water diverted for fish or almonds. Emergency measures will trump even the salmon. Boy, Friends of Deer Creek, Friends of the Yuba and Friends of Lettuce will be having a fit.

Water police will be driving around making sure nobody has a green front yard (which is ridiculous in a drought), which will also stand out life a sore thumb. Be like posting a sign on your driveway reading "Cite Me!" Even vegetable gardens will be illegal. Water will be reduced to even schools. Well water will be monitored as well (pun not intended) and regulated and taxed. Powered Tang and vodka will be known as the Water Wise Screwdriver.

Even if we build the tunnels for water diversion, there will be no water flowing in tunnels or channels.

Yellow is mellow, brown flush it down. Share showers.

Bill Tozer

Scenario, part 2: Thousands of farm workers will be unemployed. Car washes and laundromats will be closed. Rates will go up, up, and away. Real estate values may plummet and areas of bountiful water will have their modern day gold rush. Nudist colonies will spring up as people go naked rather than wear dirty clothes and to conserve water. Time to buy stock in companies that make paper plates.

Bill Tozer

Did I mention all new construction and residential projects would be put on hold. Thousands of more lost jobs. OK, pestering over. Is it a burn day? Anybody know? Pestering over, my carriage awaits. :)

RL Crabb

Forget paper plates. Here's where the smart money is going...


Interesting data Russ. I don't know the population of California in 1934 (vastly lower than now), but during your previous dates the indigenous population would have been so low and migratory that extreme drought was probably manageable. Glacial melt alone would keep the higher mountain lakes full enough for native populations over a number of years. Plus, I assume the natives wouldn't have been living where the natural rain patterns typically produced long dry brown summer terrain. I'll be interested to see further results of your study. Another loss would be hydroelectric generation. Do you know what % of our power is produced that way?

Bill, looking forward to showering with you and trying out our new composting toilet :) At least we won't have to mow the lawn or wash the car. When the Yuba is dry as a bone, you'll find me with pick and shovel, digging in the deepest holes.

Joe Koyote

And then there is Nestle, who recently opened a water bottling plant in Sacramento. According to people from a group called Save the Water, who opposed Nestle's plans, not only does Nestle get a huge discount on the water they buy from the city (because they are one of their largest customers) but also are not restricted as to the amount they can bottle. In the meantime, Sacramento city water users have been under mild rationing orders for several years already. So while citizens are under restricted water use from their taps, they can always buy as much bottled water as they want. Rich people won't have to go naked or wear dirty clothes because they will be able to afford to bathe in Fuji water.


According to people from a group called Save the Water, who opposed Nestle's plans, not only does Nestle get a huge discount on the water they buy from the city (because they are one of their largest customers) but also are not restricted as to the amount they can bottle.

So let me get this straight.....government cut another bad deal? I'm shocked!

Tell me again how more of it is better!


NOAA comparison photo. Snowpack is everything in water management. The Sacramento River is currently flowing at the lowest rate allowed by law…3250 cfs….very low and clear. Hatchery salmon releases from Coleman now face high mortality.



The saga continues:



Bill Tozer

Back to free speech on campus, well sort of. Isn't San Fransisco a open minded let it all hang out kind of city? You can walk around naked (but not on a public bus anymore) and you can be homeless and not be harassed. You can do you own thing. Heck, it's The Sanctuary City by the Bay. But, there is always a but. You can do and say almost anything, except... EEEEEEE Gawd...., don't ever back a Tea Party candidate. Never, ever do dat.


Yes, not an actual campus, just the campus of life.

Russ Steele

I have posted some more PDO and Drought information, including some graphics for visual leaners here: http://sierrafoothillcommentary.com/2014/01/21/climate-cycles-and-california-droughts/


Russ, thanks for your research. I guess the big question is: could a severe 3 year drought really take California down? Could the effect be so onerous that civil society begins to disintegrate. I was in a nice business restroom the other day (Whole Foods?) with the infrared beam faucets and the micro spray heads. The spray is just enough to do the job and the beam provides efficient on/off. It probably uses half the water I normally use to wash my hands. The same kind of micro spray head (manually operated) could be used in your shower. Every morning my dad goes out to his garage and runs the hot water side into a bucket until it gets warm. That gets hot water to the kitchen. (He uses the bucket water to flush the toilet.) I told him about the small, thermostatically controlled recirculation pump you can install under a sink to recirculate the water until hot water arrives. Then the thermostat shuts it off. It uses a button to start which can be mounted on the outside. (I saw this demonstrated on This Old House on PBS.) There are ultra low flow toilets and composting toilets. One good long episode of severe drought will have all these things become code requirements.

Here's an article with more historical drought data: http://yubanet.com/regional/AquAlliance-Conservative-groundwater-management-is-the-key-to-California-s-economic-future.php#.Ut_uc3876SM

Russ Steele


I am working on a plot of the Sac River Flow that covers the dates in the referenced article. As for water conservation, we have an on demand water heater, but it is in the other end of house from our master bath. Rather than run the water to warm it for shaving, I heat the water in a small electric kettle. Saves a lot of water. I have to replace a toilet valve and will be putting in one that is selectable # One or # Two. They are only about $20.00 on Amazon and should recover the cost quite rapidly with the price of NID water going up by 33% over the next 5 years.


Good deal Russ….. every drop we save may be crucial.

Here's more drought news:

Jan. 22, 2014 - The move to push forward legislation by Congressman Devin Nunes, Congressman Kevin McCarthy, and Congressman David Valadao, with the support of House Speaker John Boehner, to allow the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta pumps to operate "as long as water is available" in a drought is nothing more than a blatant, short-sighted water grab, fueled by years of political contributions from huge growers in the Westlands Water District and the Kern County Water Agency to these Central Valley Congressional Representatives.

Furthermore, we find it ironic that these Congressional representatives, who claim to be in favor of reduced Federal government intervention into state affairs, are looking for a way to bypass State and Federal water quality and quantity regulations, which will be violated if pumping restrictions are removed in the Delta. They are playing the anti-regulation card to dictate economic winners and losers among California's farm and fishing communities.

This is exactly what I was afraid of, and expected, when you mix politics with drought management. You can imagine what would happen if the BDCP twin tunnels (each 40 ft in diameter) are built. The total value of the fishing industry supported by salmon and other species originating in the Sacramento Delta approaches 2.4 billion. (Commercial fishing, recreational fishing, restaurants, equipment, etc) You don't get to just destroy that whole ecosystem because you turned a desert into almond trees and you now demand what little water is left. Intelligent compromise has to control the situation. It's liable to be a long hot summer, in more ways than one.

George Rebane

Fuzz 1218pm - good dialogue going here on the drought. But don't you find the second paragraph of your uncited report to be a bit illogical? There is nothing "ironic" for small government types wanting to "to bypass State and Federal water quality and quantity regulations" and serve their local self interests.

And talking about 'hidden water' -


George 12:47 - Yes, nothing ironic there, but cool heads must prevail to solve this equitably and scientifically…. if that's even remotely possible. Your link on aquifers is very interesting. The differences in aquifers and the politics of "sharing" could well become regional hot topics in the near future. (It already has in some areas.) Can you imagine a time where the first and most important subject in California real estate will be water security ….. "How well can this area withstand an extended drought?", whereupon the realtor presents documentation of water availability and a local government drought mitigation plan for a given duration. The buyer will have to factor in the area growth rate and decide if the plan is solid enough to commit. This condition will make coastal living with desal a much more attractive proposition… you're not going to run out of ocean. It will also make coastal property even more "too expensive" for us flatlanders and hillbillies.

George Rebane

Fuzz 314pm - Good points, and I bet that's exactly what home buyers will go through if the state now experiences a draconian drought. But what even cool heads will not be able to reach is an 'equitable' solution, because those (as Ken Arrow proved) are not available in this universe - someone will have to pay for another to benefit, and there will be no agreement about equability or 'social justice' or ... . Ultimately the ones with the biggest/most guns will determine who gets the water; it was ever thus.


George 4:03 - Understand your point regarding "equitable" and I would hope it would never come to armed conflict in the US (more likely in other countries). Supply and Demand could drive water rates and retail prices to the moon. Imagine seeing an Arrowhead water truck getting hijacked at gun point, especially in poor urban areas. (At that point I would be heading to my daughter's apartment in Seattle.)

I know all this talk sounds draconian, but (just curious) what would you do if it actually got that bad? Russ's research seems to indicate historical periods where it DID get that bad, although the population wasn't big enough to suffer (my assumption). This summer, I'm taking a trip up through Oregon/Washington/Canada and I'm purposefully going to investigate the water security vs. livability of areas all long my route. I happen to enjoy salmon fishing so there are many coastal towns I want to investigate, and not the least because desal would be viable. Oregon and Washington are generally wetter environments but I still want to investigate the historical precipitation amounts and trends. Hopefully, this subject will just have been an intellectual exercise, yet its serious enough to warrant investigation and to formulate a contingency plan.

Bill Tozer

Good news! They found water between Jupiter and Mars. Bad news is we can't get our hands on in time.



Here's the video link to the This Old House episode showing an under sink recirculator being installed. Very easy to do. I don't know the brand or cost of the unit displayed:


Here's the latest drought info from the NID, including:

…...The measures authorized are in addition to the district's Jan. 14 call for a voluntary 20 percent water use reduction by all NID water users. The board is scheduled to consider an official water shortage declaration on Feb. 26 if there is not a significant turnaround in the weather.

This week's action includes:

• freezing all new or increased sales of winter irrigation water.
• convening a citizen Drought Hardship Committee.
• limiting fire department practice drills and flow testing of fire hydrants.
• requiring 20 percent reductions in treated water use on large landscapes.
• maintaining carryover reservoir storage for 2015 at a minimum 78,000 acre-feet.

more detail here: http://yubanet.com/regional/NID-Moves-Forward-With-Drought-Contingency-Plan.php#.UuFCj_2tvzJ


More interesting drought info. Listen to the segment on California nuts, and the one on drought research. Farmers are already in a scramble to drill more wells (more subsidence?) and to reduce row crops to concentrate on fruit and nuts.



Another excellent discussion of California's drought here. Tom Ashbrook is a great moderator on On Point (NPR). Link to play at top of article.


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