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"It was a splendid population - for all the slow, sleepy, sluggish-brained sloths stayed at home - you never find that sort of people among pioneers - you cannot build pioneers out of that sort of material. It was that population that gave to California a name for getting up astounding enterprises and rushing them through with a magnificent dash and daring and a recklessness of cost or consequences, which she bears unto this day - and when she projects a new surprise the grave world smiles as usual and says, "Well, that is California all over."

- - - - Mark Twain (Roughing It)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

California is pumping water that fell to Earth 20,000 years ago

Pumping Water in a Desert

  • As a Conservative John Muir conservationist I am staggered by the stupidity of Californians on both the Left and the Right.  Everyone appears to think it is just fine to rapidly pump out groundwater that is thousands of years older than the oldest pyramids while massive growing the size of our cities and farms.
  • We spend billions on insane bullet trains to nowhere, but next to zero on desalination plants.

(Reveal)  -  By now, the impacts of California’s unchecked groundwater pumping are well-known: the dropping water levels, dried-up wells and slowly sinking farmland in parts of the Central Valley.
But another consequence gets less attention, one measured not by acre-feet or gallons-per-minute but the long march of time.
As California farms and cities drill deeper for groundwater in an era of drought and climate change, they no longer are tapping reserves that percolated into the soil over recent centuries. They are pumping water that fell to Earth during a much wetter climatic regime – the ice age.
Such water is not just old. It’s prehistoric. It is older than the earliest pyramids on the Nile, older than the world’s oldest tree, the bristlecone pine. It was swirling down rivers and streams 15,000 to 20,000 years ago when humans were crossing the Bering Strait from Asia.
What the Hell
Let's just farm and build cities in the desert.  After all, water
is "magic" and just appears at will out of pipes. California
does not have a rain problem, it has an over population problem.
But we keep importing more and more people. 

Tapping such water is more than a scientific curiosity.  It is one more sign that some parts of California are living beyond nature’s means, with implications that could ripple into the next century and beyond as climate change turns the region warmer and robs moisture from the sky.
“What I see going on is a future disaster. You are removing water that’s been there a long, long time. And it will probably take a long time to replace it. We are mining water that cannot be readily replaced,” said Vance Kennedy, a 91-year-old retired research hydrologist in the Central Valley.
Despite such concern, the antiquity of the state’s groundwater isn’t a well-known phenomenon. It has been discovered in recent years by scientists working on water quality studies and revealed quietly in technical reports.
Groundwater is crucial to California. In an average year, nearly 40 percent of the state’s water comes from underground sources. In the current extended drought, it’s more than half. Eighty percent of California residents rely to some degree on groundwater. Some towns, cities and farming operations depend entirely on it.
Groundwater is like a bank account. You want to balance the debits and credits, not draw down the principal. But California has been depleting its groundwater principal for generations, pumping more than nature can replenish. So, too, has the United States as a whole. The biggest overall user is agriculture.
Read More . . . .

Water, as it turns out, is quite ancient. If you bottled it, you could label it the provenance of the Pleistocene – a geological epoch that lasted from about 2.5 million to 12,000 years ago.

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