Breaking news: Saugatuck Reservoir looks pretty full April18, 2017 (not pictured - only observed).
NEWS 2017: As of May 7 no more emergency, pipe to be removed; October 12, 2016...EMERGENCY; as of Oct. 19, DIVERSION; CT August 2016 not as bad as Massachusetts; U.S.A. as of October (N.O.A.A.)? DROUGHT:
Water as a commodity, MDC, below. And in the Long Session of
2017, where only three bills having passed in both houses of the
Legislature, this was one for the MDC!
D R O U G H T
M E A S U R E S: And related water matters. News from White House: http://www.nbcbayarea.com/investigations/White-House-Water-Summit-Highlights-IsraeliCalifornia-Innovation-373142751.html
As recommended in
Plan - http://www.ct.gov/opm/lib/opm/igp/org/adopteddroughtplan.pdf
"A drought is not a
distinct event that has a clearly defined beginning and end; nor does
it affect all water users equally."
CT WATER PLANNING COUNCIL MEMBERS PRESENT JULY 5, 2017 TO REVIEW DRAFT REPORT - LEGISLATION HERE
Represented above are DPUC, OPM, DPH and DEEP members present (the whole group named in legislation)
WE NOTE THE TIMELINE FOR REVIEW...
Substitute House Bill No. 5424
Public Act No. 14-163 (just
a part of the act below for your convenience - we hope to find out
August first (next meeting of the Water Planning Council) or shortly
thereafter what the final draft will look like and location and time for
outreach and public hearings)
(c) The Water Planning
Council shall provide a time period
of not less than one
hundred twenty days for public
review and comment prior to
finalizing such plan. The Commissioners of Public Health and
and Environmental Protection, the
chairperson of the Public
Utilities Regulatory Authority and the Secretary of the Office of Policy
and Management shall
post such draft plan
information concerning such comment period in
location on their respective web sites. The Council
Quality shall post such draft plan and
such comment period in the
Environmental Monitor. The Water
Planning Council shall advertise and hold not
less than one public
hearing during such public
review and comment period. After
such public comment period, the council shall fully consider
all written and oral comments concerning the proposed state
water plan. The council shall make available the electronic text
of the finalized state water plan on an Internet web site where the
finalized state water plan shall be posted and a report
(1) All public
comments received pursuant
to this subsection, and
changes made to the finalized state
water plan in response to such comments and the reasons for such
CT WATER PLANNING COUNCIL MEETING, JULY 5, 2017.
N O T I C E : 120 day public notice period for CT Water
Plan draft beginning any minute...great for summer reading at the beach!
CT Water Planning Council play-by-play of Wednesday July 5, 2017 meeting below. We are beginning study with an examination of the underlying legislation.
FYI - Interesting observation by DEEP - they have a template for public
information that indicated (hypothetically)if you contact 10,000 people
you should expect 100 to visit a website and receive ten (10) responses
in writing. We will go over the law and the report when it gets
online next week and try to figure out what it means for our town.
CT WATER PLAN
The "final report" somehow blended in to a discussion of New Britain
proposal for a new storage reservoir (requiring clearing of forest, open
space) for retraction of minerals prior to construction of reservoir.
Members of W.P.C.: DPUC, DPH, DEEP, OPM, and advisory
committee - environmental
consultant, state DEEP staff, regional planner, A.C.I.R.; talented
environmental engineer. Below public comment on plan - which is
supposed to be
on DEEP, DPH and OPM websites pronto - COMMENTS DESIRED FROM
RESERVOIR & QUARRY ISSUE. NEW BRITAIN (WE THINK)
Blowing up a large block of land. CEQ and data questions from WPC
expose fixed aspect. Blistering critique. Evaluation of
study? "Homeland security" on birds info? Water
Watch for 1)a Plan summary report
and 2)recommendation for interconnection formalized between
companies and regions - in statute section 22a-352 of the C.G.S.- Section 1 (b) (5).
And then is was over. NEXT MEETING AUGUST 1, 2017
As some legislators say, "I get that" but in Weston we really do "get" the importance of maintaining the natural water cycle.
below the surface of the Saugatuck Reservoir (l. and in drought, r.) is
the threat of possible future siphoning off stored waters for sale and
related depletion of CT groundwater supplies.
Orange and red "dry" land in CT by 22nd century, perhaps.
Sea level rise model, artist's interpretation, above, in land use colors.
GOVERNOR ISSUES DROUGHT WATCH
Conservation director noted in article below and the latest one on 2016 drought..
Aquarion asks people to conserve water
Updated September 25, 2015 5:17 PM
GREENWICH - Aquarion Water Company and Greenwich town officials are
asking residents to reduce water consumption due to a dry spell that has
hit the region.
Town officials say the water level is unusually low.
"It's down probably 10 to 15 feet from where we often see it," says Denise Savageau, conservation director.
The current water level is the lowest experts have seen in the last four
years. Decreasing water levels is a pattern they have noticed over the
past decade. They say it is a result of the lack of rain...Channel 12
story in full: http://connecticut.news12.com/news/aquarion-asking-people-to-conserve-water-1.10890222.
NWS: Drought conditions to worsen
By Jim Shay
Updated 6:23 am, Friday, September 18, 2015
With rainfall more than five inches below normal - and no significant
rain over the next several days - the National Weather Service says
drought conditions are expected to worsen.
The driest conditions are found in the southern third of Connecticut,
including all of Fairfield County and most of New Haven County. The area
is classified as having a “moderate drought,” according to Drought
Monitor that released its update on the dry state of affairs on
The rest of Connecticut, including Litchfield, Hartford, Tolland and
Windham and (northern) New London counties fared slightly and are
classified as having “abnormally dry” conditions...story in full:
"SOME LIKE IT HOT" IS A GREAT MOVIE...BUT HEAT NOT FUNNY NOW.
What is the relation between hot weather (defined
here as over 90 degrees F) and groundwater supply? Ans. - we're
working on a scientific explanation, but from what we already know, it
can be hot as hell in cities as well as deserts, and the answer is
"infrastructure" to pipe water to cities from elsewhere. But what
is the story "elsewhere" re: water or groundwater supply?
Some articles on relation of heat to drought (California examples):
And in Europe:
How about Alaska?
Why are some Alaska salmon and halibut getting smaller?
Sean Doogan, Alaska Dispatch News
September 17, 2015
With the end of Alaska's biggest fish derby earlier this week, salmon
and halibut anglers are hanging up their poles -- waiting for the return
of spring -- and with it, another flood of fish into local streams,
creeks and rivers. And while many local freezers may brim with fish,
chances are, the fillets are a little smaller than in years past.
How small? Well, the 224-pound flatfish that won the Homer Jackpot
Halibut Derby this week was the lightest winner in the derby's 30-year
history -- and a whopping 134 pounds shy of Chugiak angler Jerry
Saunders' derby record, caught in 2007...story in full: http://www.adn.com/article/20150917/why-are-some-alaska-salmon-and-halibut-getting-smaller
The State of Connecticut is on top of the water status
Direct links here: http://www.ct.gov/waterstatus/cwp/view.asp?a=3233&q=397052&waterstatusNav=|
WITT ASSOCIATES' REPORT HERE - WE WENT TO WESTPORT INN FOR THIS STORM!
Always at the center of a story, "About Town" was in Milford
during this "Nemo" event - cameraphone pics.
Dumping plowed snow into
bodies of water raises a few environmental issues
Jan Ellen Spiegel, CT MIRROR
February 11, 2013
With huge quantities of snow lining Connecticut roads, the Department
of Energy and Environmental Protection is giving cities and towns an
option for getting rid of it -- dump it in the water.
"We're going to have to put the snow someplace," said Guilford Director
of Public Works Jim Portley, who figured they wouldn't start dumping
until next week, "and it's a great opportunity to get rid of the snow."
Environmentalists aren't up in arms. "This is an emergency," said Roger
Reynolds of the Connecticut Fund for the Environment. "We understand
that the snow has to go somewhere."
But Reynolds said there are concerns. "It's similar to dumping
municipal solid waste in the waterway," he said. "When plows pick snow
up, there's inevitably some debris."
DEEP is aware of this and has established a fairly strict protocol for
dumping snow: It should be considered a last resort. All upland dumping
locations must be fully exhausted. The snow cannot contain anything
other than the road treatments used for melting snow. DEEP must be
notified first. And the snow must be kept away from drinking water and
sensitive areas such as wetlands.
"We have to strike a balance of protecting the environment with public
safety and emergency needs," said Oswald Inglese, director of DEEP's
water permitting and enforcement division...
But there is also concern about its replacement.
"Chloride -- that's the environmental concern," Inglese said. Long-term
use can have toxic impacts, he said. "We see impairments in the health
of aquatic ecosystems."
But the biggest problem is if chlorides are dumped into inland fresh
water. Inglese said for large fast-flowing rivers or Long Island Sound
itself: "We're not as concerned."
While many municipalities are thought to have
switched to mixtures similar to DOT's, a few of those contacted by the
CT Mirror have not.
Guilford, which said it intended to dump its snow in the water, though
it had not yet notified DEEP, uses a 4:1 sand-salt mixture.
* New Haven told DEEP it might
dump snow in the water but later said, "We have no intention of dumping
in the Sound," said Public Works Director Doug Arndt. The city has been
using sand and salt to treat roads during this storm.
Milford, one of the hardest hit towns with nearly 40 inches of snow,
also uses a sand-salt mixture that is mostly sand. "We don't believe
it's going to get to that point," said Mayor Blake Benjamin of the
possibility of dumping snow in the water. "I think that's the last
resort. "You've got to be worried about if there's any kind of oil in
* Branford switched to pure salt
this year, which First Selectman Anthony "Unk" DaRos said is working
better than the old mixture on the nearly 3 feet of snow the town
Please search the CT MIRROR archives for the remainder of this story.
At D.E.E.P. Hearing: A familiar face?
Stricter Regulation Of Water Supply Discussed At Hearing
Hartford Courant article Dec. 20, 2016
First meeting - MDC Pension Committee complains about social
media. Niagra Water Bottle. Can't be out for hours.
Debt escalating because of regs.
METROPOLITAN DISTRICT COMMISSION
MDC Headquarters - Economic Development/Pension
Dec. 5, 2016 - morning committee meetings
OOPS - hundreds resigning
within the next five years. MDC to develop new job
descriptions. (This is how you reduce employment base that drives
costs up.) Doing more with less. Selling water to outside
actors to pay off debt.
West Hartford meeting was sewer issue - now they are asking about
water? "Don't Worry About It" - right. SOCIAL MEDIA
SEEN AS PROBLEM. Adjourn after 33 minutes.
Second meeting of sub-committee on community affairs
METROPOLITAN DISTRICT COMMISSION
MDC Headquarters - Community Affairs Committee
Dec. 5, 2016 - after lunch
Need for Information-Communication Director - sounds like a job for
Democrat who has retired from the Legislature. Community
"Engagement" Officer instead? Monthly meetings, etc. What's
the difference? Including transparency. Update on GPS.
C.R.R.A. fight as an example. Bloomfield resident at right above,
announces he is just back from Standing Rock protest (we would imagine
that he uses social media). We note that previous publi8c speaker
from West Hartford "no longer trusts" MDC since they made their "secret"
deal to sell water to Niagra.
Third meeting government sub-committee - PUBLIC HEARING
METROPOLITAN DISTRICT COMMISSION
MDC Headquarters - PUBLIC HEARING
Dec. 5, 2016 5pm - almost a three-hour public hearing...PH ran from 1:01 to 2:24.
INDUSTRIAL RATE: Water and Sewer rules PH. 3 minute rule,
pro-con. Remove cost to industry seems to be the intent.
History of MDC given...we will resume following this meeting later...
Eight towns and partners - https://themdc.org/about-us/our-partners
THE PUBLIC HEARING BEGINS...you get the drift (punctuation marks separate individual comments [not every speaker has a picture])
Anti-Niagra - not a stable solution;
Protect water supply for future generations - protect the watershed (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cui_bono);
Retired but against;
Against - impact if Hartford goes bankrupt; Anti-Niagra;
West Hartford resident - asks how they make decisions?
Farmington River - for or against? State water plan says...what? Water shortages elsewhere...
In favor but favors transparencies;
Another; Favors. Favors suspending Niagra deal. "Legions of attorneys."
Great explanation; and another brilliant comment (regarding
"slipping one through"); transparency issue; Feb.
2015/March/August/ pulled the plug use of public commodity
Don't worry - hah - brings up overall bad policy. Simsbury thanks
Bloomfield for making good on policy changes proposed; do the
right thing; permanently rescind; light - clean sustainable
action; water bottling company Aquifina example - this guy's
really onto something! Conservation and Environmental Justice
argument - we are all on the same ship; resignations from all who
supported it; West Hartford picking up tab...shouldn't Niagra
pay? No more high volume rate. You do not have to pay for
T R A N S P A R E N C Y
Isn't this a hoot? Now a State Representative - used to be CT
Siting Council. Repeal is not enough. Watchdog needed;
another; another; no subsidies for profit-making
companies; Environmental Justice argument against commuters'
argument regional tax sharing (my words); water not a commodity -
no soul - work together to find a better way; no more business as
usual - change; water is not a replaceable commodity...
P A R A D I G M S H I F T
"Nero fiddled while Rome burned" analogy - very funny considering the
need for water to put out fires...Park River watershed green
infrastructure. FOR SHAME - RESIGN - LIFE AND DEATH FOR
FUTURE. The future. So glad everybody showed up - called the
MDC out on having the public's water to private water bottle -
Bloomfield is mad. Even polite people. PH over at 2:24.
FOURTH MEETING: The end of a day of meetings "televised" on CT-N.
FULL METROPOLITAN DISTRICT COMMISSION MEETING AFTER PUBLIC HEARING:
No public comment made at end...they were probably dizzy from all the
procedural motions and striking this and reverting to that...
Chairman Dibella presiding...but for how long? SEEC investigating residency in MDC area.
Next, counsel, then member who had some questions; the way it looked;
and the CFO reports - all the crisis was caused by an attempt to go out
for bonding at the same time that Hartford was warning of problems.
GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE REPORT
Designated fund for sewer expenditures. And how to segregate water
and industrial rate and CLEAN WATER project. They raise money off
guaranteed water rates. Debt is driving the water rate.
What is the capacity? Deep drought. Rates. No
discounted rates. An issue for competition for economic
development. Water bottling company - cannot determine land
use. MDC does not determine zoning and development. Selling bonds
without reserve a "no go."
WHY THERE IS A HOT ISSUE COMING UP IN THE LEGISLATURE (JMO)
Chairman and District Counsel listened and understand that
revenue and clean water project conflict - you need revenue to do the
environmental project. Debt has to be paid ($1.6 billion - 65% subsidized by the state);
climate change and deep drought - rates go thru the roof??? Intra
and inter state competition. Pick and choose who to sell to, then
you become the land use body. AHAH!!! If they get more
power, they will get sued!
"QUID PRO QUO"
Reservoir capacity trigger. Must conserve. Moody
report. D.E.E.P. Public Hearing on diversion permit. Fee
waiver requested for industrial user (Trader Joes). CFO report.
Incentivize correcting leaks. Reduce cost of New Britain water;
wastewater sewer surcharge.
NOW I UNDERSTAND HOW MDC OPERATES: Chairman and staff make the
decisions and set agenda - no way multi-member private agency bothers to
ask their members much except thru sub-committee process.
NOTE: Please be familiar with Roberts Rules or
similar handbooks of procedure. Otherwise you are lost...which is
what most of the members are. Their only way to makes their
opinions known and rein in staff and Chair. is under Public Comment
(Commissioners allowed to speak at end presumably prior to public).
COMMISSIONERS TAKE ADVANTAGE OF "COMMENT"
Question of who has what power to collect $$? On the
issue of keeping local members' appointing bodies informed...begs to
differ re: Bloomfield decision on whether or not to welcome
VICE CHAIR. CLARIFIES. "HIDING BEHIND HOMELAND SECURITY ISSUES"
Water rate - good luck figuring out what they are doing - sewer
too. There is applause. Wants to make sure other
contracts will be honored. Treated water issue - will "untreated" to Collinsville be
the same? What are the real risks?
HOLY PROPERTY TAX CHANGES BATMAN
Coming attractions for Long Session: 53% non-taxable
property in Hartford. Economic development powers for MDC coming? 3.53
adjourned, MDC part of all-day, or so it seemed, meeting.
METROPOLITAN DISTRICT COMMISSION - MDC USES WATER SUPPLY AS A TOOL
November 22, 2016 meeting -
it is painful to watch - they are soooo incompetent as
bureaucrats. Metro District gives the finger to towns w/o public
water service to benefit MDC.
HARTFORD COURANT news story Dec. 1, 2016: http://www.courant.com/community/hartford/hartford-cityline/hc-hartford-moodys-mdc-reserve-fund-1202-20161201-story.html
Summary: Moody's pleased. "...The Metropolitan District's
reserve fund, approved reluctantly by member towns, was tagged as a
positive step by Moody's Investors Service, though the ratings agency
warned the designation could change if the fund is later eliminated."
The reserve plan, adopted as part of the district's budget, forces
member towns to each pay a portion of Hartford's sewer fees should the
city become insolvent.
What a bunch of crap.
Yes, crap - there will be a public hearing at another time for customer
sewer service charge. And how about water??? Manufacturing
Item #8 - ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
This is all about drought and
Public Hearing December 5, 2016. DiBella explains how development
can be controlled by Metro District. Rates are the major
part...economic development tool.
This is related to another interest we have - Metropolitan District Commission water supplies could be a way to make $$.
Selling water. We decided there was too much Roberts Rules
language going down to cover for other perhaps illegal discussion of
items not on the agenda perhaps...so we bailed!
Connecticut Water To Solve Its Water Woes
Of Trustees To Vote On Proposal Wednesday
The Hartford Courant
7:20 PM EDT, August 5, 2013
The University of Connecticut has
chosen Connecticut Water Co.'s proposal to bring 2 million gallons of
water a day to the Storrs campus to solve its water woes, sources said
The selection eliminates a
controversial $51 million plan by the Metropolitan District Commission
to build a 20-mile pipeline from East Hartford that would have drawn
water from the Barkhamsted and Nepaug reservoirs. Opponents assailed
the plan, saying it would draw down the watershed of the Farmington
River, a popular recreation spot...
Please search the Hartford Courant archives for the remainder of this story.
come home to Connecticut
Neena Satija, CT MIRROR
February 12, 2013
The controversy over the University of Connecticut's proposals to
quench its thirst shows that water isn't just the Southwestern states’
The Northeast has often been seen as a water-rich part of the country
and, in fact, the amount of rainfall in Connecticut has actually
increased slightly in the last century. But weather patterns have
become more erratic: In recent years, for instance, we've seen wetter
winters, but drier summers. The historic blizzard that Connecticut is
still digging out from this week is a perfect example.
"It's kind of like the difference between having a steady job where you
get a paycheck every week ... and being a consultant where you may have
feast or famine in your cash flow," said Pat Bresnahan, former
associate director of the University of Connecticut's Water Resources
Institute. "With climate change it might be something very similar..."
Please search the CT MIRROR archives for the remainder of this story.
From the Federal level:
Seven-day average streamflow compared to historical streamflow for the
day of the year (CT):http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/index.php?id=pa07d&sid=w__map|m__pa07d_nwc&r=ct
Map of real-time stream compared to historical streamflow for the day
of the year (CT): http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/index.php?m=real&r=ct&w=map
HOW DOES CT DECIDE WHEN TO SAY WE ARE IN A DROUGHT?
GROUNDWATER LEVEL NETWORK: http://groundwaterwatch.usgs.gov/NetMapT1L2.asp?sc=09&ncd=rtn
Active Water Level Network
Western drought starting to
Published 12:30 a.m., Tuesday, August 21, 2012
For Ben Freund, owner of Freund's Farm, Inc. in East Canaan, is
anticipating the worst for his farm and his ability to produce his
annual products in the coming months.
The cows on Freund's farm are fed by feed and supplements shipped in
from other parts of the country...
Please search the CT POST archives for the remainder of this story.
What drought looks like.
S A U G A T U C K R E S E R V O I R D
E C E M B E R 2 0 1 6 A B O V E
Saugatuck Reservoir in August 2012, immediately below. These 2012 photos below show water surrounding exposed islands.
BELOW - Saugatuck Reservoir from same spot in Redding (pulloff
view of island) in decending order (June, May, April 2012)
State In Minor Drought, But
Local Crop Prices Unlikely To Rise
The Hartford Courant
By KRISTIN STOLLER, email@example.com
5:45 PM EDT, July 21, 2012
Connecticut's dry summer has left many lawns brown but
farmers say it will have no effect on the state's crop prices. Despite
Friday's rain, greater Hartford has received only 28
percent of the normal rainfall through July 20, said Andy Mussoline, a
meteorologist at AccuWeather.com.
Typically, the area gets about 2.47 inches of rain at this
time of year, but has only received .68 inches so far, he said. For
Tony Botticello of Botticello Farms, the dry spell has
meant more work for him and his farmers. At his farm in Manchester,
farmers must continue to irrigate
and pump water from the nearby Connecticut River — resulting in some
farmers working as late as midnight.
"It's a lot more work," Botticello said. "If we didn't do
that, we wouldn't be able to harvest anything..."
Please search the Hartford Courant archives for the remainder of this story.
STILL WATERS RUN
DEEP - BUT HOW DEEP IS
THE QUESTION - CONNECTICUT LINK;
After no snow this winter, are we due for another drought?
Lack of infrastructure such as water and sewer lines is a hallmark in
Weston. Past history here.
ELSEWHERE...IN CT, U.S.A. AND THE GLOBE
Over 80 Percent of Water Is Polluted in Tested China Wells
By CHRIS BUCKLEY and VANESSA PIAO
APRIL 11, 2016
AND NOW FLOODING TREND...? How about Stormwater runoff regs?
Greenwich officials close middle school fields due to toxin levels
September 1, 2016 1:30 PM
Follow up by the State?
Neighbors’ tests show arsenic, lead in Western Middle School soil
By Paul Schott Updated 8:19 pm, Wednesday, April 20, 2016
GREENWICH — Soil tests commissioned by neighbors on Western Middle
School’s grounds show high levels of arsenic and lead...story in
Most CT schools don’t test water for lead, but that could change
By: Ana Radelat | April 1, 2016
Washington – The drinking fountains at Burr District Elementary School
have been off limits to the school’s 250 students since a test in 2001
found the water they spouted had a level of lead that required the
school, under federal law, to take remedial action...
Story in full: http://ctmirror.org/2016/04/01/most-ct-schools-dont-test-water-for-lead-but-that-could-change/
U.S. INDUSTRIAL POLLUTION OF GROUNDWATER REPORTAGE BY I-BBC
Do you think we will have to do this? http://www.westonct.gov/media/file/WestonSMP3-24-17.pdf
WATER QUALITY IN WESTON: What
standards for testing FROM THE TAP were recommended in 1993? See
page 11 - onus on the approved lab doing the test...
FAST FORWARD TO NOV. 16, 2016 SELECTMEN'S MEETING AND WE BEGIN TO SEE THE CONNECTION BETWEEN ROUTE 57 STORM SEWERS...
FRONT AND CENTER 2017: STORM WATER MANAGEMENT FOR WESTON: http://www.ct.gov/deep/lib/deep/water/ic/Weston_MS4_Fact_Sheet.pdf
HAZARD MITIGATION WORKSHOP (l)
Avoiding Bioenergy Competition for Food Crops and Land, Creating a Sustainable Food Future, Installment Nine
WORLD RESOURCES INSTITUTE
by Tim Searchinger and Ralph Heimlich - January 2015
Installment 9 of Creating a Sustainable Food Future shows that any
dedicated use of land for growing bioenergy inherently comes at the cost
of not using that land for growing food or animal feed, or for storing
Working paper on biofuels...
Making Sense of Water
APRIL 14, 2015
BERKELEY, Calif. — Almost every number used to analyze California’s
drought can be debated, but this can be safely said: No level of
restrictions on residential use can solve the problem. The solution lies
with agriculture, which consumes more than its fair share.
That doesn’t mean homeowners can’t and shouldn’t cut back.
But according to estimates by the Public Policy Institute of California,
more water was used to grow almonds in 2013 than was used by all homes
and businesses in San Francisco and Los Angeles put together. Even
worse, most of those almonds are then exported — which means,
effectively, that we are exporting water. Unless you’re the person or
company making money off this deal, that’s just nuts.
California produces more than 400 commodities in many different
climates, so it’s difficult to generalize about agriculture. Many
farmers are cutting back on water use, planting geographically
appropriate crops and shifting to techniques that make sense, like “dry”
farming. Others, however, are mining water as they would copper: When
it runs out, they’ll find new ways to make money.
So the big question is not, “How do we survive the drought?” — which
could well be the new normal — but, “How do we allocate water sensibly?”
California grows fruits and vegetables for everyone; that’s a good
thing. It would be an even better thing, however, if some of that
production shifted to places like Iowa, once a leading grower of
produce. That could happen again, if federal policy subsidized such
crops, rather than corn, on some of that ultra-fertile land...story in
Amid drought, water-use penalties hit Bay Area
Kurtis Alexander, SFGATE
Updated 10:45 pm, Saturday, May 17, 2014
Here comes the chapter of California's drought story where things get testy.
Asking people to conserve water? No problem. Ordering them to cut back
or else pay up? Those are fighting words...for full story click above.
Holiday storms do little to help US drought, although rains ease
conditions some in Southeast
By Associated Press, Updated: Thursday, January 3, 10:58 AM
ST. LOUIS — Holiday storms that pounded much of the nation with snow
and rain did little to ease the overall grip of the worst U.S. drought
The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report released Thursday shows that
about 61 percent of the continental U.S. remained in some form of
drought as of Tuesday, down less than a percentage point from the
previous week. That number has been above 60 percent largely since July.
More than 21 percent of the lower 48 states are in extreme or
exceptional drought, the two worst categories. That’s down slightly
from the previous week.
All of Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and South Dakota are in drought.
But some areas in the Southeast are emerging from drought after heavy
rains since Christmas Day.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material
may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
A Record Worth Wilting For: Death Valley Is Hotter Than ...
By ADAM NAGOURNEY, NYTIMES
December 28, 2012
CREEK, Calif. — For Death Valley, a place that embraces its extremes,
this has long been an affront: As furnace-hot as it gets here, it could
not lay claim to being the hottest place on earth. That honor, as it
were, has gone since 1922 to a city on the northwestern tip of Libya.
Until now. After a yearlong investigation by a team of climate
scientists, the World Meteorological Organization, the climate agency
of the United Nations, announced this fall that it was throwing out a
reading of 136.4 degrees claimed by the city of Al Aziziyah on Sept.
13, 1922. It made official what anyone who has soldiered through a
Death Valley summer afternoon here could attest to. There is no place
hotter in the world. A 134-degree reading registered on July 10, 1913,
at Greenland Ranch here is now the official world record...
Please search the NYTIMES archives for the remainder of this story.
Drought’s impact on food prices could worsen hunger in America
By Jason Sickles
21 August 2012
More than 18 percent of Americans say there have been times this year
when they couldn't afford the food they needed, according to a Gallup
poll released on Tuesday.
That plight could grow because of the country's worst drought in half a
century. The U.S. Department of Agriculture warned last month that
Americans should expect to pay 3 to 5 percent more for groceries next
year because of the drought.
"While Americans are no more likely to struggle to afford food thus far
in 2012 than in the past, more residents may face problems as the
drought-related crop damage results in a shortage of inputs in the food
supply and begins to affect retail prices," the Gallup report stated.
Rural Development Department. "The world has enough food, but of course
we cannot predict the weather and if something extraordinary happens we
might find ourselves in a difficult situation again..."
Please search the YAHOO archives for the remainder of this story.
In Midst of a Drought, Keeping Traffic
Moving on the Mississippi
By JOHN SCHWARTZ, NYTIMES
August 19, 2012
ABOARD THE DREDGE POTTER, on the Mississippi River — This ship is
making sure that the Big River, shrinking under one of the worst
droughts in modern history, stays deep enough.
The Potter is scooping this stretch of the Mississippi River’s
navigation channel just south of St. Louis, the ship’s 32-foot-wide
head sucking up about 60,000 cubic yards of sediment each day and
depositing it via a long discharge pipe a thousand feet to the side in
a violent, muddy plume that smells like muck and summer...http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/
Connecticut shown as "abnomally dry" this week...
Report: Drought Intensifies in Kansas, Nebraska
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
August 16, 2012
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A new report suggests that while recent rains
stabilized the devastating drought gripping Iowa and other key farming
states, the dry conditions intensified in Kansas and Nebraska.
The latest U.S. Drought Monitor map released Thursday shows the overall
expanse of land across the contiguous U.S. states weathering some form
of drought dropped less than 1 percent to 61.8 percent as of Tuesday.
In Iowa, the nation's leader in corn production, the amount of land
mired in extreme or exceptional drought — the two worst classifications
— dropped 7 percentage points to 62.05 percent over the past week.
But the amount of Nebraska in exceptional drought spiked 19 percentage
points to 22.5 percent, while that number in Kansas rose from 38.6
percent last week to 63.3 percent now.
US counties now considered disaster areas
By JIM SUHR | Associated Press
2 August 2012
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Nearly 220 counties in a dozen drought-stricken states
were added Wednesday to the U.S. government's list of natural disaster
areas as the nation's agriculture chief unveiled new help for
frustrated, cash-strapped farmers and ranchers grappling with extreme
dryness and heat.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's
addition of the 218 counties means that more than half of all U.S.
counties — 1,584 in 32 states — have been designated primary disaster
areas this growing season, the vast majority of them mired in a drought
that's considered the worst in decades.
Counties in Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa,
Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South
Dakota, Tennessee and Wyoming were included in Wednesday's
announcement. The USDA uses the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor to help
decide which counties to deem disaster areas, which makes farmers and
ranchers eligible for federal aid, including low-interest emergency
To help ease the burden on the
nation's farms, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Thursday opened up
3.8 million acres of conservation land for ranchers to use for haying
and grazing. Under that conservation program, farmers have been paid to
take land out of production to ward against erosion and create wildlife
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NEW YORK TIMES SERIES
ON TOXIC WATERS
Toxic Waters: Clean Water Laws
Neglected, at a Cost to Health
By CHARLES DUHIGG
September 13, 2009
Jennifer Hall-Massey knows not to drink the tap water in her home near
In fact, her entire family tries to avoid any contact with the water.
Her youngest son has scabs on his arms, legs and chest where the
bathwater — polluted with lead, nickel and other heavy metals — caused
painful rashes. Many of his brother’s teeth were capped to replace
enamel that was eaten away.
Neighbors apply special lotions after showering because their skin
burns. Tests show that their tap water contains arsenic, barium, lead,
manganese and other chemicals at concentrations federal regulators say
could contribute to cancer and damage the kidneys and nervous system.
“How can we get digital cable and Internet in our homes, but not clean
water?” said Mrs. Hall-Massey, a senior accountant at one of the
state’s largest banks.
She and her husband, Charles, do not live in some remote corner of
Appalachia. Charleston, the state capital, is less than 17 miles from
“How is this still happening today?” she asked.
When Mrs. Hall-Massey and 264 neighbors sued nine nearby coal
companies, accusing them of putting dangerous waste into local water
supplies, their lawyer did not have to look far for evidence. As
required by state law, some of the companies had disclosed in reports
to regulators that they were pumping into the ground illegal
concentrations of chemicals — the same pollutants that flowed from
But state regulators never fined or punished those companies for
breaking those pollution laws.
This pattern is not limited to West Virginia. Almost four decades ago,
Congress passed the Clean Water Act to force polluters to disclose the
toxins they dump into waterways and to give regulators the power to
fine or jail offenders. States have passed pollution statutes of their
own. But in recent years, violations of the Clean Water Act have risen
steadily across the nation, an extensive review of water pollution
records by The New York Times found...see link for full story.
Crops in India Wilt in a Weak
By VIKAS BAJAJ, NYTIMES
September 3, 2012
MURUMA, India — Vilas Dinkar Mukane lives halfway around the world from
the corn farmers of Iowa, but the Indian sharecropper is at risk of
losing his livelihood for the same reason: not enough rain.
With the nourishing downpours of the annual monsoon season down an
average of 12 percent across India and much more in some regions,
farmers in this village about 250 miles east of Mumbai are on the brink
of disaster. “If this situation continues, I’ll lose everything,” said
Mr. Mukane, whose soybean, sugarcane and cotton crops were visibly
stunted and wilting in his fields recently. “Nothing can happen without
Drought has devastated crops around the world this year, including corn
and soybeans in the United States, wheat in Russia and Australia and
soybeans in Brazil and Argentina. This has contributed to a 6 percent
rise in global food prices from June to July, according to United
India is experiencing its fourth drought in a dozen years, raising
concerns about the reliability of the country’s primary source of fresh
water, the monsoon rains that typically fall from June to October...
Please search the NYTIMES archives for the remainder of this story.
From Aquarion: The company is asking customers to undertake these voluntary measures:
Repair leaks in plumbing and fixtures
Switch to water-efficient toilets, washing machines and dishwashers
Allow grass to grow longer; taller grass is healthier and requires less water
Use brooms or blowers instead of water to clean decks, driveways and sidewalks
Use a bucket and sponge to wash cars and boats instead of a running hose. Shut off ornamental water displays
Don’t run the tap continuously while washing hands, shaving or brushing teeth
Don’t stay in the shower as long as before
Hand-wash dishes in a basin, not under running water.