Our Water Situation

Discussion in 'In the News' started by Frank Sanoica, Aug 15, 2019.

  1. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    We living here where it's actually occurring see through the media barrage concerning the water situation along the Colorado River. It's touted that the river supplies water to 40 million people in addition to agricultural interests, Indian tribes, and Mexico. All that is true, but in a round-about way. We have recently seen the river flowing near full-bore, as part of some sort of endangered pupfish experiment. No one is yet experiencing, nor have they experienced, any shortage of domestic water delivered to individuals.

    "Climate change still threatens key US river after wet winter"

    "FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Snow swamped mountains across the U.S. West last winter, leaving enough to thrill skiers into the summer, swelling rivers and streams when it melted, and largely making wildfire restrictions unnecessary. But the wet weather can be misleading.

    Climate change means the region is still getting drier and hotter."

    See: https://www.yahoo.com/news/climate-change-threatens-us-west-051327697.html

    Here is a view taken in March, 2019, of the Lake Mead water level behind Hoover Dam, the reservoir being about 40% full. Note the level way down low on the intake towers. Under all except flood conditions, ALL the water released from Lake Mead into the Colorado River flows into and through those 4 towers, to be released downstream of the dam, having churned it's way through turbines, spinning them, generating electric power.

    [​IMG]

    In the event of water rising in the lake faster than the towers can carry it away, two huge spillways are available near the top of the dam, which can carry away the excess safely, ensuring that NO WATER can ever run over the top of the dam. We saw those two spillways operating once shortly after moving to Arizona, and it was an awesome sight! The video shows the overflow in operation, the water depth on the back side of the dam being over 600 feet deep! Note the difference in water level at the towers compared to that in the picture above:



    The dam-like structure over which water is flowing is actually a "gate" which is controllable up or down. In the vid, it is at about 1/2 maximum height. The goal is to relieve only enough water to keep the lake level from rising further, since all that water is being "wasted" without benefit of generating electric power. As the lake level drops, the gates (2) will be slowly lowered, until finally no water will leave the lake via the two giant concrete "holes" leading downward and downstream. At that point, all water leaving Lake Mead will enter through the intake towers, and generate electric power.

    My first time looking downward at the face of the dam from the top roadway absolutely took my breath away! Frank
     
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    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019
  2. Bess Barber

    Bess Barber Very Well-Known Member
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    Hoover Dam is awesome....at least for now. I'm not sure how the water level problems all over the United States, possibly world, will pan out. For crops, they could process sea water in order to grow crops and water animals. It's expensive, but I think we have that technology. Israel could get rich with everyone buying those backpack devices that take the water out of the air. The soldiers there have them when needed. They look like this:

    download (92).jpeg
     
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  3. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    @Bess Barber
    I believe the stage is set, as humanity levels become disproportionately high, for water to become the new "oil". Then, wars may be fought over water, instead of oil. One out of every six human beings living today depends on water from only a single river.......know which one it is?
    Frank
     
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  4. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Very Well-Known Member
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    Great post, @Frank Sanoica. The first picture is startling to see.

    I got to see the dam once a long time ago (~1973) at night heading from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon. I thought the main highway went right over the dam back then (?) It was all lit up. It is an amazing structure.
     
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  5. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    @Nancy Hart
    Thank you! The main highway, US-93 did indeed cross over the top of the dam, two wide lanes, which, as decades went by and commerce increased proportionately, became a bottleneck due to heavy truck traffic and tourist activity. Several million visit annually. A bridge bypassing the dam traffic was constructed during the 2000s, quite a feat it was. The hairpin turns previously used reaching the dam are clearly visible. During it's construction, truck traffic was bypassed through Laughlin, adding about 50 miles to their trip distance, and creating traffic snarls down here where we live. Driving across the bridge, unfortunately, provides no view of the dam itself.

    [​IMG]


    Here are a few views during it's construction. It is 890 feet high above the river! Nearly as high as the Empire State Building, I think.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Very Well-Known Member
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    Wow! I suppose it's best, to keep traffic off the dam that don't care to see it. Maybe distracts a little from the dam though being so close. At least it's a pretty bridge. Thanks for the pictures.
     
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  7. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Veteran Member
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    So, the paradox to the whole matter of water availability might be that barring humans going space, not one drop of water has left the earth’s atmosphere since the dawn of time. Essentially, we have the same amount of water we started with.
    I guess we could surmise that since humans are 90+% water and there are definitely more humans on earth than ever before but.......
     
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  8. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    @Nancy Hart
    One can no longer drive a car across the dam, but foot traffic is always encouraged. The tour offered by Bureau of Reclamation is absolutely excellent! They take you down in an elevator from street level into the very bowels of the dam; exiting, a tunnel-like corridor lined with spotless ceramic tile stretches curving into the distance, well-lit, clean as a hospital. These tunnels are used for inspection purposes mainly. At the end, it opens onto a balcony overlooking the generator room of one side of the dam; there are two, 16 generators, I think. The last one was installed finally in about 1958, I believe, as more capacity became warranted. The level of sound in there is eerily low, for such enormous equipment running. The generators are serviced as needed using two 150-ton capacity overhead travelling cranes. Their output is 16,500 volts, which is stepped-up by giant transformers outside the dam to hundreds of thousands of volts, feeding power mainly to California.

    Hoover Dam ranks, for me, as one of the few truly stunning achievements of our government. 50-year maturity bonds sold publicly before construction were paid off in full on schedule about 1988, dividends paid over all those years, then bonds paid off at maturity with revenue "generated" by the dam itself. Since then, it produces "gravy"! Frank
     
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  9. Bess Barber

    Bess Barber Very Well-Known Member
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    I did read once that the planet Earth still has the same amount of water it started with. It may be in different forms, polluted or shifted around, but it's still here in volume. There was no mention of the human aspect, but it is a really good point.
     
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  10. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Veteran Member
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    @Bess Barber
    When we discuss water and/or the lack of it, we usually imply FRESH water, not the enormous quantity on the face of the Earth which is not suitable for our consumption. Today's oceanic waters contain nasty stuff not present before the Nuclear Age. Simply removing the dissolved salts and other minerals does not necessarily make it safe enough to drink. Thank places like Chernobyl, Fukushima, and things like nuclear bomb testing.
    Frank
     
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  11. Hal Pollner

    Hal Pollner Very Well-Known Member
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    I don't like the Bridge...it has nothing to do with the handling of
    DiHydrogen Monoxide.

    Hal
     
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