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Question on Lake Elevation Projections

flowerbug

Well-Known Member
In very rough numbers, here's what CA has for water supplies, which factors into what might happen in a reworking of the Compact:

About 42 maf (+/-) of developed water delivery systems, and the major pieces are these:
...
  • LA Aqueduct: 0.4 maf to Los Angeles from Owens Valley

which has changed quite a bit by now since Mono Lake and Owens Lake both take chunks out of that for rebuilding the water level (which is not going well at Mono Lake) or dust control at Owens Lake (which isn't a lake any longer). i know that right now the Mono Lake part of the portion of the water they are trying to export each year is subject to how low Mono Lake gets and right now it is only a few feet above the complete cut off level where LA won't be able to take any water until the level comes up again. this past season being extremely dry and hot will make this decision happen even faster if we get a repeat of low rain and snow this next water year.

of course i'm hoping for a much better coming year.

  • Plus there is massive groundwater use, leading to serious overdraft in places, notably the southern San Joaquin Valley. In all the central valley has groundwater storage capacity of nearly 700 maf, but it's been used hard over the decades and going down fast. Many other smaller basins exist around the state.

ground water recharge is a major topic right now because if you get a good water year and have the infrastructure for it you can capture and spread water out to soak in. if you include that with recycling projects which also reinject water from recycled waste water then you've got a chance of at least stopping declines, but somehow you have to get the people who are pulling too much water from the ground via wells to get their use in balance with the actual recharge rate. this is all a work in progress in CA and there's many years yet of wrangling and working on this to get it all back into some semblence of balance.

having seen what can be done in very arid climates with recycled water and being careful i think CA has a long ways to go and a lot more room yet to get there.
 

Eagle Rock

Active Member
This must be a typo? It couldn't get worse than reverse hydrology?, showing -100 CFS inflow yesterday 19th
or are the rivers so dry they're sucking the lake?
I suspect it's a typo in Sunday's water elevation. If the lake elevation on Sunday was 3556.23, one digit different from the reported 3556.33, that would make the drop in elevation on Sunday and Monday be 0.23 feet both days, instead of .13 Sunday and .33 Monday. And that in turn would make the inflow 2717 cfs both days instead of 5534 cfs Sunday and -100 cfs Monday. (Added Wednesday: typo confirmed; NPS shows lake elevation 3556.23 on Sunday)
 
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broski

Well-Known Member
Thank you JFR, Drew, Dorado and others for enlightening me. I was unaware that California (especially the northern Sierras) were suffering as badly as we are here... it does still seem that 40MAF for 35Million people, in such an ag intensive state, may not be enough, but I understand better now.

Before the company was shut down, when we weren't drilling methane vent holes for the coal mines, or nacholite mines, we did drill a bunch of large diameter water wells in CA for several almond growers...drilled 'em right in the orchards!

As for dams in the Gore or Glenwood Canyons, obviously that wouldn't be possible, as it would displace approximately 75K people! Now, the Dominguez/Escalante Canyons in between Delta and Grand Junction? You bet! Ugly as hell topography (would make great fish habitat as well), deep, long! Lots of capacity!!!
 

Steve Moore

Well-Known Member
Thank you JFR, Drew, Dorado and others for enlightening me. I was unaware that California (especially the northern Sierras) were suffering as badly as we are here... it does still seem that 40MAF for 35Million people, in such an ag intensive state, may not be enough, but I understand better now.

Before the company was shut down, when we weren't drilling methane vent holes for the coal mines, or nacholite mines, we did drill a bunch of large diameter water wells in CA for several almond growers...drilled 'em right in the orchards!

As for dams in the Gore or Glenwood Canyons, obviously that wouldn't be possible, as it would displace approximately 75K people! Now, the Dominguez/Escalante Canyons in between Delta and Grand Junction? You bet! Ugly as hell topography (would make great fish habitat as well), deep, long! Lots of capacity!!!
The Dominguez project has been on radar since I was a pup. Thanks to green politicians it was stopped and made a federal recreational area.
it would have been 30 miles long with 3 marinas and 2 turbines. Also a diversion for breeding endangered fish and filling the local irrigation systems should the Colorado drop to low to fulfill.
 

drewsxmi

Well-Known Member
To what end? Powell and Mead have proven very much capable of catching everything from the upper basin. Store it here or store it there, there's still not enough water to fill either one.
That was mostly a rhetorical question. It might have been possible to store some of the 1983 floods. I don't personally recommend it. When people say to build more dams because we need the water, they seem to miss that dams don't create a single drop of water.

There is geologic evidence for 400,000 cfs floods along the Colorado River. We could consider trying to build flood control dams to contain and store that kind of flow, but it might not be needed except for once every 500 or 1000 years, hardly worth the cost.

Since about 1983 the upper basin has been able to store all of the flow in the upper Colorado River, and meet the requirements of the Colorado River Compact. I would prefer keep the remaining free-flowing streams, rivers, and canyons.
 
So interesting to read all the different slants on water use/ delivery/ storage and what it all means for a very complicated water pact- that JFR and others have pointed out so well in great posts. Here is another interesting development for anyone interested in information/education in the World of Water..................

 

flowerbug

Well-Known Member
That was mostly a rhetorical question. It might have been possible to store some of the 1983 floods. I don't personally recommend it. When people say to build more dams because we need the water, they seem to miss that dams don't create a single drop of water.

There is geologic evidence for 400,000 cfs floods along the Colorado River. We could consider trying to build flood control dams to contain and store that kind of flow, but it might not be needed except for once every 500 or 1000 years, hardly worth the cost.

Since about 1983 the upper basin has been able to store all of the flow in the upper Colorado River, and meet the requirements of the Colorado River Compact. I would prefer keep the remaining free-flowing streams, rivers, and canyons.

me too!

along with the issue that by building more dams you are increasing the surface area exposed to evaporation in a very arid climate. it just makes more sense to work on improving infrastructure that already exists to limit losses and to work on projects which put water underground where it won't be lost to evaporation.

the problem with many arid climate ground water projects though is that there is a good chance that the water existing under them has already been either contaminated or isn't the best quality, but water treatment costs are coming down and having windmill and solar power that can drive RO units makes it more sustainable. the wastewater from that might even be useful as a source of other minerals (gold, lithium, etc.), salts, nutrients... it would be great to get the process down to where you end up with only few lbs of real nasty stuff that can be enclosed in glass and put in a hazardous waste site to sit there until the sun goes red giant...

things get so much easier when you are near the coast where you can just put the waste water back into the ocean where most of the salts and stuff come from anyways.

the flow through option which keeps both dams generating is preferable to shutting any of them down.

also someone mentioned why they may be draining some reserviors over others and i can say that there's a good chance it is because of power generation issues...
 

svivian

Well-Known Member
As for dams in the Gore or Glenwood Canyons, obviously that wouldn't be possible, as it would displace approximately 75K people! Now, the Dominguez/Escalante Canyons in between Delta and Grand Junction? You bet! Ugly as hell topography (would make great fish habitat as well), deep, long! Lots of capacity!!!
That has been proposed several time but has been shut down each by the environmentalist.
 

broski

Well-Known Member
That has been proposed several time but has been shut down each by the environmentalist.
Doesn't matter politics and green Vs. actual science...it's not a viable solution, and hasn't been in many, many years! It would flood out Dotsero, Gypsum, Eagle, Edwards, Avon, Minturn, Vail.....

The only viable dams on the Colorado in that stretch are already in place.... Bair Ranch, Hanging Lake, Grizzly Creek, and then the new (VERY SMALL) whitewater park at West Glenwood Springs....
 
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svivian

Well-Known Member
Doesn't matter politics and green Vs. actual science...it's not a viable solution, and hasn't been in many, many years! It would flood out Dotsero, Gypsum, Eagle, Edwards, Avon, Minturn, Vail.....

The only viable dams on the Colorado in that stretch are already in place.... Bair Ranch, Hanging Lake, Grizzly Creek, and then the new (VERY SMALL) whitewater park at West Glenwood Springs....
Was referring to Escalante canyon outside of GJ. Posted before I saw Steve's response...
 

Todd

Well-Known Member
Thank you JFR, Drew, Dorado and others for enlightening me. I was unaware that California (especially the northern Sierras) were suffering as badly as we are here... it does still seem that 40MAF for 35Million people, in such an ag intensive state, may not be enough, but I understand better now.

Before the company was shut down, when we weren't drilling methane vent holes for the coal mines, or nacholite mines, we did drill a bunch of large diameter water wells in CA for several almond growers...drilled 'em right in the orchards!

As for dams in the Gore or Glenwood Canyons, obviously that wouldn't be possible, as it would displace approximately 75K people! Now, the Dominguez/Escalante Canyons in between Delta and Grand Junction? You bet! Ugly as hell topography (would make great fish habitat as well), deep, long! Lots of capacity!!!
One of the biggest hurdles would be to get the railroad to move! That will never happen!
 
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