What Changes When We Hit 3,525?

Ed_on_WD

Well-Known Member
Am I reading this Right? Is Arizona's Gov. Ducey offering to pay for facilities in Mexico to desalinate sea water for Mexican use in exchange for keeping Mexico's alloted portion of the Colorado River for use in Arizona?

As Lake Powell Hits Landmark Low, Arizona Looks to a $1 Billion Investment and Mexican Seawater to Slake its Thirst - Inside Climate News

Sounds like somebody is at least thinking of a solution. I don't have any idea how realistic any of this is, but I've got to give him credit for starting a discussion.
 
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Cookie

Well-Known Member
I always thought we could build a canal from Sea of Cortez to Salton Sea. Then we would have cleaner water in Salton Sea and then add a Desalination plant as well. So easy on paper. I believe there is some small allotment of River water that needs to run to Salton Sea or is it all irrigation water?
 

Ed_on_WD

Well-Known Member
I always thought we could build a canal from Sea of Cortez to Salton Sea. Then we would have cleaner water in Salton Sea and then add a Desalination plant as well. So easy on paper. I believe there is some small allotment of River water that needs to run to Salton Sea or is it all irrigation water?
Desalination results in concentrated brine that has to be disposed of. The Desalination Plant would have to be built at the source, i.e. at the Sea of Cortez.

Pumping straight sea water into the Salton Sea would result in the salt concentration going much higher over time. It would end up like the Dead Sea. Remember that the Salton Sea was formed when fresh water from the Colorado River flowed into the Salton Sink in the early 1900s.

Desalination is very energy intensive, and pumping the water back to the Salton Sea wouldn't be cheap either. The fresh water would have to be pumped uphill, a canal wouldn't work. If water could gravity flow from the Sea of Cortez to the Salton Sea on its own, the Salton Sea would already be an arm of the Sea of Cortez.
 
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Cookie

Well-Known Member
Desalination results in concentrated brine that has to be disposed of. The Desalination Plant would have to be built at the source, i.e. at the Sea of Cortez.

Pumping straight sea water into the Salton Sea would result in the salt concentration going much higher over time. It would end up like the Dead Sea.

Desalination is very energy intensive, and pumping the water back to the Salton Sea wouldn't be cheap either. The fresh water would have to be pumped uphill, a canal wouldn't work. If water could gravity flow from the Sea of Cortez to the Salton Sea on its own, the Salton Sea would already be an arm of the Sea of Cortez.
Water would actually flow downhill into Salton Sea from Sea of Cortez. Salton sea elevation is 236 ft below sea level. Maybe just another way to keep Salton Sea filled since it has been determined that it should never be empty again.
 

Colorado Expat

Well-Known Member
Am I reading this Right? Is Arizona's Gov. Ducey offering to pay for facilities in Mexico to desalinate sea water for Mexican use in exchange for keeping Mexico's alloted portion of the Colorado River for use in Arizona?

As Lake Powell Hits Landmark Low, Arizona Looks to a $1 Billion Investment and Mexican Seawater to Slake its Thirst - Inside Climate News

Sounds like somebody is at least thinking of a solution. I don't have any idea how realistic any of this is, but I've got to give him credit for starting a discussion.
Desalination in Mexico as tradeoff for transferring Colorado River water rights to Arizona, as recently proposed by their governor, in addition to being very expensive (a $3 billon price tag, which means a higher cost per gallon for someone, since an acre-foot of desal water costs $2000 to produce), will also make up only a fifth of the total water deficit created by Arizona’s rapid growth. And such a project would take at least 10 years to construct and bring online.

Similarly, massive trans-basin diversions have been proposed for the past 50 years, but face significant hurdles in terms of cost, the simple physics of pushing that much water up and over topographic drainage divides, and political opposition from states that have no desire to see their water exported to some place far away. Any such system would take decades to build, once you got past the inevitable court challenges from everyone ranging from farmers to environmental groups.

As has been discussed in this forum before, the huge increase in urban and suburban use in the Lower Basin has come largely from Arizona, which is now the third fastest growing state in the US - between 1957 and 2020 the population increased by 7 times over. Those folks are not going back where they came from, and are an installed base of consumption that will have to be serviced in perpetuity going forward. On the other hand, what used to be agricultural fields south of Phoenix are now suburbs, which are less water intensive. So there has been somewhat of a tradeoff there, but not enough to decrease overall Lower Basin demand.

So for now, and for at least the next two decades to come, the Colorado River compact states will need to live within the confines of the water they have, not the water they wish they had. As demand grows and supply declines, there are no easy answers here.
 

flowerbug

Well-Known Member
it may eventually make sense to do this for a portion of the amount of water that Mexico gets by treaty. solar and wind power are not as expensive as they used to be and prices may keep coming down (even if not at the same rate things have been), plus newer technologies may come along. i wouldn't count anything out at this point.

the harder issue is that no matter what the irrigation system in Mexico for the water that comes from the Colorado River is not set up to be serviced by water from sea level on the coast. it's just a huge thing to do when you start talking piping and pumping large amounts of water uphill.

the Salton Sea is an interesting case of mismanagement. they came up with this idea to transfer a lot of water and never replaced it. so of course the lake is going to shrink. right now they're just trying to mitigate the damage they've done they're not ever going to fix it with the bandaids they keep trying to stick on it. look at Owens Lake for a price tag what it will cost if they let it get worse. so they'll try to fix it for less and keep doing a mediocre job while keeping on kicking the pollution and dust problem down the road.

an actual solution would involve some way of getting some of the salts out of the sea enough to return it to a more biologically useful and less polluted body of water, but that won't happen until the polluters are taken to court and start having to pay for the mess they're making. i.e. good luck with that. however, the good news is that it is possible to start small and to try to limit how much more pollution and salts are going in there and gradually find more water to add back in somehow and hope for some big water years where you can put a few hundred thousand extra acre feet of water back in. yes, of course everyone will scream about it. they'll scream either way. fix the problem so fewer people in the future get sick and return the lake to being a productive fishery and it will at least pay something for the efforts and investments.

as a good example of what can be possible look at the Aral Sea.
 

Colorado Expat

Well-Known Member
It would seem from this article that the 2019 Drought Contingency Plan that BOR was trying to implement is a non-starter, at least for this year. The Upper Basin states, not surprisingly, have decided they would rather hold their shares of the river locally for their own use, rather than banking them far away in Lake Powell and hoping they could somehow recoup that water at a later date after the spring runoff is long gone. This could be a problem, since BOR as far as I could tell was counting on an extra 500,000 acre-feet in Lake Powell this year as a result of that plan. Not having that water available to prop up the lake level at Powell is a potentially big deal, since we may have just hit our maximum Upper Basin snowpack level 3 weeks early on 26 March, and it brings us one step closer to a non-viable hydro plant sometime later this year.
 

Pacific Coast Mike

Active Member
I always thought we could build a canal from Sea of Cortez to Salton Sea. Then we would have cleaner water in Salton Sea and then add a Desalination plant as well. So easy on paper. I believe there is some small allotment of River water that needs to run to Salton Sea or is it all irrigation water?
The Salton Sea has been dead for years the entire so called lake is a super fund site it would cost Billion upon billions to clean up all the toxic waste flowing into everyday from Mexico through the New River Salton Sea
1.By the 1990s, the sea had started getting even smaller, and saltier, killing off masses of fish and birthing noxious algal blooms. Over the past few decades, tens of thousands of migratory birds around the lake have died of either starvation or poisoning

2.The Salton Sea is approximately 60 parts per thousand (PPT). By comparison ocean water is approximately 35 PPT. The salinity of the Sea increases every year. As the Sea evaporates every year all of the salt delivered to it is left behind thereby increasing the salinity with each passing year.

3.
Is Salton Sea toxic?

Image result for how salty is the salton sea

Sadly, the Salton Sea also contains incredible amounts of contaminants. The mud is laced with toxic chemicals such as chromium, zinc, lead, and pesticides like DDT

Sad as it maybe never see anything to improve it in our lifetime Especially how KaLifOrNiaS Environuts get involved slows it all down !
 

jayfromtexas

Well-Known Member
It would seem from this article that the 2019 Drought Contingency Plan that BOR was trying to implement is a non-starter, at least for this year. The Upper Basin states, not surprisingly, have decided they would rather hold their shares of the river locally for their own use, rather than banking them far away in Lake Powell and hoping they could somehow recoup that water at a later date after the spring runoff is long gone. This could be a problem, since BOR as far as I could tell was counting on an extra 500,000 acre-feet in Lake Powell this year as a result of that plan. Not having that water available to prop up the lake level at Powell is a potentially big deal, since we may have just hit our maximum Upper Basin snowpack level 3 weeks early on 26 March, and it brings us one step closer to a non-viable hydro plant sometime later this year.
Can't say I really blame them, once that water hits Lake Powell it's as good as gone downstream to Lake Mead. If you take the compact at its face value it is extremely unfair to the upper basin, essentially leaving them whatever is left over from the river flow after the lower basin gets it's 7.5million. The system worked for many years while Powell had enough water for the upper basin to meet its obligations. Now here we are at an epic crisis. We have 6 small monkeys and an 800lb gorilla fighting over a dwindling resource. For better or for worse the 800lb gorilla has water law and Capital clout on its side.
 

Rainbowbridge

Escalante-Class Member
So I think I won this bet. How about you donate 5 pounds to either the Labour or Lib Dem parties? Your choice!
I'd donate 5 pounds, (heck, I've got 20 extra), to the "save Dangling Rope " fund.... but alas, that barge has sailed..... ;)

on a somewhat serious note, as we turn the corner, my guess had been 3535 tops....but looks like JFR had pegged it at 3540.....happy/glad to admit I was off.....now inquiring minds turn to the fall and to next year........

:unsure:
 

Gunny

Active Member
The ONLY reason Powell went up is the extra release from FG and the hold back of Mead's water. To me, nobody wins. I know I keep saying this but wait til Powell overtakes Mead for total volume and see the vitriol that starts hitting the airwaves.
 

JFRCalifornia

Escalante-Class Member
The ONLY reason Powell went up is the extra release from FG and the hold back of Mead's water. To me, nobody wins. I know I keep saying this but wait til Powell overtakes Mead for total volume and see the vitriol that starts hitting the airwaves.
Just to be clear, those two actions definitely helped, but Powell would have risen some on its own. Here is the net effect of those two actions by month during calendar year 2022 based schedules put out by BOR a couple of months ago related to the timing of FG releases and reductions in releases through Glen Canyon Dam:

Jan - 0.7 feet
Feb - 0.6 feet
Mar - 0.7 feet
Apr - 0.3 feet
May - 1.3 feet
Jun - 2.0 feet
Jul - 2.5 feet
Aug - 3.2 feet
Sep - 2.8 feet
Oct - 0.6 feet
Nov - 0.6 feet
Dec - 0.7 feet

Total - 15.9 feet

The contribution from each action is about 8 feet, with the effects of Flaming Gorge mostly felt in late May and early June, while the reduction in releases through Glen Canyon Dam will be most noticed in June through September.

So far, from January through June, we've realized about 5.6 feet of that total benefit. What this tells me is that instead of being at 3539 right now, we'd be at roughly 3533 instead without those two actions.

You can also see that through September (July 1-Sept 30), whatever decline that would otherwise normally happen is going to be reduced by about 8.5 feet. That's actually a bigger deal than what has happened so far this year...
 

Gunny

Active Member
Just to be clear, those two actions definitely helped, but Powell would have risen some on its own. Here is the net effect of those two actions by month during calendar year 2022 based schedules put out by BOR a couple of months ago related to the timing of FG releases and reductions in releases through Glen Canyon Dam:

Jan - 0.7 feet
Feb - 0.6 feet
Mar - 0.7 feet
Apr - 0.3 feet
May - 1.3 feet
Jun - 2.0 feet
Jul - 2.5 feet
Aug - 3.2 feet
Sep - 2.8 feet
Oct - 0.6 feet
Nov - 0.6 feet
Dec - 0.7 feet

Total - 15.9 feet

The contribution from each action is about 8 feet, with the effects of Flaming Gorge mostly felt in late May and early June, while the reduction in releases through Glen Canyon Dam will be most noticed in June through September.

So far, from January through June, we've realized about 5.6 feet of that total benefit. What this tells me is that instead of being at 3539 right now, we'd be at roughly 3533 instead without those two actions.

You can also see that through September (July 1-Sept 30), whatever decline that would otherwise normally happen is going to be reduced by about 8.5 feet. That's actually a bigger deal than what has happened so far this year...
I think I originally guessed no higher than 3525
 

Kevin G

Well-Known Member
Power generation shouldn’t be a problem this coming water year. But marina operations at Bullfrog seem highly questionable to me. I’d be thinking about moving to Halls Crossing if I had a slip or buoy at Bullfrog, despite some inconveniences for driving there. Bullfrog Ramp isn’t going to be available and whether or not marina operations will be able to continue through the low water level next spring seems very questionable to me.
 
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