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The Flood 1/28/15

I am inundated by information from various sources about various issues.  Some of the flood is about governmental folly.  Most of it is about environmental issues (often made worse by government folly).  This week I’m going to point out just three items that have crossed my screen.  Both relate to water quality and supply.  Both appear to be from a reputable source, to whit: the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is an arm of the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

It’s Not Exactly New News
Let’s start with excerpts from a seven year old report called Climate Change 2007: Working Group II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.  These excerpts were sent to me by Pete Giancola, who highlighted some especially notable spots.  As you can see, these excerpts are rife with links to other reports, agencies and whatnot.  Those of you who are inclined to attack the credibility of what you read here should feel free to follow the links, and see if you deem any of them to be information from trustworthy sources.

“Higher water temperatures, increased precipitation intensity, and longer periods of low flows exacerbate many forms of water pollution, with impacts on ecosystems, human health, water system reliability and operating costs (high confidence).

These pollutants include sediments, nutrients, dissolved organic carbon, pathogens, pesticides, salt, and thermal pollution [3.2 <http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg2/en/ch3s3-2.html> , 3.4.4 <http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg2/en/ch3s3-4-4.html> ,3.4.5 <http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg2/en/ch3s3-4-5.html> ].”

- and –

“Climate change affects the function and operation of existing water infrastructure as well as water management practices (very high confidence).

Adverse effects of climate on freshwater systems aggravate the impacts of other stresses, such as population growth, changing economic activity, land-use change, and urbanisation (very high confidence) [3.3.2 <http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg2/en/ch3s3-3-2.html> , 3.5 <http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg2/en/ch3s3-5.html> ]. Globally, water demand will grow in the coming decades, primarily due to population growth and increased affluence; regionally, large changes in irrigation water demand as a result of climate change are likely (high confidence) [3.5.1 <http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg2/en/ch3s3-5-1.html> ]. Current water management practices are very likely to be inadequate to reduce the negative impacts of climate change on water supply reliability, flood risk, health, energy, and aquatic ecosystems (very high confidence) [3.4 <http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg2/en/ch3s3-4.html> , 3.5 <http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg2/en/ch3s3-5.html> ]. Improved incorporation of current climate variability into water-related management would make adaptation to future climate change easier (very high confidence) [3.6 <http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg2/en/ch3s3-6.html> ].”

The link to the master document is here:
http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg2/en/ch3s3-es.html

Does Your Dog Drink More Water When It’s Hot?
Kind of a “duh” question, huh?  Here’s what your government in the form of the EPA has to say about it.  And please keep in mind that while some of your tax dollars are being spent to fund such studies, at least one other government jurisdiction is considering whether water quality issues should be prevented, ignored altogether, or allowed to happen and then “mitigated”.

“Water resources are important to both society and ecosystems. We depend on a reliable, clean supply of drinking water to sustain our health. We also need water for agriculture, energy production, navigation, recreation, and manufacturing.

Many of these uses put pressure on water resources, stresses that are likely to be exacerbated by climate change. In many areas, climate change is likely to increase water demand while shrinking water supplies. This shifting balance would challenge water managers to simultaneously meet the needs of growing communities, sensitive ecosystems, farmers, ranchers, energy producers, and manufacturers.

In some areas, water shortages will be less of a problem than increases in runoff, flooding, or sea level rise. These effects can reduce the quality of water and can damage the infrastructure that we use to transport and deliver water.

Impacts on Water Cycle and Water Demand

The water cycle (shown in the following figure) is a delicate balance of precipitation, evaporation, and all of the steps in between. Warmer temperatures increase the rate of evaporation of water into the atmosphere, in effect increasing the atmosphere's capacity to "hold" water. [1] Increased evaporation may dry out some areas and fall as excess precipitation on other areas.

Changes in the amount of rain falling during storms provide evidence that the water cycle is already changing. Over the past 50 years, the amount of rain falling during the most intense 1% of storms increased by almost 20%. [1] Warming winter temperatures cause more precipitation to fall as rain rather than snow. Furthermore, rising temperatures cause snow to begin melting earlier in the year. This alters the timing of streamflow in rivers that have their sources in mountainous areas. [1]

As temperatures rise, people and animals need more water to maintain their health and thrive. Many important economic activities, like producing energy at power plants, raising livestock, and growing food crops, also require water. The amount of water available for these activities may be reduced as Earth warms, and if competition for water resources increases. [1]

The link to the master document is here:
http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/impacts-adaptation/water.html

Sewers, Sewage, and Other Ugly Thoughts
The following item is an excerpt from the 2014 National Climate Assessment, which summarizes the impacts of past, present and future climate change on the United States.

A team of more than 300 experts guided by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee produced the report.  It was extensively reviewed by the public and experts, including federal agencies and a panel of the National Academy of Sciences.   Once again, please note this is a government-funded report

“Most of the Midwest’s population lives in urban environments. Climate change may intensify other stresses on urban dwellers and vegetation, including increased atmospheric pollution, heat island effects, a highly variable water cycle, and frequent exposure to new pests and diseases. Further, many of the cities have aging infrastructure and are particularly vulnerable to climate change related flooding and life-threatening heat waves. The increase in heavy downpours has contributed to the discharge of untreated sewage due to excess water in combined sewage-overflow systems in a number of cities in the Midwest.”

The link is here:
http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/highlights/regions/midwest#statement-16942

But what, you ask, has this to do with our little parcel of paradise, since any polluted ground water originating from a gravel mine in Sand Creek Township would be flowing away from us?

Well, we could start with the admonition of Christ to do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

Too religiousy for you?

How about this?  As the climate changes, and ever greater demands are placed on ground water sources, the flow will begin to slow, and ultimately reverse.  Meaning polluted water from shallow aquifers will be drawn down to deeper aquifers.  The shallow aquifers are where single homestead wells get their water.  The deeper aquifers are where cities get their water.  Ultimately, everybody will be getting polluted water, and taxpayers will have to pay to make it fit for drinking.

Why taxpayers?  Because the Legal Limited Corporations that cause the problem will never show a profit due to salaries, legal expenses, and whatever else they can dream up to siphon off the money.  Then, when the minerals are played out, they simply invoke the “limited” part of their incorporation, and declare bankruptcy. 

Think I’m kidding?  Have you been following the news about the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis?  Do you understand that the Archdiocese declared bankruptcy to protect its’ day-to-day operations from the effects of the abuse lawsuits being lodged against it?  Why do you suppose our local proposer has changed the name on the proposal three times?

While one part of the federal government is finding all those facts, and grinding out all that data (at considerable expense to taxpayers), other government agencies and jurisdictions are going their merry way, blissfully ignorant of, or willfully disregarding those facts.

The Quote:
I've lived in Washington now for 44 years, and that's a lot of folly to witness up close. Whatever confidence and optimism I felt towards the central government when I got here on January 1, 1970 has pretty much dissipated at the hands of the government.”
           George Will

Next City Council Meeting, Tuesday, February 2, 2015.  

Videos are now on the Video Page

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I welcome public comment on this topic. Anyone willing to give his or her name is welcome to respond here. Thom.Boncher@gmail.com  No anonymous responses will be posted.  No obscene language will be permitted.  Threats, personal attacks, and spam will not be posted.  My house, my rules.  But if you have something to say, and if you are willing to put your name on it, I won’t refuse to let you be heard. 
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