Brightline, "conservative" policy, and the future of rail

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sttom

OBS Chief
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Jan 23, 2019
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Are there actually any serious plans for infrastructure projects that would actually make more water available?
Other than the Delta Tunnels that politically died when Brown left office, no. Plenty of people have ideas, me included, but if there is one thing I have learned from going on lobby days in Sacramento is that they don't really care what we have to think. I have talked with at least a dozen members of the legislature or their staffs and only 1 of them really seemed to give a damn about us. Part of this is down to only having 120 legislators for 40 million people. They need a political career to get there and they all are worried about their next job in politics, not if we have a stable water supply, good schools or any other thing in 20 years.
 

neroden

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Feb 23, 2014
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Without digging to see if Phoenix is doing better than Las Vegas, your remark about Las Vegas not planning for the future is not borne out by reality. I recall from some home improvement TV show that the Las Vegas water authorities are paying people to remove lawns. This page, this page, and this page bear that out and describe various other measures being taken. Forbidding new lawns, requiring removal of existing grassy areas nobody walks on, and paying people to remove existing lawns don't sound like measures someone blowing off the problem would be taking.


I don't know if that's enough for the size of the problem (I live in metro Chicago with a huge lake on our doorstep, so I lack perspective) but it doesn't support the implication that Las Vegas is sitting back and doing nothing.
Well, credit to Las Vegas! That is fairly new and a good change.
 

Exvalley

Conductor
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I wonder how feasible it would be for Arizona to buy desalinated water from Mexico. There seems to be a business opportunity there.

Israel has shown that it is viable, even if it is not ideal.
 

MARC Rider

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Are there actually any serious plans for infrastructure projects that would actually make more water available?
Well, perhaps they (California) could build desalination plants and use seawater, at least for domestic use. Of course, the expense is pretty high, and the water bills would me much higher than in non-arid states.

I had a former colleague who wend to grad school in Tucson in the 1980s; he said water bills out there were very high, on the order of what we would pay for electric bills back east. Thus, they were already starting to encourage people to rip out lawns and such. Piping desalinated water from the coast to Arizona might be possible, I guess, but the costs would be really high. Combined with the ridiculously high temperatures in the summer, I would imagine that the big Arizona metro areas will be less attractive as a place to live or develop businesses in the coming years.
 

Exvalley

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Well, perhaps they (California) could build desalination plants and use seawater, at least for domestic use. Of course, the expense is pretty high, and the water bills would me much higher than in non-arid states.
From the 2016 article that I cited, above:
Desalination used to be an expensive energy hog, but the kind of advanced technologies being employed at Sorek have been a game changer. Water produced by desalination costs just a third of what it did in the 1990s. Sorek can produce a thousand liters of drinking water for 58 cents. Israeli households pay about US$30 a month for their water — similar to households in most U.S. cities, and far less than Las Vegas (US$47) or Los Angeles (US$58).

And this is from a country that in 2018 got 70% of its electricity from natural gas. (Which admittedly creates its own set of problems.) On the other hand, Israel is much more compact than the American southwest, which makes distribution cheaper.
 

toddinde

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Apr 23, 2015
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334
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Sierra Vista, AZ
It should certainly be built. I wouldn't bet on Phoenix expansion continuing for more than 20 years, however. I haven't done the detailed projections on when Phoenix runs out of water, but, uh... it'll be a lot sooner than the local governments would like.
Phoenix isn’t going to run out of water. That’s completely absurd. 80% of the water usage is agriculture. It’s more likely that nobody is going to be living in Iowa in 20 years, or the average age will be 85.
 

sttom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
818
Well, perhaps they (California) could build desalination plants and use seawater, at least for domestic use. Of course, the expense is pretty high, and the water bills would me much higher than in non-arid states.

I had a former colleague who wend to grad school in Tucson in the 1980s; he said water bills out there were very high, on the order of what we would pay for electric bills back east. Thus, they were already starting to encourage people to rip out lawns and such. Piping desalinated water from the coast to Arizona might be possible, I guess, but the costs would be really high. Combined with the ridiculously high temperatures in the summer, I would imagine that the big Arizona metro areas will be less attractive as a place to live or develop businesses in the coming years.
One development I've seen with desalination or at least potential technology is to use the designs of a solar thermal power plants as a way to boil ocean water and desalinate that way. The Saudis have even put money behind it so it might become viable in the next few years. The problem here in California is our breed of environmentalist is quite a bit dumber than in most of the US from what I've heard others here say. They certainly wouldn't go for desalination even if it was from a massive solar plant. It's a moral hazard to them, but potential starving or dying in a forest fire is just something they can't fathom even though that is increasingly becoming a risk.
 

west point

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Why ship desalinization water to Arizona ? There is ways to shave the cost of shipping water to inland cities. Instead use the plants to supply water to coastal cities, Then the water saved directed to the inland cities. Less pumping water uphill. However inland cities would have to pay fully for the operation of the plants on the coast of quantities water used.
 

me_little_me

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Are there actually any serious plans for infrastructure projects that would actually make more water available?
I'm not sure but I got a call from Newsom asking me to donate a couple of bottles of water to his campaign. I put some tap water in a few excess gallon containers and mailed them to him. He won the recall so I'm sure it will continue.
 

cirdan

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Without digging to see if Phoenix is doing better than Las Vegas, your remark about Las Vegas not planning for the future is not borne out by reality. I recall from some home improvement TV show that the Las Vegas water authorities are paying people to remove lawns. This page, this page, and this page bear that out and describe various other measures being taken. Forbidding new lawns, requiring removal of existing grassy areas nobody walks on, and paying people to remove existing lawns don't sound like measures someone blowing off the problem would be taking.
personally I believe grass and lawns are important for the microclimate and also to make otherwise ugly areas look more friendly.

Rather than remove lawns I would encourage planting with stuff that needs less or even no added water. so less manicured lawns and more tufty prickly desert grass, which can look very pretty if done well.
 

neroden

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Feb 23, 2014
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Ithaca, NY
personally I believe grass and lawns are important for the microclimate and also to make otherwise ugly areas look more friendly.

Rather than remove lawns I would encourage planting with stuff that needs less or even no added water. so less manicured lawns and more tufty prickly desert grass, which can look very pretty if done well.
Xeriscaping with native Arizona plants is cool. :)
 
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