Friday, March 21, 2014

Geo 730: March 21, Day 445: Wanton Water Waste

We had actually started August 19, 2011, the most recent sequence, out of Klamath Falls, Oregon. It was a couple hours' drive to Lakeview, which partially explains why the end of the day got clipped so badly. I had hoped to spend the previous night in Lakeview. But driving out of K-falls, I was aghast at all the water going into the air. The Klamath Basin proper gets limited precipitation, though more than drier areas farther east, but quite a bit of runoff from (especially, but not only) winter snowpacks in the southern Cascades. That water serves many needs, from residential (trivial in the grand scheme), industrial (I suspect likewise, in this region), agricultural (enormous), and last but not least, providing enough flow in the Klamath River to support its rich native fish populations, especially salmon. The US has (suppposedly) binding treaties with the Klamath Indians committing to supply enough water to support healthy salmon runs.

To realize just how much of that water is spewed into the rapidly warming mid-morning air was a bit of a shock. The realization that most of it was to irrigate fodder for cattle, which themselves consumes vast quantities of water, was almost angering.

Photo unmodified. August 19, 2011. FlashEarth Location (approximate).

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