Friday, July 31, 2009

What industry can do for water...

I found an online article some time ago and saved it in my bookmarks. I knew I might need to look at it again then but wasn't sure why. Well, because I made this month of July an unofficial water worry month at the MOCO blog, I think sharing some of it now is appropriate.

This article is an in depth look at water issues and it is titled Aquifers and Rivers Are Running Dry: How Three Regions Are Coping. It is a great read and really does offer two sides to the story so please read it all... the goods and the bads.

I'm going to cut an paste quite a bit below. I offer no other comments other than keep and open mind as to why big business, big industry, and big development might be just THE sort of neighbors we want around these parts as we look to securing the future water needs for the community.

Below an excerpt from the article... Enjoy...

On the descent into Sky Harbor International Airport, Phoenix's endless grid of streets and tract homes is etched into the desert floor like the imprinted surface of a microchip. When the sunlight hits at the right angle, the canals that zigzag across the landscape light up like semiconductor traces surging with electricity.

And Phoenix is sprawling at a rate that seems to rival Moore's law. In the 1990s, the metro area was growing at the rate of an acre every three hours. The population is expected to nearly double in the next 20 years. But cities, unlike microchips, don't double in efficiency every 18 months. A 2007 government report stated that staggering growth in the American Southwest "will inevitably result in increasingly costly, controversial, and unavoidable trade-off choices." The issue: how to parcel out a dwindling water supply.

The city's chief water sources are the Salt River Project and the Central Arizona Project, two massive water systems that bookend a century-long effort to hydrate the region. The Salt River Project began in 1903 with the Roosevelt Dam, which reined in the flood-prone waterway. Today, the SRP is a vast network of reservoirs, hydroelectric dams, and channels. As for the Central Arizona Project, it's one of the largest and most expensive aqueducts in the US, completed in 1993 at a cost of $3.6 billion. The 336-mile CAP canal diverts 489 billion gallons a year from the Colorado River, irrigating more than 300,000 acres of farmland and slaking the thirst of Phoenix and Tucson.

The CAP isn't the only straw sucking at the Colorado. Seven states and dozens of Indian reservations, as well as Mexico, tap its flow. Development has sapped the river, a problem exacerbated by a drought called "perhaps the worst in 500 years" by US interior secretary Gale Norton. Lake Mead, an immense reservoir that dams the Colorado to supply most of Phoenix's water, has a 50-50 chance of running dry by 2021, according to a study by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Larry Dozier, the CAP's deputy general manager, calls this finding "absurd," claiming that studies show the reservoir won't disappear entirely, even in the worst case. However, the Scripps researchers counter that their calculations are conservative and warn that "the water shortage is likely to be more dire in reality."

Chandler, a city on the southeastern edge of Phoenix, epitomizes the regional dilemma. Founded in 1912 to accommodate farmers who ventured into the Sonoran Desert, Chandler supports a population that has tripled in the past 20 years to 250,000. On the outskirts of town, where the last remaining farms fade into the scrub, stand three colossal Intel semiconductor manufacturing plants: Fab 12, Fab 22, and the gleaming new Fab 32, which produces state-of-the-art chips on a floor area equivalent to 17 football fields. Intel is a key driver of the local economy. The company employs 10,000 people and has invested $9 billion in Chandler; its workers, on average, earn four times the Arizona median salary. Just one problem: The fabs are also by far the city's biggest consumer of water.

Chip fabrication is a thirsty process. The silicon wafers must be rinsed after each of the several dozen semiconductor layers is applied and etched. Consequently, the Intel campus has been designed to maximize every drop of the 2 million gallons it uses daily. Intel, wary of spilling its manufacturing secrets, bars journalists from entering the enormous silver and white monolith. Fortunately, the plant's circulatory system is visible from the outside. Len Drago, who is responsible for the facility's environmental profile, offers to show it to me. As we walk around the building's perimeter, he explains how water flows through the plant.

The tiniest imperfection can render a wafer useless, so incoming water cascades through a series of filters until its mineral content is a hundred-thousandth that of Colorado River water. The briny byproduct goes into a towering tank that looks like a Jules Verne moon rocket, which distills out the remaining water and pumps it back to the beginning of the system. The salty sludge goes to an evaporation pond. The purified water, meanwhile, is used to wash chips. The rinse water is treated and then sent to other parts of the campus: the air scrubbers that filter the plant's emissions, the massive cooling towers that keep workers from suffocating in the desert heat. Even the drought-resistant desert landscaping in the plant's parking lot is irrigated with wastewater.

But Intel doesn't reuse all of its wastewater. Every day, the company pumps 1.5 million gallons to a $19 million reverse-osmosis desalination plant it built for Chandler. This water, cleaned to drinking standards, is pumped 6 miles away and injected 600 feet down into a sandstone aquifer beneath the city. To date, Intel has banked more than 3 billion gallons. The facility recycles or stores 75 percent of the water it brings in, Drago says.

Intel isn't simply trying to be a good corporate citizen. Nor is it merely out to save money. Running a sustainable operation greases the regulatory wheels when the company wants to expand. Because Intel was well within the government's environmental thresholds for the site, Fab 32 didn't even require a new water-use permit. It hasn't always been this way, Drago admits. "Back in the early 1980s, we had three Superfund sites in California," he says. "It's a lot easier to do things the right way. Especially in the long term."

The long term, however, will be ruled by the twin realities of an exploding population and a hotter, drier climate. Dave Siegel, Chandler's water czar, describes how he plans to continue providing for the growing city (and his biggest customer, Intel). The government has legal rights to all the water it needs, he says, not only from the SRP and the CAP but from 27 wells drilled into the aquifer. "That's legal water, mind you," he says. "It's a different thing than physical water." Legal water refers to the complex array of agreements, treaties, and laws that govern water use in the American West — and federal and state allocations trump Chandler's municipal rights. As for physical water, that's the stuff coming out of the tap. All the legal water in the world isn't enough to wash a bandanna if there's no physical water available.

So Chandler came up with a clever plan. The city banks as much excess CAP water as it can, pumping it underground along with Intel's contribution. Thanks to this so-called recharge, the local aquifer is actually rising a few feet a year. Siegel maintains that even if the most apocalyptic predictions came true — say, the rivers collapse completely — Chandler would be able to soldier on. "If we never recharge another drop," he says, "we have enough water underneath us to last about 100 years." His projection includes future growth, including two more Intel fabs now on the drawing board.

End excerpt.

Last bit from me on this... I've heard a rumor many times that this particular company highlighted in the article considered at one point in time recharging the aquifers right here in Mohave County. If true, then the Mohave County centric political environment has been messed up much longer than I imagined.

Please support new industry prospects here in Mohave County.

Shake that booty...

Last day of the month of July means I have to get a few more water posts in before the strike of midnight.

Here is a news report from July of last year. Let's take a gander, gander takers...

CAP officials look for future Arizona water solutions
July 2008

U.S. Water News Online

TUCSON, Ariz. — The combined population of three of Arizona's most populous counties could double in 40 years and that has water experts dreaming up plans for the future.

Notice a difference in attitude... in this article it appears that smart folks are dreaming of Arizona's future. Meanwhile back here in Mohave County, other folks (water worry warts) offer nightmarish rhetoric about the future.

One scenario could have three desalination plants on line by 2048 to increase the supply of Central Arizona Project water flowing to Phoenix and Tucson.

One plant could be removing salt from seawater along the Gulf of California in the Mexican state of Sonora — and its booty is shared by Arizona, California, Nevada and Mexico — and two other plants may be treating salt-laden groundwater in the areas of Buckeye and Gila Bend.

Booty?? Who doesn't like booty?? No matter what happens to Mohave County it is most likely that it will still be located in Arizona... just one of the places that could enjoy the booty.

Booty... just love it.

Folks I'm practically convinced that desalination and pipelines are the future for this desert land we live in. The technology gets better offering more production at reduced costs with really only one lingering question mark, will there be enough energy?? Right now we here in Mohave County don't necessarily need the 'booty' spoken of in the article as we have plenty underneath the ground we walk on. There will come a day though when we will need to tap into the booty (not to be confused with the need to tap the booty... hey it's Friday night) that the ocean offers us. So adding energy producing infrastructure probably isn't all that bad of an idea, and the sooner the better.

More from the article...

The prospect of desalination has in recent years gained more currency among water leaders in Arizona and the West as they try to deal with the twin pressures of population growth and drought that have kept flows in the river below normal for seven of the past 10 years.

State and Mexican officials have started preliminary talks on possibly building a plant along the Gulf of California.

The CAP agency has hired a consultant to explore the feasibility of desalinating salt-laden groundwater inside Arizona.

Remember here that these folks are thinking 40 years out. No question about it in the larger metro areas of Arizona that there are major issues with the supply of water, certainly in the future -- but presently as well.

Meanwhile here in Mohave County it is believed that our main source of water for the communities not located along the Colorado River have similar water issues. At the present time they are mainly future issues, yet there is little to zero talk about securing future water needs nor discussion on implementing permanent infrastructure for the future and the 'unborn'.

More credence to the position that hiding in a shell won't offer the correct solution to the future problems for this community.

Support new industry for this area. It is currently knocking at the door.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Okay... so who saw the UFO in Kingman??

And I'm not talking about little green spacemen either here... good friend of MOCO, Ken, saw a UFO the other day. There may be an article about this in the paper soon. But I thought if you wanted to comment about what you saw please feel free to comment.

Ken... please feel free to explain what you saw in your own words. Hopefully others will chime as well.

I realize this post isn't water related, thus breaking a steady stream of posts on water issues, but I think this event is worthy discussion as well. I didn't see whatever it was... did you??

Investing in water's future...

I Googled 'the future of water' the other day to see the results. Mostly for news articles and of course I found many. I invite you to do the same thing if you are so inclined.

Wanted to share some bits from one particular article from 2008 found at titled Inventing Water's Future. It is a quick read but I'll copy and past a couple of parts...

In 2006, General Electric acquired Zenon Environmental, an advanced water-filtration maker, for nearly $700 million. Although GE's water business accounts for less than 2% of the behemoth's annual revenue, water figures prominently in the company's long-term growth strategy.

By effectively outsourcing innovation in clean technology to small start-ups, GE has convinced venture capitalists to invest in water technologies. As a result, venture capital firms like Toronto's XPV Capital have placed big bets on innovative water start-ups on the assumption that they will be future targets for industry giants like GE as scarcity, climate change and energy prices increase the value of water. The amount of money invested in water and wastewater technologies in the U.S. rose a whopping 436% between 2006 and 2007, according to the Cleantech Group, an environmental industry association.

My emphasis above. You see folks there is money being thrown around in the hopes of providing solutions for water issues. While the above does not specifically speak to the 'creation' of water (the problem we face with depleting aquifers), if there is a problem there likely is an investor that can help.

Another bit...

In processes where water use is hard to reduce, companies have sought to increase the yield produced for every unit of water consumed. For example Ecovation, a New York water-filtration start-up acquired by St. Paul, Minn.-based Ecolab (nyse: ECL - news - people ) in February for $210 million, develops energy-efficient water treatment systems for food and beverage companies.

In 2005, Ecovation designed a waste treatment facility for Breyers Yogurt that transforms wastewater into methane-based gas using a thin-film separation technology. That gas can then be burned to provide energy for the plant.

Sounds like killing a couple of birds with one investment to me. I haven't been around all that long, but I have to wonder if we were thinking of these things 50 years ago?? Therefore, what will solutions look like in another 50 years??

If we continue to try and scare away investment and opportunity (like some are doing their darndest to do around here), it won't look any different and all we'll have left are depleting aquifers.

One more from the web page where I got this article...

Veolia Water, a division of France's Veolia Environment, is the world's largest provider of water services in terms of revenue, which reached nearly $17 billion in 2007. Veolia recently won the first water services contract ever awarded to a private operator in Saudi Arabia. Veolia will build one of the world's largest desalination plants in Saudi Arabia, which will provide water to Jubail Industrial City and the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. The six-year contract has an estimated value of roughly $60 million and will eventually provide water to roughly 4.5 million people.

Just a guess here, but I bet the aquifers in Saudi Arabia are depleting too (if they even exist in the first place).

Well, well, well...

Click on the image for a larger view.

Now I don't know much about wells that produce water, but data on charts -- I fair a bit better. Believe it or not, this chart was offered by Loyd from his comment on his blog. According to that source this chart shows water level from a well located in the industrial corridor south of Golden Valley. The place where the 'wet' cooled gas fired power plant is located.

Just begs the now age old question... when will the water run dry??

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Just going with the flow...

Finally... finally there is some discussion and conversation, perhaps, starting to take place locally involving the very important subject of water and growth.

The Kingman Daily Loyd's dam finally broke after a few weeks of non blogging and offered up a very good post -- and I mean that with all sincerity -- on the important local subject. So of course I want to respond and hopefully continue a fountain conversation. We'll see.

Read the KDLoyd's post here.

The Mohave County water controversy continues to swirl. I think it is a very healthy exercise to get everything out on the table for all to take a good hard look at because the decisions of today are going to have a profound effect on everyone's future in this area -- especially the yet unborn.

And Loyd truly does offer up some things for the table that we'll get to, however I will point out some things along the way that perhaps are in varying forms of disagreement.

The most troubling aspect is that the pressure is on to make decisions before all the facts surrounding the upcoming water fights are even available. Specifically, I'm talking about the yet unfinished United States Geological Survey / Arizona Dept. of Water Resources (USGS/ADWR) Mohave County aquifer study that is still in the works. It may be well over a year before the final findings of that study are to be released.

Here I'll say to Loyd... it was about a month ago that you wrote in a comment at the site (paraphrasing here) that this USGS report would only be a 'best guess' practically admonishing what the report may eventually tell us. Many of us are eagerly awaiting the results of the findings as we all have an interest. Just a guess on my part here, the results will say there is water below us and our community is in no danger of not having ample supplies in the relative short term, say the next 50 years.

As for the distant future and the concern for the 'unborn', sure... big question marks. We'll stay tuned.

In the meantime, there is substantial evidence that screams caution and raises an adequate alarm that great prudence needs to be exercised in handing out permissions for industrial grade extractions of groundwater.

Yet Loyd never points us to any actual evidence, substantial or otherwise, to this fact. He will share a link to a report by the state of Arizona's water department that, if requested, merely promises to write legislative from back in 2006. This legislative action is just so darned important that it either must have already passed through and become law (so we need not worry even though the state has issued multiple water allocations in Mohave County since then) or... it is actually not all that important because whatever legislation ADWR had in mind hasn't been presented some three years later. I'll get to some other points on this in a bit.

Right now, there is little that prohibits anyone from poking a hole in his property and sucking out water for the enjoyment of that property. It is a fundamental right that goes with the property because there is little value to desert land without water -- a fact recognized by even the very first settlers to these lands. For decades it was the water rights that were sold because the land was deemed worthless.

Mmmmm... property rights. I love them.

Loyd then goes on to share his cherished chart that shows water level dropping some 60 feet in some 45 years in one well. I've linked to this chart multiple times and color me not impressed. We get it, the water in that particular well is dropping a little over a foot a year according to the chart.

This chart is certainly not indicative of the entire county or even the entire Hualapai Aquifer, only the water column that it measures. The indication is clear, however, that the area is being drawn on in excess of its recovery rate and has been since recording started. That leaves one conclusion very simple to arrive at -- the well will run dry in time.


But the next share from Loyd's blog is what I do appreciate... and why I want to see more conversation on the subject of water...

Could deeper wells solve the problem? It should be clear from the experience in the Phoenix area where over-drafting of the aquifer there has resulted in significant areas of subsidence causing the ground to settle. It is believed that the result is a compaction of the water bearing strata substantially reducing its ability to hold and retain water.

See... this is good stuff. Learned something new today and Loyd is responsible for that. However I have to wonder when the compaction leading to reduction in ability to hold water hypothesis becomes something more than a belief. I will say to this untrained scientific mind... it does sound certainly plausible though.

If a healthy aquifer is destroyed or damaged in that way, it might mean that the importation of water, either by pipeline or by rail could be the only recourse -- or the area will be abandoned in the long term.

But if we are to believe that the aquifers are already in a state of depletion (and I'm not questioning that belief), just what is this community doing about it?? There is only one inevitable outcome derived from depletion... but the question remains -- when??

I've never questioned the inevitability of running out of a needed resource... I mainly want to know when as in how soon?? Need a solution today?? Just how long do we have before something really needs to be implemented that secures a more permanent water supply??

I'll just go out on a limb and guess... not in my lifetime.

There is also an ADWR "Draft for Legislative Review" planning document in PDF format that refers to the 3 major aquifers, the Detrital Valley, the Hualapai Valley and the Sacramento Valley as being "Critical Groundwater Basins" on page 7. The document lists a wide range of problems that need to be addressed by the Arizona Legislature.

Strangely, I can't find the linked document on ADWR's website (the link comes from Loyd's website). No matter. Let's take a closer look at this document.


To create a stakeholder process that will identify a mechanism and necessary legislation to encourage and support local initiatives for planning, financing, developing and managing water supplies in critical groundwater basins.

You know, Loyd's a pretty funny guy. Read his rants against expanding the size of government sometime then check back as to why he wants the government to have even more control over our lives. Looks to me as if he is using this document only to make a case to 'manage' water supplies. From the very beginning I've been in favor of not only managing the supply but also developing (a bad word to many), planning, and financing water supplies... i.e. a solution for a more permanent water supply (even for the future and the 'unborn').

Go ahead and read the rest of the link... for all intents and purposes it is a document written by the head of the state water department offering to write legislation and nothing more.


1. Critical Water Resource Areas - Several non-AMA areas in Arizona have critical water resources problems that cannot be resolved under the current statutory authorities delegated to the state agencies, counties or other local governments.

And problems need solutions... it is very difficult to find solutions when hiding in a shell. See, water worry warts agree with me that there already exist problems but unlike me, they think the solution is to do nothing about it. Doesn't make sense to me either.

2. Water Management - The critical areas need different types and levels of water management to address the different water supply conditions, geography and water use patterns.


c. Maximum Management – To protect existing municipal water supplies and associated economies, some critical areas may need the ability to control and manage water supplies for all new water users. Water rights for existing users would need to be established so that vested uses would be protected from harm. If expensive water supplies are imported and recharged, protections may be needed to protect the banked water. If new development does not have sufficient water supplies or will deplete water supplies for existing users, requirements to use imported water may have to be adopted. Such areas will need to have extensive monitoring of water supplies and uses to provide the necessary information to plan for the sustainable supplies needed for growth and development.

Do we really need state legislation for any of the above?? I'm already on board with requiring some degree of imported water for large projects. Know who else is too?? The new solar power plant proposed in the Red Lake area. That's right, they are looking into 'importing' treated waste water to use to make those turbine thingys work.

3. Water Supply Development - All of these critical areas have insufficient water supplies to meet current and future water demands and to provide a stable economic environment for the future. The ability to develop new supplies of water is difficult for several reasons.

These should be good given the fact that some heavy water allocations were handed out to property owners in Mohave County after this document was produced. Again, this document doesn't deliver what Loyd is trying to tell us it is.

a. Funding limitations – water development projects are expensive, usually requiring long-pipelines, expensive pumping and treatment costs and the purchase of existing water rights.

You bet this sort of thing is expensive. But the aquifers are already in depletion so again, it is inevitable that these costs will come due some day. Probably after I'm long gone from this earth... but still. Just pass that off to the 'unborn' right??

b. Supply Limitations - the primary sustainable water supply for many areas is imported water from the Colorado River. New groundwater development projects in some locations may provide a supply of water for an interim period without severe impacts on the long-term availability of water resources or other environmental concerns.

Certainly back in 2006 the primary sustainable water supply would be the Colorado River... and it is likely that it would still be the most likely water supply from which to import from today. But what about in 10 years?? Or 50?? Or 100??

See, if mankind has the ability to import water today, surely they will find ways to import from other let's say more sustainable water supplies in the future. I just have more faith in humans than say Loyd does.

c. Competition for Supplies – the communities adjacent to the Colorado River and within the 3-County CAP area require water to meet growth and development needs. These communities and the critical groundwater areas of the state will be competing for the same water supplies to meet long-term growth needs. Those communities that have the organization and financing to obtain new water supplies may be more successful at obtaining new supplies.

I'll quibble with this one for a second. We have water that is needed for growth and development right now, what we'll need is the organization and financing to meet the needs of importing new water supplies. But it seems that certainly the water worry warts don't want any part of organizing and/or financing a secure and permanent supply. Where I differ is that growth will bring more stakeholders to the area with keen interest into developing a more secure and permanent supply of water.

d. Water rights and Environmental Impacts – the development of new water supplies may conflict with vested water rights, claims for federal or Indian reserved rights and surface water that supports environmental resources.

Easy solution, get the water from somewhere that doesn't have all these hang-ups. Last I heard, the oceans were going to rise because of global warming. We should do our part and recharge our vast aquifers with some of that ocean water... I'm kidding... sorta.

4. Limited Statutory Authority and Funding - Most local governments have limited authority and budgets to plan and develop water projects and water management structures to meet current and future needs.

I won't quibble with this one... at least not right now. Check back in 50 years though. Could change (hopefully).

The rest of the document goes on to address how best government might be involved to satisfy needed solutions in the future... but do you really want the state of Arizona to handle this?? This document is all about allowing the legislature solve whatever problems we may have here in Mohave County. I don't have nearly the faith that Loyd does in the government. Especially a government that at best has three elected representatives that are users of the water in the aquifers in Mohave County (only one at the moment).

Back at Loyd's blog...

The point I'm trying to make is that the Arizona Legislature must establish a workable water handling mechanism to insure that first users are not deprived enjoyment of their right to water at the expense of some vague or undefined use priority that to date has just ridden on the coat-tails of general property rights law.

Well I hope Loyd explains further on this one. I mean here he is asking for the government to insure that his water isn't deprived by some other property owner -- with rights of their own. So what's good for the goose isn't good for the gander??

No problem existed while this area was just largely ignored as a barren wasteland, but now that developers and industrialists have focused in on the resources available, the problem is going to mushroom like a nuclear explosion.

I guess I just missed out on Kingman's golden age. You know, the days of owning free enterprise print shops, barren wastelands, and crapping in outhouses. Great times I'm sure. Then came industrialists that produced toilets, indoor plumbing, etc. and it has all gone to shit ever since.

Again, there already is a problem that needs a solution. The aquifers are in depletion. The mushroom cloud is inevitable unless we find a solution. Loyd wants government intrusion, limiting property rights, and asks that we all hide in turtle shells.

So, the issues are complex and have very far-reaching ramifications. To minimize the importance or to stress jobs and economic progress as having some type of higher priority without a full and thorough knowledge of what we are dealing with is just an outright pillaging of resources at the expense of the future -- a method the human race has proven all too well as being the absolute masters.

I've never minimized the importance of searching for a solution for our future problems. It's just that I know without a doubt that shell hiding and leaving needed local solutions up to the State of Maricopa is folly. Instead I've come to know the reality of economic development and growth as a means to finding solutions. It will be incredibly tough to find financing for outhouses as they are a thing of the past.

I'll share some examples of private industries (you know, evil industrialist types) that have either done some already great things -- mainly for self preservation, or are in the midst of unveiling new technologies that will lead us to the solutions we'll eventually need anyway. I'll share those later on... it is still July so time remains for more water posts.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The possibilities are endless...

First off, I clearly admit that I know hardly a darn thing about such things as 'Biofuels'. I don't know if they are a good thing, a realistic thing, or what.

But I found this and think, and well wouldn't this be great...

A startup based in Cambridge, MA--Joule Biotechnologies--today revealed details of a process that it says can make 20,000 gallons of biofuel per acre per year. If this yield proves realistic, it could make it practical to replace all fossil fuels used for transportation with biofuels. The company also claims that the fuel can be sold for prices competitive with fossil fuels.

Yep, yep... talk is cheap. I see articles like this all the time. But I don't discount them... instead I hope that eventually in my lifetime stuff like this comes to fruition.

Again... not a scientist -- me.

Heres more...

The company plans to build a pilot-scale plant in the southwestern U.S. early next year, and it expects to produce ethanol on a commercial scale by the end of 2010. Large-scale demonstration of hydrocarbon-fuels production would follow in 2011.

So not to scare the bigeezus out of the water worry warts and other anti growth types around the Kingman area... the article does not actually utter the words; Arizona, Mohave County, or Kingman. So chill.

But here are some other words that appear that this start up says the project needs; land, energy from the sun, and water (all things found in Arizona, Mohave County, and Kingman).

Sure, water resources are a bit of a question mark but nothing that couldn't be overcome with a handy dandy pipeline and a few desalinization plants. And we are talking replacing the needs of all transportation fuels in THIS country with this technology.

So I make this public/private partnership offer. We have some 13,000,000 acre feet of groundwater to use at the moment. Plenty of sunshine, land, and a gas fired power plant (if that even creates the needed CO2). Come here and build your plant and prove your product. If it goes over all gang-busters and the like, the federal government agrees to pay for a pipeline and needed de-sal plants to furnish you... and the community in Mohave County with water forever.

See this was water related (it is still July).

Obviously after my disclaimer at the beginning of this post, I can't say that this is a possible solution (momma didn't raise no scientist). But it is still important to be thinking about possible solutions... the possibilities are endless.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Invoking Godwin's Law means you are losing...

I sorta made the subject of 'water' an unofficial theme in July and so with only a few days left in the month, why not another post about the ongoing discussion??

There has been a lot of response to an article posted on the site yesterday. View it here for yourself.

This morning I was forwarded an email that was originally written by the head water worry wart, I'll share some of it below...

Chilton's article...of course comes out in support of Albiasa (with only quotes from Albiasa propagandist and a comment that makes the citizenship look ridiculous) as well as Salem's glorification of the HVS project in Wednesdays Standard. This is simply business as usual when it comes to the manipulation of government officials and the paid of news media.......

Lets get stronger and finish this thing!!!!!!!!!!

So of course I must shine some light on what was said.

First off, the claim that the 'citizenship' looks ridiculous is too broad. While there were citizens at the meeting, they did not represent the entire community -- not even close. Of course though, the water worry warts have a very totalitarian outlook on things so it won't surprise anyone when this quote appeared from the article linked above...

Moments later, when several residents voiced concerns about not having known about the meeting until learning by word of mouth, Grunewald asserted that Albiasa had met the regulations for public notification.

"That doesn't mean it's right," said one audience member, an older man who went on to exemplify the meeting's air of distrust - "The Nazis met their regulations too."

This is why I will not be lumped in with the water worry warts that insist the 'citizenship' is against economic development. Surely these anti-growthers have heard the term 'Godwin's Law'. Breaking that somewhat humorous law simply means being on the losing side of the argument. Clearly this person was on the losing side of the argument (give him or her their ball, they want to go home).

Of course the charge of the head water worry wart was that this was the only quote attributed to those against the solar power projects. I can't say for certain why it was the only quote used, but I surmise that the following had something to do with it...

For their part, the Albiasa representatives could answer few specific questions, such as who the plant intends to sell its electricity to, how many local residents are likely to get jobs, or whether or not the plant will incorporate "dry" cooling technology, which would use substantially less water than the current plan calls for.

Grunewald and Alvarez admitted many of these questions simply could not be answered at the present time due to ongoing negotiations, as well as planning and engineering that is still very preliminary. They assured audience members that more details would become available as the process continues, and that the company would go through every step necessary to secure the proper zoning and permitting for the plant. At one point, Grunewald noted that if their studies conducted over the following year should show there is not enough water to sustain the plant, the plant would not be built.

To which that probably made most of what the water worry warts had to say at this public presentation of the proposed project moot.

Just goes to show that these folks don't really care about the 'water' in the first place. They don't want any new neighbors, they are against jobs and opportunities for the folks in the community that most need at least some promise of better days ahead. They talk plenty about the future but won't even offer a guess to when that future might become jeopardized by the lack of water. Is it 50 years?? Is it 100 years worth of water?? I've done one calculation based on current data that suggests if nothing changes, no new neighbors -- no new users of 'our' water -- leaves us over 6,000 years of water in the aquifers.

Longer showers and more sprinkler running for me, sounds like.

The water worry warts talk about greed and selfishness plenty too... I just wonder if they are looking in the mirror when they are doing so.

Sorry head water worry wart... the citizenship does not look ridiculous... but absolutely you and your cohorts do.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

See what the water worry warts say...

I decided to throw myself into a discussion at the site on this article. The article no longer appears on the Miner's site as of this moment because it has been bumped off the page due to the fact it came out last Friday. Thought I'd share a little of the 'friendly' banter.

First here is my entrance to the thread...

Posted: Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Article comment by: Todd Tarson

13 million acre feet of water in the aquifers according to the last USGS survey/report in 2005.

100 years worth of water for a population of over 300,000 people.

Currently there is plenty of water... and no jobs.

This entry was in response to some comments that I cut and pasted the other day for a blog post. Mainly just throwing out some facts as they appear in official looking reports concerning water availability, and my own conclusions about the current state of the economy as compared to the apparent abundance of water. Nothing personal against any of the anonymous commenter's.

So here is the first response, from a fellow Realtor (I think).

Posted: Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Article comment by: No name provided

[Deleted -- Read Terms of Use]. Believe it or not folks there are realtors out there that want only smart growth. The kind of growth that supports a bright future for Moohave County and not growth that only allows growth and profit to a small handfull of developers. When you look for a realtor look for the enlightned ones that know that our water supply is the only link to a real secure future and the sustainabilty of property values here in Kingman.
That's not good marketing. If I was an actual 'enlightned' Realtor, I'd include that in all of my communications online, including blog comments (I'd also spell it right).

Beyond that, if indeed the water underground is the only link to a real secure future here in 'Moohave' County then we must conclude that the future is not very bright. As you will see other commenter's have posted that the aquifers are in depletion as it is right now. Meaning that eventually ALL the water will be gone. When though?? That is an elusive answer to an obvious question. One that I have been asking for quite some time.

Oh and by the way for the record, I support profit and growth (otherwise known as opportunity) for everyone -- including a handful of developers.

Lastly for this one... how's being anti-growth working out for property values??

If you click on the link above you will see another post that I entered, but I'm not going to delve further into that one for this blog post. Below, my real fan club chimed in...

Posted: Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Article comment by: willie

Dont you justr love someone that is in Planning and Zoning, that cant read the abstract in the U.S.G.S. report it states that the Hualapai Aquifer is in depletion. It's right in the beginning. Before you pick and choose what you want to write please open your computer and go to the U.S.G.S. site and it clearly states the problems in the Aquifer's. Remember once the water is gone it is gone folks. Just read Jack's response and his correct figures. Just look at the 2006 report #10. Remember the County paid 100,000. of taxpayer's money to go towards this report. It almost reminds me that per Sun West Biofuels comment Biodiesel plants dont explode - anyone read the Biodiesel plant explosion in Chicago - I guess Sun West didnt either!
Actually, I can read an abstract just fine... I just haven't found one that says what 'willie' says it says... so far anyway. Here are a couple of abstracts I found...


Ground-water levels for water year 2006 and their change over time in Detrital, Hualapai, and Sacramento Valley Basins of northwestern Arizona were investigated to improve the understanding of current and past ground-water conditions in these basins. The potentiometric surface for ground water in the Basin-Fill aquifer of each basin is generally parallel to topography. Consequently, ground-water movement is generally from the mountain front toward the basin center and then along the basin axis toward the Colorado River or Lake Mead. Observed water levels in Detrital, Hualapai, and Sacramento Valley Basins have fluctuated during the period of historic water-level records (1943 through 2006). In Detrital Valley Basin, water levels in monitored areas have either remained the same, or have steadily increased as much as 3.5 feet since the 1980s. Similar steady conditions or water-level rises were observed for much of the northern and central parts of Hualapai Valley Basin. During the period of historic record, steady water-level declines as large as 60 feet were found in wells penetrating the Basin-Fill aquifer in areas near Kingman, northwest of Hackberry, and northeast of Dolan Springs within the Hualapai Valley Basin. Within the Sacramento Valley Basin, during the period of historic record, water-level declines as large as 55 feet were observed in wells penetrating the Basin-Fill aquifer in the Kingman and Golden Valley areas; whereas small, steady rises were observed in Yucca and in the Dutch Flat area.
Maybe you can find where it says what 'willie' says it says. The other abstract that I found on the USGS site is quite a bit longer so I won't cut and paste, but feel free to give it a look. I can't find anything about depletion of aquifers particular to Mohave County at the beginning of the report -- maybe you can. Color me not convinced, but please send me a link that backs up 'willie'. I'd be happy to take a look.

Honestly, I'm not questioning whether or not the aquifers are in depletion. From the report I linked to before, it clearly stated that 11,000 acre feet were being taken out of the aquifers (last reported in 2000) while the same report noted that the aquifer was recharging at 9,000 acre feet a year (last reported in 1986). Yep, sounds like a depletion to me. Assuming those figures are correct and remain steady, the aquifers will be out of water in 6,500 years (approximately). Do the math.

But like 'willie' says, when the water is gone, it is gone.

Next up...

Posted: Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Article comment by: Yep, there is plenty of water


How short sighted can you actually be???? Water is a FINITE resource and to be approached with conservation in mind not "Currently" there is plenty of water..." CURRENTLY is the key word. I guess you beleive that 100 years is ENOUGH? Ill bet your one of those uneducated people who beleive our government will step in and create water when it runs out!! Of course they will...they are doing such a great job at running our country into the ground current day. Im sure they will save our a--- when the water runs out...and it WILL! Maybe we need to start telling the world that Mohave County doesnt protect their own water supply....I wonder how many companies and buyers we will attract then!
I love the -- Mr. Tarson... Realtor. Like that is some kind of bad thing. It isn't.

I'll refer to this commenter as 'Yep', notice how 'Yep' immediately starts in the hostility. Pretty much gives the identity of this commenter away. 'Yep' assumes that I think 100 years worth of water is enough, well... it is for me. I don't think that I'll live to the age of 138. She then assumes I'm one of those uneducated people... and she is right. I'm not a hydrologist, nor do I have any other science degrees. Of course she too says that water WILL run out... but she won't say when. No water worry wart will offer even a guess. They simply are selfish people interested in keeping other people from using 'our' vast water resources.

Here is a serious question... does Mohave County (the government) have a water supply??

I'm not sure what to 'beleive' at this point. But that is why I continue to join the conversation and prolong the discussion. I've learned plenty from those that I seemingly disagree with. I even voted for a county supervisor candidate that no doubt 'Yep' voted for in the last election.

So yesterday I respond with...

Posted: Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Article comment by: Todd Tarson

@ willie @ yep...

Cool, a discussion, sorta.

Anyway kids, perhaps you can help me then. Since I'm so short sighted, uneducated, and illiterate... please inform me, and others, just when will the water dry up down there??


Of course it went unanswered.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The General Plan must be a polygamist...

I come to the conclusion referred to in the title of this post because it seems many locals are married to either the county General Plan or the Kingman GP (in many cases both).

Here is something that I'm seeing quite a bit of in comments on the local interwebz...

per the Mohave County General Plan, page 38 section 3.5 clearly states that when an Aquifer is in depletion all Power Plants are to be DRY COOLED.

Obviously the subject matter the above is referring to is regarding the proposed solar plant north of Kingman.

I'm going to stick with the General Plan stuff in this post, mainly, but I wanted to share some other writings noticed that are critical of economic development. I think they are entertaining.

I truly feel that this SOLAR PLANT should be a total DRY SOPAR PLANT without using any water whats so ever. If they need water, go down to the Colorado River & dry that up....

NIMBY alert.

To the deluded: What are you going to drink when the water's gone? Government can't mandate it, and electricity won't fix it.

When, I say when, WHEN will the water be gone?? I keep asking but no one on that side of the argument will even offer an answer... or a guess. Just an ignorant scare tactic.

We need to control the kind of new developement that comes into our county or we all will be living next to a steam turbine plant.

And/or wind turbines (remember that one??). Seen that scare tactic before and it is still very ignorant.

Those fighting for the best use of the county's water seem to be aired in a bad light, I strongly feel these people should be listened to. Water is gold, the county needs to treat it as so. At some point the county needs to start looking at water as THE only growth issue and stop thinking only about money that can be made today. With no water there will be no growth. The county needs to start thinking of the future with no water instead of only thinking of the present possible growth. It's about the BLUE not the GREEN right now. Without the BLUE there will be no green, no matter how you look at it.

Lot's of 'BLUE' under our feet, but no 'GREEN' in our wallets right now. Also the fighting for the best use of the county's water is a misnomer. The county does not own the water, however property owners are subject to acquiring a water allocation granted to them by the state. And in this particular case, the state has already granted the current property owner a much larger water allocation than what the solar plant intends to use. Not to mention the fact that the solar plant in question is currently exploring the idea of using effluent as its main water supply. Oh yes.

The developers have requested 4,000 acre feet per year. Do you honestly believe that these highly paid lobbyist tell you the TRUTH! Plllleeeeaaassseeeee.. they will (and do) tell you ANYTHING to manipulate you into ignoring the FACTS. [Deleted]! Thank GOD that the majority of this citizenship know the TRUTH and have reacted accordingly. If the BOS approves this project despite the facts before them there will be a recall. Citizens groups are lawyering up just like the big boys do and they should expect a hard and cruel counter attack. This community has had enough of the corruption and the lack of protection of our water supply by the elected elitist. Lets face it folks our tax dollars are being eaten up by the favoritism and idiotic decisions made by these power junkies! ITS TIME FOR THIS COMMUNITY TO KICK THESE LIARS OUT!

Like I said, high entertainment.

To use my scissors for just a second for this one... just what facts are before 'them'?? Does someone have an estimate to how much water is left and at what rate the all the water is used up... and if so... when?? It is a prevailing question that I have yet it goes completely unanswered.

I'd love to see these water worry warts 'lawyer' up like they say. I'm not sure how many lawyers will take this case on pro bono. And the folks that want to kick the liars out ought to be careful with statements like that, at the very least should spend a moment in front of the mirror. So far all I've seen is rhetoric from the anti-economic development types... and not very convincing.

Getting back to the Mohave County General Plan now it is time to cut and paste, first up from Chapter 1 'Introduction' item A 'Purpose'...

This General Plan provides a basis to guide decision-makers. It is a statement of community values, ideals and aspirations about the best management of the natural and built environments. In addition to defining the County's view of its future, the General Plan describes actions to take to achieve the desired future. The Plan uses text and diagrams to establish policies and programs to address the many issues facing the County. The Plan is thus a tool for managing community change to achieve the desired quality of life. The current document represents a revision of the original plan adopted in 1995 and has reaffirmed, and in some cases reassessed, the values, ideals and aspirations of the community.

Just like I thought, the GP is a guide... and not a governing document (like an ordinance or state statute). It is also a document that has been revised and otherwise changed on numerous occasions.

Further found in the same chapter but under item C 'Effects'...

Planning is an ever changing process -- not the adoption of a particular document. Rather, it is an ongoing process involving the actions by the County, the private sector, other public and quasi-public agencies, and the community-at-large. As conditions change, the County's Plan should be amended to take advantage of new opportunities and respond to new needs. Thus, the General Plan is not intended to be a static document; it is intended to be a dynamic guide to help citizens shape the County's future.

More of the same describing the fact that the GP is NOT a static document, it is intending to change as needs and conditions change.

Now moving on to chapter 2 'Vision of the Future'...

What should Mohave County be like in the future? Collectively, the following major planning concepts define a vision for Mohave County's future -- a future on which the goals of each individual Plan Elements are based. This ideal future is one that reflects economic growth and development, as well as a high quality of life for all residents. It is a future in which Mohave County retains its environmental quality and capitalizes on its wealth of natural, built and human resources.

Just how married are the water worry warts to the GP after reading something like the above I wonder?? They are after all using a document for one line that appears in the GP, yet a great deal of the document speaks to the above... i.e. economic development and quality of life.

Face it, my quality of life issue trumps their quality of life issue and I can prove it. Right now I can open the valve to my water basin and water flows freely... right now it is awfully tough to find economic opportunity in this area. The GP mentions water, but it also mentions economic opportunity quite a bit as you'll see below...

Promote Beneficial Economic Growth, Development and Renewal. Mohave County should strive to create a supportive climate for business in its governmental operations and reach its full economic potential without sacrificing the character of its communities and natural resources that attract this growth.

The water worry warts have been against economic growth and each and every issue, and extra so on any issue involving private property rights. It is the abundant availability of sunlight and water (natural resources) that is attracting a new economic growth opportunity.

But this next one may make the water worry warts feel all warm and fuzzy...

Water in Perpetuity. Mohave County’s economic growth and well being of its residents is directly linked to a long-term and stable water supply. The County must encourage growth that is respectful of its water resources.

A-HA!! They got a point on this one, right?? I imagine that this passage isn't as objective as the anti-economic development types wish it was. While I'd agree that our community should be respectful of its known water sources, respectful could have many definitions. Including using the vast (13 million acre feet) resources of water to help with economic growth and the eventual discovery of new water resources.

This next stuff comes from chapter 3 'Context for Planning' item A 'Introduction'...

This General Plan defines what Mohave County hopes to be in the year 2020.

Oh yes... hopes to be.

Sorta implies that the document is only good for another 10.5 years. Cutting through all the water worry warts rhetoric and it is very difficult to tell if they have proof that a solar power plant, and the rest of the current population, will use all the 13 million acre feet of water by then. Maybe they will have something substantiated at some point that leads to that conclusion, but I doubt it.

So now let's check out more of what the GP says about the subject of water, this comes from Chapter 5 'Resource Conservation' item 2 'Water Quantity and Quality'...

This section is based on Growing Smarter Plus legislation that requires counties with more than 125,000 persons to address: 1) currently available surface and subsurface water supplies as well as effluent quantities, and 2) analyzes how future growth will be adequately served by existing water sources and how new water sources will be obtained. Additional information about distribution systems is provided in the Public Infrastructure Element.

The quantity and quality of surface water and groundwater have a significant impact on the growth potential and quality of life in Mohave County. In addition to their valuable recreational and aesthetic contributions, water resources are essential for domestic use, irrigation and economic development. These resources must be protected to maintain the environmental and economic health of Mohave County.

Another reference to economic health. Further down under 'Key Water Issues'...

Water Availability. Information on the use and availability of water should be monitored. While there appears to be enough water to meet anticipated demands in the rapidly urbanizing parts of the County for the next 40 to 50 years, long term water planning throughout the County will require better information than is currently available. Development of a Countywide water budget that identifies water supplies and demands for identified groundwater basin subareas will enable the County to use its water resources most efficiently

Right here in the GP it states that there is enough water to meet the needs of the community for the next 40 to 50 years (a conservative estimate based on reports I've seen and blogged about), and also states that more information is needed for longer term planning... you know, more than 50 years out.

The following from 'Water Quantity and Quality Goals and Policies'...

Goal 3: To preserve the quantity and quality of water resources, in perpetuity, through out the County.

Fine that is the goal, but have you looked up the word 'perpetuity' lately?? Are we saying that the only water resource we'll ever have, for all eternity, will be from the three aquifers?? Hilarious.

Now for the policy statements...

Policy 3.1 Mohave County should cooperate with ADEQ, local water suppliers, and other agencies to maintain a water budget that inventories the quantity and quality of the County's water resources, identifies how those resources are being used, and
monitors commitments for future water use.

Policy 3.2 The County should support programs to monitor groundwater quality and well levels.

Policy 3.3 Mohave County should encourage the efficient use of water resources through educational efforts.

I'm surprised that policy 3.3 doesn't say that the county should encourage the efficient use of water resources by taking away every property owners property rights. That is exactly what the water worry warts and anti economic development types are hoping for. Good thing for them that the GP isn't a static document... perhaps they can request to make that a change in policy.

Policy 3.4 New water intensive uses such as golf courses and man-made lakes shall require the use of treated effluent where and when available.

But not required if treated effluent is not available?? Ambiguous.

Policy 3.5 Mohave County will only approve power plants using “dry cooling” technology when the aquifer is threatened by depletion or subsidence.

Ah yes... here it is again. Clearly stated, right?? But since when is a policy a law?? Just asking. I mean look again at policy 3.4... if treated effluent isn't available, does that preclude the opening of a new golf course?? Not definitive according to this documents policy. I'm only guessing here, but if a new golf course was planned in the county and the government decided to allow it, even without treated effluent, they wouldn't be breaking any laws or statutes would they?? They'd simply be defying policy. Policy that can be amended.

So if the county supervisors were to look at the solar project and see potential for new tax revenues they otherwise wouldn't get... you know to help pay for schools, roads, and other community services... they could break with the policy and not break any laws or statutes... right?? It wouldn't surprise me to see the elected leaders do that... especially when they have time on their side (according to the General Plan, i.e. 40 to 50 years worth of water being referenced).

In summary...

So what have we learned here?? Only that the General Plan is a document that was meant to use a a guide, but isn't to be used as a static plan... in other words it can be (and has been) changed. Especially in light of promoting economic development.

In regards to water there are some written policies, but nothing noted in the form of laws or statutes.

Plus we've learned that the water worry warts are most likely full of shit (pardon my French).

Makes me wonder why so many water worry warts seem to be so enamored with such a document when it offers them nothing that makes their argument with the exception of one policy... one policy that can be amended legally... or simply ignored in favor of the economic benefits that new opportunity brings.

Hey buddy, what are you doing with that wastewater??

Wastewater... nobody wants it stinking up the community, nor do they want it to seep back into the ground all unproductive like and threaten the few drops remaining in the aquifers.


Algae-to-Biofuels Wastewater Pilot Program to Begin in Arizona
Gilbert, Ariz., is partnering with PetroSun Biofuels to evaluate wastewater as a nutrient source for algae cultivation
July 2, 2009

PetroSun BioFuels and the Town of Gilbert, Ariz., have executed an agreement to commence an algae-to-biofuels wastewater pilot program at the Neely Wastewater Reclamation Facility.


"The Town of Gilbert has a stated interest in expanding the sources for renewable and sustainable energy for the benefit of its citizens," stated Gordon LeBlanc, Jr., PetroSun CEO. "This wastewater pilot program is an important step in the commercialization of the algae industry.”

When will our community show some leadership on this front??

Oldcastle Precast Announces Agreement With Algaewheel
Oldcastle will sell Algaewheel technology as part of its decentralized wastewater systems
July 10, 2009

Oldcastle Precast recently announced that it has signed an exclusive agreement with Indianapolis-based Algaewheel Technologies, LLC, to sell Algaewheel technology as part of its decentralized wastewater treatment systems in the U.S.

Under the terms of the agreement, Oldcastle will incorporate the unique and patented “green” algal growth process to effectively manage wastewater treatment in a sustainable manner. Oldcastle’s systems will be applicable for cluster housing, commercial, educational, institutional, and other applications where connecting to a central sanitary sewer is not possible or is too expensive.


Kingsland explained, “There are huge green benefits to this technology in that as algae grows through photosynthesis (solar energy usage), it produces oxygen and uses CO2. The carbon footprint of the systems is significantly smaller, and the resulting biomass is a renewable energy source.”

Just trying to help the water worry warts to think outside of the box... errr... I mean shell.

If you are worried about the smell of projects like this, check this one out...

Pima County, Ariz., Adopts New Technology to Monitor Odor
Tool senses odor like the human nose, alerts operators
June 22, 2009

The first permanent U.S. installation of a unique technology that can “smell” an odor problem before it occurs recently went on line in Tucson, Ariz., according to the technology provider, N.A. Water Systems, a Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies company.

OdoWatch is now operational at the Roger Road Wastewater Reclamation Facility, where six electronic noses (e-noses) calibrated to smell odors like the human nose are installed at the facility. The unit performs real-time air dispersion modeling to generate a color-coded plume indicating the level of odor on a map of the site.

The proactive tool for odor management is intended to improve community relations by eliminating odor complaints. It will serve as an early warning system that will enable the staff at the plant to make quick changes when they are needed.

The system quantifies odor, and if the level begins to approach the threshold that can be perceived as a nuisance by a human nose, an alert notifies operators that actions must be taken to mitigate the situation. OdoWatch can also be used to determine which odor source at a facility is causing the alert.

The things people think of and provide solutions for.

Getting to know groundwater resources...

Maybe water modeling isn't as interesting a subject as swim suit modeling, but still...

Water Modeling Tool Details Groundwater Availability in California
New hydrologic model provides insights into water supplies
July 10, 2009

A new, three-dimensional water modeling tool provides a detailed picture of how water flows below ground and how it relates to surface water in rivers and canals in California’s Central Valley.

The Central Valley Hydrologic Model, developed by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey, is available for use by water managers and other agencies. The model was designed to help resource agencies assess, understand and address the many issues affecting the joint use of surface and groundwater supplies, known as “conjunctive use” in the Central Valley.

“This new model not only details the current scarcity of groundwater, but also provides a scientific tool to help water managers remedy the situation in the future,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. “Science can be invaluable in helping to provide solutions.”

Read the whole thing.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Now a short interlude...

Taking a quick break from posts discussing 'our' water to bring you the latest on a proposed interchange (on life support) that would be located here in Kingman.

City Council will address the subject tonight at their meeting. Here's some information about what is on the agenda from this article taken from the site...

Council will consider a list of nine recommendations from the Arizona Department of Transportation designed to reduce the cost of an Interstate 40 traffic interchange at Rattlesnake Wash. An independent team of ADOT "value analyzers," who are called in to look for savings on any project estimated to cost over $10 million, drew up the list of recommendations.

The interchange is anticipated to cost approximately $38.4 million, with ADOT intending to finance 70 percent of that cost, though the agency made drastic cuts to its level of anticipated funding in its most recent five-year outlook, dropping the anticipated spending from $18 million to just $5 million, and pushing the funding from fiscal year 2013 to FY2014.

First off the math seems a bit fuzzy. Also not long ago the estimated cost for the project was $36 million dollars so the cost has gone up, makes me wonder what the actual cost will look like come fiscal year 2014. The longer the project is delayed, the more it will cost.

Getting back to the math for a second. At one point trumpets were blaring that the state (ADOT) was picking up 70% of the cost for the proposed project... and $18 million does not equal 70%. Alas that doesn't really matter now that ADOT has rescinded the kind offer down to $5 million bucks according to the above article.

In the end this means if this community wants this project, this community will have to pay for this project with money up front -- at least will have secured guaranteed money up front in any case (in the form of bonds or increased taxes). This also means that this community takes on all of the risk for the infrastructure, minus the reduced ADOT funding.

Of course the community could still agree to sell 168 acres of land sorta near that proposed interchange to help defray the risk and cost... but thats talk for another time.


The analysts' list of recommendations proffers more than $4 million in cost-cutting measures for the interchange, including reducing the number of lanes on the proposed Mohave Drive overpass, replacing the Rattlesnake Wash box culvert with a bridge, and cutting the number of lanes for Mohave Drive itself, from I-40 to Airway Avenue and from Airway Avenue to Industrial Boulevard.

Council members will consider which, if any, of the recommendations to adopt.

Maybe the project doesn't need the extra lanes for this infrastructure whenever it gets off the ground... but I'll guess at some point the community will need to improve the lanes for traffic (or else why the extra lanes in the original proposal??). Guess who'll pay for that... at what will be an even higher cost than originally proposed most likely??

Sounds most like the 'value analyzers' are just looking for ways to help the state avoid serving a bigger piece of a once promised pie to the folks here in Kingman.

I'd live-blog this meeting, but I have a ball game tonight. If anyone else wants to update what happens on this issue tonight at the meeting, feel free to do so in the comments... or write something up and email me and I'll post it in the morning.

There is also an item on the agenda about the proposed Interstate 11 deal. Link here for more info.

And just how hard did we fight??

You know folks, there's plenty of talk locally about the dire straights of 'our' water resources in this area. Have you cut back on watering your lawn?? (I haven't but I just wanted to see how much you have)

Face it, if you have fallen for the high pitched rhetoric you should be up in arms by the lack of effort the water worry warts have offered to bring much needed help to protect and/or develop water resources. The water worry warts have lobbied against economic development, but didn't bother to lobby the federal government or state government to spend at least some of The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act here locally.

This lack of effort, or even caring in the slightest, only furthers my speculation that the water worry warts have little to no concern about 'our' water resources here in Mohave County.

Sure, some of the water worry warts are probably against huge federal spending programs in the same manner that I am, which is why I didn't lobby for any funds. But then again, I don't think there is an impending threat to 'our' water supply. Judging by their actions, they don't either.

Meanwhile in other parts of the country... other parts that don't take too kindly to federal dollars either...

Texas Awarded $160 Million in Recovery Act Funds for Water Projects
Funds will go to the state’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program
July 13, 2009

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded over $160 million to the Texas Water Development Board. This new infusion of money provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will help the state and local governments finance many of the overdue improvements to water projects that are essential to protecting public health and the environment across the state.

Investing in the economy and the environment is a win-win,” said EPA Acting Regional Administrator Lawrence E. Starfield. “These funds will not only help our economic recovery, but they will help provide safe, clean drinking water for communities throughout Texas.”

The Recovery Act funds will go to the state's Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program. The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program provides low-interest loans for drinking water systems to finance infrastructure improvements. The program also emphasizes providing funds to small and disadvantaged communities and to programs that encourage pollution prevention as a tool for ensuring safe drinking water. An unprecedented $2 billion dollars will be awarded to fund drinking water infrastructure projects across the country under the Recovery Act in the form of low-interest loans, principal forgiveness and grants. At least 20% of the funds provided under the Recovery Act are to be used for green infrastructure, water and energy efficiency improvements and other environmentally innovative projects.

Aid to protect 'our' water is available, but no one speaks on behalf of the local federal tax paying community. The water availability thingy must not be all that much of a big deal.

A refreshing outlook...

In keeping with a now developed theme for posts in July, here is another water and development related article from late last week. This time the news comes from Laughlin, Nevada... just over the hill from Kingman. (a hat tip to reader Ken for this article)

Board rejects proposed fee hike for developers


Friday, July 17, 2009 12:43 AM CDT

LAUGHLIN - A proposal by the Las Vegas Valley Water District to jump the total fees to almost $7,000 for a developer to hook up one home in Laughlin sank Tuesday at the Laughlin Town Advisory Board meeting.

Sadly, I get the feeling that this sort of proposal wouldn't meet the same demise in the land of the water worry warts, otherwise known as Kingman.


Although there was no vote on the prices that are included in a total revision of the service rules for the Big Bend Water District, which the LVVWD operates, Bronson Mack told the advisory board - the first time since its term began Jan. 13 that it has had all five members present - there was no problem and he would return with other proposals.

Later he told News West that it costs a developer in urban Las Vegas $6,310 to install the same size, 5/8-inch meter.

"But we don't want to be like Vegas", I can just hear the water worry warts saying. Too bad they don't know what they are saying half the time.

And hmm... just why isn't the cost in Kingman as high as it is in Vegas to connect to water sources?? Maybe because Vegas doesn't have nearly as much access to water as we have here in Kingman.

During the 75-minute discussion, Board Member Mike Bekoff received loud applause after quoting four water providers in Mohave County - Laughlin's direct competition for development - that showed the most expensive, the city of Kingman, assessed a fee of $2,690 if the connection is outside the city limits and $2,554 if inside the corporate boundary, for a 5/8-inch meter.

Loud applause for pointing out that the Laughlin community has competition for new development?? And Kingman is on that list of competitors?? Still?? Who knew??

Oh, and here may be just part of the reason the local developers and builders here in Kingman think they are getting ripped off by the 'high' prices to connect to water. See the other competitors prices...

He said the Arizona American Water Company in Bullhead City charged a total of $575 for a 3/4-inch meter, the Bermuda Water Company in Fort Mohave $185 and Lake Havasu City $1,725 for a 3/4-inch meter.

The folks in Laughlin, especially the town advisory board... i.e. leaders, get it. It is tough to compete for new tax revenue dollars when competing interests for the same dollars offer lower costs.

It is easy folks, use the water to improve the economy. In a thriving economy folks with new technologies and know how will help find solutions to distant problems such as water availability.

It is obvious that selfish local vocal interests can't be bothered to secure a permanent supply of life giving water.

Friday, July 17, 2009

water... its whats for dinner

Once again... the toilet did its thing and the shower... yes the shower was nice. Hopefully there will be a repeat tomorrow.

Continuing on about the future of water related stuff. Here's a couple of more articles worth sharing.

Siemens Predicts Growth in Global Water Treatment Demand
Fastest growth predicted for Asian market
June 25, 2009

According to a senior manager at Siemens AG, global demand for water treatment services may grow 6% in 2010, as Asia is expected to build infrastructure to meet increased use of clean water from cities and industries, Bloomberg reported.

I'm guessing that in that part of Asia they don't have a ratio of 50,000 people with access to 13 million acre feet of water. No wonder they are in a hurry to find solutions including building needed infrastructure to reuse and therefore conserve more water. That infrastructure deal may even put a few souls to work. Lucky them.

Fastest demand growth in Asia demand will be for the $38 billion water treatment market, Wieland Simon, a Siemens spokesman, told Bloomberg. Asian growth rates may reach 10% next year, he said.

Growth rate at 10%... dang that place will be like Vegas or LA. Who needs that??

Singapore’s Changi Water Reclamation Plant opened June 23. It is the largest plant in Southeast Asia, capable of treating 800,000 cu meters of used water a day, enough to fill 320 Olympic-sized swimming pools. The plant will treat more than half of Singapore’s used water.

Population of Singapore is just short of 5 million people.

So that is how one part of the world is dealing with reclaimed water to save on sources. What about those that are looking for additional sources??

Water Scarcity Expected to Boost the Desalination Market
Focus on desalination especially highlighted in the Mediterranean region
July 9, 2009

Demand for fresh water is increasing around the world, especially in regions with rapidly growing populations and badly affected by long drought seasons.

Sounds familiar.

Water is only going to become scarcer and many governments are looking at desalination and investing in this technology to supply water to their populations. These factors are driving the desalination market...

Many governments include our own state of Arizona.

From here...

"Desalinated ocean water is the future sustainable source," said Herb Guenther, director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources. "It's only logical that eventually we'll migrate toward it. We don't need interim supplies now. We need a permanent supply."

I can only hope that Mr. Guenther is including us folks up here in Mohave County for that permanent supply.

I may have more to share from that article in future days. But for now I'll get back to the other one...

Frost & Sullivan Analyst Nuno Oscar Branco, who has been researching the market and conducting extensive interviews with market participants, said, “Spain is the largest desalination market in the Mediterranean region, but countries such as Algeria, Morocco or Libya, to name just a few, have joined the desalination bandwagon and are investing heavily on this source of fresh drinking water.”

Spain built its first desalination plant in 1965 and was one of the first countries in the Mediterranean region to consider desalination as a viable solution to solve water shortage issues in large urban areas. “Spain is close to reaching the peak of its desalination programme and is on the forefront of the desalination markets, leading the way in employing new technologies and plant design,” said Branco.

Leading the way to what, you ask??

Spurred by the PROGRAMA A.G.U.A., Spain has an estimated investment plan of about $5.5 billion for the period 2004 to 2015 in desalinization treatment plants.

At a time when the construction market is in trouble, investments by the Spanish Government in the water infrastructure is proving to be a good opportunity for EPC companies, construction companies, project engineering firms and technology providers.

Oh... more jobs and opportunity.

“The Spanish desalination market still offers opportunities for local and international companies that have expertise especially in key areas of energy efficiency as well as process and operation optimization,” according to Branco. Desalination is looking at the opportunity of going green through renewable energy options. There are technologies already available that would use wind or offshore solar power units as an energy source for desalination.

Well now.

The presence of Spanish companies is also very strong in other geographical markets: “Albeit the desalination market in Spain is at its peak,” Branco concluded, “Spanish companies have developed strong know-how in the construction and operation of large desalinization plants and are winning important contracts in Algeria, India and Australia.”

Drivers for investment in water desalination plants will continue to remain strong in the Mediterranean countries for the next decades.

Someone's got to lead.

Of course improvements of these sorts will lead to increased costs for the users. But hey, if more people are getting employed by these technologies and therefore improving the economy, it all washes out at the very least.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

More water stuff...

First let me say, yes the toilet flushed and the shower worked perfectly this morning. But now once again the apprehension is back... will there be water tomorrow?? Stay tuned.

I freely admit that I know zilch about water related issues such as drought, delivery, irrigation, supply, waste, and on and on. What I do know for the most part is that when I'm fishing, I find the fish are swimming in the body of water that I'm located at and often the fish aren't biting.

Luckily for me though Al Gore invented the Internwebz and some nerds came up with Google. I do want to know more about water related issues that can likely have an impact on our quality of life here in Kingman and Mohave County.

At this moment there is a chattering class of local folks that are against economic growth and are using water availability as the main point of argument. So far they have offered what can be described as scare tactic rhetoric to make their points, yet no one has questioned the rhetoric in a public forum.

Look, it is obvious that we live in a desert and if it wasn't for the ground water in the area, nobody would be living here (there are no other means of delivering water from riparian sources in existence at the moment). And from all reports and other Internet sources found so far, there is a finite supply of the ground water around here. That source must be respected, no doubt.

There are other communities in this desert state known as Arizona that face uncertainties for water supply. As I run into online articles and reports, I'm finding that solutions have been sought in these other communities... and efforts continue to bring even more water resources to those populations.

Below I'm going to share a couple of articles pertaining to some of the solutions sought. The first article is from a couple of years ago... pay attention to how the solution was formed...

American Water Takes Steps to Address the Needs of Arizona's Growing Population
February 19, 2007

American Water, the largest water services provider in North America, is addressing the needs of Arizona's growing population through an environmentally-conscious project designed to provide reliable drinking water, all while meeting existing and foreseeable future regulations and responding to regional growth. The Lake Pleasant Water Treatment Plant, the result of a successful public-private partnership between American Water and the city of Phoenix, is expected to begin operations this spring upon completion of the first phase of a four-phase project.

Gee, I know I've heard of these public/private partnership deals before.

The largest design-build-operate (DBO) facility of its kind in North America, the Lake Pleasant Water Treatment Plant has helped the city of Phoenix earn accolades as the best-managed city in the country.

Hmm... design-build... heard of that one too. In any case, accolades are nice but I bet the reliable drinking water is a better benefit.

Partnerships between municipalities and the private sector are becoming increasingly effective strategies for addressing the critical challenges of supply and demand,” said Don Correll, president and CEO of American Water. “The Lake Pleasant Water Treatment Plant is a prime example of a public-private partnership that is working to solve the complex environmental issues facing municipalities today.”

Again with the public/private partnerships leading to solutions. Interesting.

American Water was awarded the $336 million DBO contract in August 2003 to serve as the prime contractor and to additionally manage and operate the facilities for the first 15 years. Construction of the 80 mgd plant, one that will ultimately service 400,000 households, began in the summer of 2004.

The private sector coming through again, I like it.

Now for something a little different from a more recent article, yet notice some similarities to local news...

Camp Pendleton Unveils Wastewater Reuse System
Marine base’s new facilities will provide 1,700 acre-feet of treated wastewater per year
July 1, 2009

Officials at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in Southern California recently dedicated an upgraded water treatment system, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The system employs recycled water to decrease the amount of fresh water used on the base and the amount of gray water pumped into the Pacific Ocean.

"We're going to continue to march ahead: This is the first step," said Marine Col. Gary Storey.

And this first step will be taken as well by any new large scale development in our area. In fact the water worry warts were against a proposed master planned development that would have instituted very similar systems to help conserve water.

As part of the $48.8-million upgrade, treated wastewater will be used on landscaping, horse pastures and the base golf course, the newspaper reported. In the future, recycled water may be used for carwashes and toilet facilities in enlisted quarters.

And in the future after that it is likely that wastewater will be totally recycled into what we call fresh water. Astronauts are already drinking 'fresh' water from resources found from the waste in their space toilets.

The base has been under court order to improve its treatment facilities, which date back to the 1940s.

Advantage private enterprise.

The base uses 6,000 to 7,000 acre-feet of water each year, most of it from wells and the San Luis Rey River.

The new facilities can provide 1,700 acre-feet per year of treated wastewater.

Particularly here is the similarity that I talked about earlier. A representative from one of the proposed solar plants has signed a letter of intent with the City of Kingman to investigate the costs of using treated wastewater made right here in Kingman for purposes of power generation. If the findings offer a real possibility of use of the wastewater, the solar energy plant wouldn't necessarily be using 'all' of 'our' water leading to whatever 'devastating' effects the water worry warts are blathering about today.

And actually it isn't 'our' water anyway. 'We' don't own the land where the proposed solar power plant will be located. But the group hoping to put up the plant are at least making nice gestures to be a good neighbor... to bad that many fellow neighbors won't return the gesture.

Again the rights of private property owners in Mohave County are in far more jeopardy than the 13 million acre feet of water under our feet.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Possible solutions to protect 'our' water

Early this morning I'm lounging in my bed and rubbing the sleep from my eyes and a feeling of apprehension fills my body. As I look towards the bathroom on my way to answer nature's early morning call I can't help but wonder if all the water in Mohave County was used up overnight. I'm confident that the water chamber will flush... but the worry is will the reservoir fill back up.

The good news is that the chamber filled up just like it always has. Better still was the response when I opened the valve that allows for the flow of water to the shower head. One of my simple pleasures in life is showering in my custom shower area that includes a rain shower head styled fixture. Kinda looks like this...

So needless to say the day started off well, all the water I needed I used.

But tomorrow is another day and as for the apprehensive feelings about the morning question of 'will there or won't there be water' in the plumbing system in my house... not sure if that will ever go away.

You see folks, the water worry warts have made their points... they have the upper hand in the debate on the extreme scarcity of water remaining in the underground aquifers. I mean come on... you've seen the one well chart and read all the rhetoric. Very convincing. Any day now, no more water.

So now what?? Well I think we use our heads to come up with possible solutions that will no doubt protect 'our' water sources so that I can continue to take showers underneath my fancy rain shower head and hopefully reduce the early morning apprehensions about said water. I've decided to join forces, sort of, with the water extremists... err... I mean our neighbors so that we can secure water for our own ego-centric reasons.

Off the top of my head, here's a few ideas that I'll throw out there that should lead to the protection of water supplies in this area for centuries to come.

First up... a government mandated moratorium on new construction projects that include plumbing systems for water. Granted that the plumbing contractors in this area won't be happy about it, but anyone in the outdoor shed industry might see a boost in sales. One washes out the other.

Beyond the obvious affect this would have on our effort to save water, some 13 million acre feet of it under our collective feet in Mohave County, this moratorium would absolutely kill the construction market locally... if it isn't already dead in the first place. Any tradesman would have to find a job building sheds or relocate out of the area. I think most would do the latter and therefore less neighbors using water (more showers under my rain shower head for me!!). Other jobs and opportunity would further dry up causing more to either enter the shed business or move away... leaving behind more glorious water for me to use as I see fit.

I'm sorry if this sounds extreme, but look at the water chart offered as empirical evidence that explosive growth caused a deep decline of the water level in that well over the last forty some years. Most of that depletion can be directly linked to new construction. Only another 400 plus feet of water is left in that well. Could run dry any day now.

Again, just an idea off the top of my head. Maybe this idea starts a rally, we'll see.

Well, if the moratorium idea is too much a heavy handed government kind of thing we could try using some free market solutions.

For instance...

Fellow water extremists... err... I mean friendly neighbors, in an effort to protect 'our' water resources -- make that our precious water resources... we could band together -- pool our money -- and buy up all that property that is currently listed for sale. Think about it people... it is a buyers market right now.

Once we bought out all of the available property we can be assured that no other human will have access to the precious and therefore there will be more for us to use in our fancy showers and such. How will you use the 13 million acre feet??

Of course this plan would require tons of capital, up front, but isn't protecting 'our' precious water worth it?? Come on... reach deep into your bank account... do it for 'our' water.

Again, ideas off the top of my head... feel free to join in the brainstorm. Let's collaborate.

I've heard it said that in Arizona the general factors that lead to population growth are; cheap land, cheap energy, and cheap water.

Piggy-backing on my previous idea, land is getting cheaper by the month (according to the market indicators) so that could lead to more people moving here. And since it is unlikely that us few, but proud, protectors of 'our' water supply could actually buy up all the available property in the county -- maybe we look to the cost of water.

My water utility bill last month showed that the portion of the bill for the water I used (for showers and running through my sprinklers -- another guilty pleasure) was $29. Look, I may be a working Realtor in a tough market thats been reduced to home cooked meals with the main ingredient consisting of Top Ramen noodles, but I can still afford a measly $29 for the water I use.

With 'our' water resource being as extremely scarce as it is, there is no excuse for this cheap and rather inexpensive water bill... is there?? We live in a desert for crying out loud. Come on... aren't we sincere in protecting the precious?? Collectively we may not be able to buy all the available property but we can afford to double our water bill, can't we?? The 'our' water should be at the top of the most expensive water list.

Since the City of Kingman is the water utility provider, I think City Council might go for this idea as it would surely create more revenue needed for governmental services. It is at least as good an idea to bring in an increase of revenue flow as the 'Shop Here!' program currently in existence.

Solutions people, solutions. Raising the cost of the water could kill two birds with one stone... increase city revenues and perhaps keep people from relocating to the area. People will see that we have cheap land... but not cheap water. They'll simply go somewhere else to start a business, offer opportunity, be a friendly neighbor... or some other water wasting endeavor.

Earlier I mentioned that I was 'sort of' joining forces with the water worry warts. Looking at my off the top of my head ideas I realize that there are real costs associated with said ideas. To this point, I haven't heard a water worry wart offer to increase the total cost on themselves to save the precious 'our' water. It's doubtful that the true, honest to goodness, water worry wart types would want to incur increased burdens to save the precious so in essence they would not welcome me into their movement. Not with these ideas.

You see, while they themselves don't want to carry any additional burdens, they seem all too happy to burden anyone else that may want to use 'our' water. That is nice work if you can get it, but truthfully the least burdensome solutions to potential problems with water supply reside in growth. That's right, more people being drawn to the area will create more opportunity to protect the water, especially commercial and industrial interests. Those that make investments into the area will also invest in improving potential solutions as the real need arises. This helps to offset the additional burdens of the citizens that use water.

There's been talk in recent years of building a pipeline and multiple desalinization plants to supply the Phoenix and Tuscon areas of Arizona. Read this article here for more information and notice that they are talking about 40 years into the future for these sorts of solutions. The main advantage they have down there is a better acceptance for growth and that means many more people will be contributing to the costs associated with bringing in precious water. I'm assuming that Arizona will still be mostly a desert in 40 years and the Phoenix and Tucson area will certainly need more water to serve the population as time goes on. So at least some are looking towards solutions right now.

We are no different here in Mohave County... we need solutions. First we need to set aside the scare tactics being used to get the fine folks all riled up about whether or not they'll be able to shower in the morning. I've shared plenty of data in recent posts and all of it says we do have time on our side... as long as we start looking for real solutions to the long term potential problems. It might be as simple as our own pipeline and de-sal plant in 50 years from now to replenish the aquifers. The cost may sound really high right now... but if other states and/or communities begin to utilize de-sal plants and run pipelines, I'll bet that by the time we really need one of our own the cost factor would be reduced a great deal in future dollar terms. Not to mention what other technology breakthroughs that may be in the offing even in the nearer future eroding costs further.

Make no mistake though, there will be costs and the folks here will pay those costs -- however many folks are left. We can either share the burden with future generations (if we really care) or we could leave it up to them to create their own solutions.

If the community could adapt a solutions oriented approach, instead of an extreme protectionist approach, then we could all work towards delivering the needed resource of water for many generations to come... instead of just thinking about our own selfish needs.

(trust me, it beats a photo me in my shower)