Lake Powell Water Levels as a Proxy for Western Snowfall

In Debunking National Wildlife Federation Claims – Part 2 some commenters claimed that the snow data cited from WRI “was not good enough”. OK then, on to a bigger catchment. Steve Goddard replies in this brief essay.

File:Lake Powell Above Wahweap Marina.jpg

From Wikimedia: Lake Powell from above Wahweap Marina. July 2004, by Dave Jenkins

Lake Powell (Arizona and Utah) provides a good proxy for western slope snowfall, because much of the snow in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Northwestern New Mexico drains into the lake via the Colorado, Green and San Juan Rivers.  The lake currently contains more than 4.5 trillion gallons of water and is 490 feet deep at the dam.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Greenutrivermap.png

Between 2000 and 2005, drought conditions (combined with greatly increased water usage in Arizona, California, Nevada and Colorado) caused Lake Powell levels to drop nearly 120 feet. This prompted a considerable consensus of global warming hysteria.

Every scientific study confirms that global warming will cause the amount of water in the Colorado River to decline

http://www.ucpress.edu/blog/?p=151

But a strange thing happened in 2006 – the lake level stopped declining and instead started increasing rapidly.  As you can see in the table below from lakepowell.water-data.com, since 2005 the lake elevation has increased by more than 60 feet above the 2005 low of 3562 ft.  As of January 29, at 3622 ft. the lake is within three feet of the January 29 average of 3625 feet elevation.  The volume of water in the lake has increased by 65% in the last five years to 4.5 trillion gallons. (At movie theater prices for bottled water, that could almost erase the US National Debt.)

DATE MEASURED
ELEVATION
CONTENT
INFLOW
OUTFLOW
HIGH TEMP
LOW TEMP
WATER TEMP
Wed       Jan 29, 1964
3414.40
1108997
4979.00
1140.00
51.0
24.0
--
Fri       Jan 29, 1965
3491.52
4198819
10445.00
9730.00
54.0
32.0
--
Sat       Jan 29, 1966
3535.41
6797291
8500.00
11800.00
46.0
22.0
--
Sun       Jan 29, 1967
3517.50
5641536
7591.00
6570.00
53.0
29.0
--
Mon       Jan 29, 1968
3525.19
6108008
6872.00
8700.00
47.0
31.0
--
Wed       Jan 29, 1969
3540.30
7097730
15583.00
13700.00
49.0
32.0
--
Thu       Jan 29, 1970
3569.60
9303379
8521.00
10500.00
43.0
23.0
--
Fri       Jan 29, 1971
3600.37
12052938
12221.00
3920.00
58.0
29.0
--
Sat       Jan 29, 1972
3608.01
12794734
12475.00
11800.00
51.0
34.0
--
Mon       Jan 29, 1973
3601.37
12112452
10572.00
20900.00
37.0
23.0
--
Tue       Jan 29, 1974
3647.08
17150100
9599.00
8940.00
50.0
25.0
--
Wed       Jan 29, 1975
3645.75
16958398
9145.00
8620.00
41.0
24.0
--
Thu       Jan 29, 1976
3666.82
19671442
7622.00
9700.00
53.0
28.0
--
All Lake Powell water data for January 29th
Sat Jan   29, 1977
3651.91
17675554
9198.00
19000.00
51.0
27.0
--
Sun Jan 29,   1978
3625.36
14502612
5437.00
6660.00
48.0
32.0
--
Mon Jan   29, 1979
3629.33
14921634
8785.00
20200.00
28.0
14.0
--
Tue Jan   29, 1980
3673.18
20435414
10583.00
17100.00
52.0
25.0
--
Thu Jan   29, 1981
3679.78
21351354
7612.00
12000.00
52.0
30.0
--
Fri Jan   29, 1982
3663.93
19101078
7252.00
16900.00
52.0
32.0
--
Sat Jan   29, 1983
3683.31
21807370
13109.00
10600.00
51.0
39.0
--
Sun Jan   29, 1984
3680.79
21404754
13849.00
24300.00
51.0
26.0
--
Tue Jan   29, 1985
3680.74
21366038
16915.00
25400.00
44.0
31.0
--
Wed Jan   29, 1986
3685.73
22105498
13913.00
20100.00
55.0
30.0
--
Thu Jan   29, 1987
3679.39
21169534
15213.00
26200.00
52.0
39.0
--
Fri Jan   29, 1988
3683.04
21703966
9039.00
11700.00
62.0
31.0
--
Sun Jan   29, 1989
3676.87
20805426
5984.00
13600.00
50.0
8.0
--
Mon Jan   29, 1990
3655.74
17940848
5025.00
9510.00
n/a
22.0
--
Tue Jan   29, 1991
3630.86
14949762
5525.00
10200.00
46.0
26.0
--
Wed Jan   29, 1992
3621.42
13914222
6840.00
12700.00
48.0
22.0
--
Fri Jan   29, 1993
3613.74
13110446
6142.00
13400.00
52.0
28.0
--
Sat Jan   29, 1994
3657.30
18141516
7817.00
11300.00
46.0
28.0
--
Sun Jan   29, 1995
3647.12
16859904
6100.00
9580.00
51.0
30.0
--
Mon Jan   29, 1996
3678.07
20978340
8740.00
15600.00
57.0
28.0
--
Wed Jan   29, 1997
3671.32
20021628
11037.00
18400.00
49.0
33.0
--
Thu Jan   29, 1998
3679.18
21138864
10921.00
19900.00
56.0
26.0
--
Fri Jan   29, 1999
3680.71
21361650
7397.00
14395.00
49.0
n/a
--
Sat Jan   29, 2000
3679.33
21160650
8314.00
13156.00
55.0
24.0
--
Mon Jan   29, 2001
3666.53
19363092
7456.00
14876.00
44.1
28.0
--
Tue Jan   29, 2002
3652.58
17539014
3868.00
13424.00
39.9
28.0
47.0
Wed Jan   29, 2003
3615.58
13300186
4328.00
12787.00
55.0
37.0
50.0
Thu Jan   29, 2004
3592.09
11010776
4858.00
12815.00
50.0
28.0
49.0
Sat Jan   29, 2005
3562.14
8486755
8181.00
14100.00
50.0
37.9
49.0
Sun Jan   29, 2006
3594.59
11241152
6438.00
11534.00
53.1
30.9
47.0
Mon Jan   29, 2007
3599.72
11723383
8253.00
13519.00
48.9
30.9
47.0
Tue Jan   29, 2008
3590.80
10893087
9906.00
12773.00
35.1
19.9
46.0
Thu Jan   29, 2009
3614.36
13174179
7893.00
13360.00
48.9
28.9
48.0
Fri Jan   29, 2010
3622.33
14011695
6974.00
14437.00
39.9
32.0
--

Source:

http://lakepowell.water-data.com/

The yearly change in volume is determined by the formula :

delta H = inflow – outflow – evaporation – seepage

Evaporation is relatively constant from year to year as is seepage, so the formula can be written as:

delta H = inflow – outflow – K

Outflow (water usage) has greatly increased over the last few decades due to massive population increases in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Southern California – not to mention the large and ever increasing amount of water being used by the biofuels industry.  (It has been estimated by the University of Twente in The Netherlands that the manufacture of one liter of biodiesel requires 14,000 liters of water).

The point being that despite large increases in outflow, the lake level has been rapidly recovering. This could be due to only one explanation – lots and lots of snow in the Rocky Mountains during the last five years.

And an extra bonus from the “weather is not climate” department – January 29, 2010 at 39.9 degrees was ten degrees below normal and the second coldest on record.

Lake Powell (Arizona and Utah) provides a good proxy for western slope snowfall, because much of the snow in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Northwestern New Mexico drains into the lake via the Colorado, Green and San Juan Rivers. The lake currently contains more than 4.5 trillion gallons of water and is 490 feet deep at the dam.

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bikermailman

For those of you who haven’t seen the Green River, it’s fantastic at both Flaming River Gorge and the confluence with the Colorado, at Canyonlands Park, both on the map.

Mike Ramsey

(It has been estimated by the University of Twente in The Netherlands that the manufacture of one liter of biodiesel requires 14,000 liters of water).
 

Kum Dollison

not to mention the large and ever increasing amount of water being used by the biofuels industry
Huh?
All them Midwestern Ethanol, and Biodiesel plants are just killing the poor ol’ Colyradoe, eh?

Kum Dollison

the entire U.S. biodiesel industry used less processing water in 2008 than it takes to irrigate two Sun Belt golf courses annually.
http://www.biodiesel.org/resources/PR_supporting_docs/Water%20Use%20Study%20Response.htm
Not many soybeans are irrigated, and the ones that are were irrigated before they started taking the oil out for biodiesel.
Silly statement.

Steve Goddard

Kum,
Huge amounts of western water is used to irrigate corn for biofuels.
http://www.coloradocorn.com/resources/ethanol-biofuels
Sometimes research should come before sarcasm.

Steve Goddard

biker,
I’ve canoed from Green River, UT down to the confluence twice. 120 miles of some of the finest scenery anywhere.

rbateman

At 14,000 liters of water, and given Lake Powell holds 4.5 trillion liters of water, we could produce 82.5 million gallons of biodiesel, or 1.6 million barrels of biodiesel.
The input to US refineries –
http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/oog/info/twip/twip_crude.html
is 13.8 million barrels / day.
Lake Powell converted to Biodiesel wouldn’t make 2 hours worth of US daily fuel.
If the 14,000 liters/biodiesel liter is correct, what a waste of water.

Mike Davis

You failed to mention the “Fake” floods needed to maintain biodiversity on the lower river. Also the decision to lower the water level to avert the flooding that happened in the 80s. Remember this river dam system was designed to control flooding down river.

Steve Goddard

Kum,
The vast majority of biofuels in the US are generated from corn.
http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=12039&page=10
TABLE 1-1 U.S. Production of Biofuels from Various Feedstocks in 2006
Fuel
Feedstock
U.S. Production in 2006
Ethanol
Corn
4.9 billion gallons
Sorghum
Less than 100 million gallons
Cane sugar
No production (600 million gallons imported from Brazil and Caribbean countries)
Cellulose
No production (one demonstration plant in Canada)
Biodiesel
Soybean oil
Approximately 90 million gallons
Other vegetable oils
Less than 10 million gallons
Recycled grease
Less than 10 million gallons
Cellulose
No production
SOURCE: U.S. CRS (2007).

Hahahaha –
Notice that 1998 – the highest temp year in everybody’s database (at least homogenized data) – is right in the middle of a fairly long high water stretch.
I know things have lag times, but for them to jump on 2007 and cry “The sky is falling!” – doesn’t that at least allow me to point at an even hotter year and cry “Weather is not climate!” or something of the sort?

Ed Murphy

Great article about Lake Powell, all you guys, now this is the kind of stuff that opens eyes and turns heads. Keep ’em coming, you’re rolling like a juggernaut heading for victory over corrupt science and politics!
A side note… Liquefied natural gas doesn’t require any water that I’m aware of and we have at least a bit over one century worth, maybe two, and… nobody has to go hungry. That’s with running our vehicles and replacing coal and oil entirely. Correct me if I’m wrong.

bikermailman

Steve, I ‘discovered’ the Moab area several years ago, and just fell in love with it. Took a flightseeing tour over Canyonlands, it was my favorite, til I did the flightseeing around Mt McKinley! One of the things I love about our country, there’s some of everything, and it’s all beautiful in its own, if different, way. We also produce great minds, like the ones who both post and comment here, and a fantastic thinker at HotAir, goes by the name of DocZero. I’m glad to have sites like these where average folks like me can go for good information.

aMINO aCIDS iN mETEORITES

“weather is not climate”
So they say.
So where is all the hot weather that would be the result of global warming? I haven’t seen any reports of it (unless you look at GISTemp, the product of a global warming, mad scientist).
But I keep seeing all the reports of cold.

A similar recovery of a lake:
Back in late summer of 2003, I made plans to visit Guadalajara, in the state of Jalisco, in Mexico. 40 miles south of the city is Mexico’s largest lake, Lake Chapala. A friend down there emailed me and was bewailing the drying up of their lake. The water level was at 15% of normal, and it was imminently scheduled to be placed on the world list of endangered lakes.
This was the end of August, 2003. The rainy season there runs from the late part of June to about the end of September, so there was only one month to go before the dry season started – which everyone expected to dry the lake up pretty much all the way.
There were all kinds of causes brought up as to why the lake was drying up – population growth, farmer’s taking water out of the drainage basin feeding the lake, and a prolonged semi-drought. The one thing I did NOT hear being blamed for it, amazingly, was global warming. It might have been blamed by someone, but I never heard it as such…
How do I put this? You are all going to think I’m nuts, but I thought I would just put some mental energy into sending rain. The Huichole (sp?) Indians were hot on that angle, too. Coincidence or by magic, all September the rains came steadily (that rainy season up until then had been very much below average). Those rains extended past the normal ending of the rainy season, all the way through October and into early November. My friend had lived there for over 30 years and told me there had not been November rains in the city in all that time.
At the end of the rainy season, the water level was at 55% of normal. By the end of the rainy season in 2004, the water level was at 100%.
Water levels rise and water levels fall. Yes, people take water out of drainage basins and sometimes excessively – but usually we all realize what level is proper for maintaining a relatively “steady state.” Since 2004, the water level to my knowledge has been pretty normal – in spite of the population (which is still higher than before) and the farmers taking what they need.
The real variable was simply rainfall. When it returned to normal, so did the lake level.

Kum Dollison

Steve, you made reference to Biodiesel. Biodiesel, in the U.S., is made from waste veg grease, or Soybeans, Not Corn.
I’m assuming that the Co corn that is irrigated is irrigated from groundwater, not snow melt water.

Steve Goddard

Glen Canyon was one of the most beautiful sections of the Colorado River before it was flooded by Lake Powell. Many environmentalists have been hoping for the demise of the lake, but it looks like they will have to wait a bit longer ……
Prior to the building of Glen Canyon Dam, The Grand Canyon had warm muddy water flowing through it. Now it has cold, clear water which flows out of the bottom of the dam. This has radically changed the ecosystem – some of the largest trout in the world live in the cold water at Lee’s Ferry down below the dam.

Steve Goddard

Kum,
I said “not to mention the large and ever increasing amount of water being used by the biofuels industry.”
The vast majority of irrigation water in Colorado comes from rivers. Much of the water usage in the Front Range is pumped over from the western slope.
http://co.water.usgs.gov/infodata/wateruse.html

Pamela Gray

Kum, in Wallowa County we have two sources of water in the ground, aquifer and ground table water. Aquifer water is what you drill for. It can be as little as 60 feet down or as much as 900 feet down. Ground water is what you find in low-lying areas if you dig through the layers of top soil and old river bottom gravel down deep enough. On the rare occasion, you will find an artesian water source. They can be caused by several different formations. One formation, that of an aquifer caught between two undulating ribbons of old lava, can loop up near the surface and bubble up to the ground if under pressure to do so. Ground water tables can be reduced by drought, and quickly. Aquifer water tends to be much more stable as it depends on centuries of water working its way to the aquifer level. Still, too many wells can cause pressure problems. What you would call a swamp, we call sub-irrigated ground. You might be able to grow timothy hay on it if you drain tile it. But alfalfa needs dryer soil with periodic irrigation, flood irrigation being the best choice.

kuhnkat

Kum Dollison,
here is a quote from the link Stephen posted:
“The worst offenders included making biodiesel from rapeseed or soya (14,000 liters of water to make just one liter of biodiesel)”
You must understand that water cost is not just irrigation. Processing of the crop also incurs heavy water cost.
Corn for ethanol is 1/10 the amount at 1,400. This is still stupid!!!
You should also note that he uses the phrase “ever increasing”. We do not yet know whether our gubmint will be stupid enough to continue to push rapeseed/soya for biodiesel with current technologies!! The amount of used vegetable oil is already being fully utilised for biodiesel in a number of areas.

Kum Dollison

Well, Steve, you’ve been growing corn in Colorado for a long time. Have you “always” irrigated it, or did you just start when the biofuel market came to town?
And, I guess the next “Logical” question would be do you have more corn acres than in the past, about the same, or less?

Kum Dollison

I read, somewhere, that although about 15% of corn is irrigated, only about 6% of the corn that’s used for ethanol is irrigated. Most of that in Nebraska. I’m wondering how much Colorado Corn actually goes to ethanol. If there’s not a plant within 30, or so, miles I would say very little. I bet most of it goes the same place it’s always gone – to feed Colorado cattle.
BTW in 2007 we planted 91 million acres of corn and produced 13.1 Billion bushels.
in 2009 we planted 86 million acres and produced 13.2 Billion bushels. An all-time record yield of 165 bu/acre. In spite of one of the most horrendous growing seasons on record.

Kum Dollison

I see a refinery in Yuma, Co in the NE corner of the state
http://www.ethanolrfa.org/industry/locations/
and, Windsor Co. Also in the NNE part of the state. They’ve been irrigating, there, since the 1870’s. Used to raise sugar beets. Now they’ve got Kodak.

Kum Dollison

Steve it looks to me like those refineries are in the “South Platte Basin.” The South Platte flows out of the Rockies, through Nebraska, hooks up with the N. Platte, and goes into the Missouri/Mississippi River System.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Platte_River
The farmers there have 400 GROUNDWATER WELLS, and are in a fight over whether or not they’re taking water out of the S. Platte River.
I just can’t see how the Colorado River could enter into this at all. Why would one “Pump” water over a mountain when you’re sitting right beside a very nice river, already?

kadaka

This could be due to only one explanation – lots and lots of snow in the Rocky Mountains during the last five years.
I’m waiting for someone to mention it could also be from the rapidly melting glaciers.

EJ

I’ve been following the resevoirs in WY the last few years, and they have rebounded to near normal levels recently as well……………

Michael

The cause or the lake level rise would be all the anecdotal evidence evidence piling up. I knew all the anecdotal evidence would someday manifest itself somewhere on somebodies door step in the form of crow eating.

Kum Dollison

Kuhnkat, that “Twent” article was just a silly hit-piece. Many (most?) biodiesel producers don’t even use water in the process anymore.
As for corn: as I said, something like 96% of the corn used for ethanol is Not irrigated. That that is was irrigated long before the local ethanol refinery was built. As for the plants, water usage can run from zero to 4 gal/gal of ethanol, with the average being around 3. Many plants use waste water from the local municipality, or from a local river. They put the water back cleaner than they found it. As I said, a couple have been built with zero-discharge.
You want to look at water? Get a number on how much they use in the typical California oilfield (water injection,) and the typical oil refinery.

Michael

Lake Lanier Georgia is full now too. California water wars will be put on hold this summer too. God is good. Thanks for turning down the heat old man.

Jimbo

Q. If there were no human extraction of water from the lake since 1992 then what would the likely level be today?
Due to time constraints I have not read all the comments before posting this question.

Who needs biofuel, besides Obama supporters who get government subsidies? From the environmentalist’s point of view, biofuel is as bad as any regular gas or diesel when it burns — but it takes much more natural resources to produce it. From the economist’s point of view, biofuel is waste of taxpayers’ money. Remove ideological pink glasses, and you will see that it is a sheer nonsense designed to raise taxes and grab more political power.
Meanwhile, nobody is running out of oil and natural gas. If we build enough nuclear stations for heating, railways, and heavy industry, Earth’s oil and gas reserves will last for centuries. By that time, surely, safe and portable compact nuclear reactors will be moving every vehicle and every flying machine (even if we won’t come up with something better, like direct mass-to-energy converters).
Biofuel is too expensive, silly, and harmful.

Nigel S

Biofuels
The point, surely, is that the crops for biofuels (and the water required) are new uses since we (rich westerners at least) have to eat.
Wouldn’t it be simpler to convert to steam power for cars? Not as efficient perhaps but a lot less water use I would guess. (This is not a serious suggestion but then neither is biofuel, apart from reprocessed cooking oil which seems like a win win since it is otherwise often tipped down the drain). The only downside is the faint smell of fish and chips which makes one a bit hungry at times.

Vincent

You would think, that maybe someone among these researchers would have taken a look at the total water budget – how much is being drawn off. Only then, after having examined the obvious explanations, would they be in a position to look for a climate change explanation.
But then, what do I know about science?

Michael

Who doesn’t go to Climate Depot for their latest Man-made global warming Smack Down News? I bet the Obama administration does. I bet all the news agencies do. I bet all the AGW alarmists do. It seems that’s the only place to get the real consolidated news on climate science smack down updates. Good on ya Climate Depot
http://www.climatedepot.com/

Symon

I think Kum has a valid point. You can’t talk about ‘biofuels’ and then quote a statistic about a biofuel which isn’t produced in the area under discussion.
As for advising someone to “research”, it’s a shame you didn’t do that with your infamous CO2-freezing-out-of-the-air-article. In that missive, it was a throwaway comment that created the rumpus, as it seems to be with this essay. Why not stay on subject, and avoid detracting attention from the point you are trying to make?

kadaka

@ Nigel S (01:46:38) :
Steam power would be very efficient, and be very flexible on fuel supply as what is needed is a simple source of heat, not the precise burning characteristics required for an internal combustion engine. The major problem for people would be a 20-30 minute warm-up time to get the steam pressure up. Sure, people will buy electric cars that need an 8 hour recharge to do a 1 hour daily commute, but won’t give up being able to jump right in and go in an instant.
Oh, about used cooking oil… Back around 2007-8 I was studying online about homebrew biodiesel, checking out sites with all the info needed for DIY. As the fuel prices were skyrocketing, used restaurant oil went from being something discarded that you could have for the asking, to something people were paying for, and then there were outfits gathering it up for commercial processing. In short order it became something that had to be locked up so people wouldn’t steal it, when before they were paying to get rid of it. If it has gone back to throwaway status then fuel prices have dropped so low it’s no longer worth the effort to convert it, or there is a very low concentration of environmental and/or economical people with mechanical skills in that particular area where it’s being discarded.
Another quick biofuel note: They were selling online kits for homebrew ethanol, a thousand bucks or so each, probably still are. The sites said you could mix it with regular gasoline up to 15% without any modifications to the vehicle, recoup your investment pretty quick. About then here in central PA I started noticing new stickers at the gas pumps, “Contains 10% ethanol.” Currently, in what may be a nod to the real state of biofuels, there are stickers saying “May contain up to 10% ethanol.”

Nigel S

Biofuel
There was an excellent edition of ‘Top Gear’ in which they drove an unmodified old Volvo on fat straight from a chip shop cut with a little white spirit. The car seemed to run perfectly well.

bikermailman

Kum Dollison (23:36:05) :
RE the water being pumped over the mountain: I’m guessing that it’s for the City of Denver. There is in fact a resivoir near the Colorado River Headwaters, on the West side of the Divide, and a pipline going under the mountain. Probably not being used for irrigation in the East part of the state.
Traveling through E Colorado and W Nebraska last fall, there was in fact a prodigious amount of corn being grown, didn’t see a lot of irragation going on. This all being said, having travelled all over the Colorado River watershed, I’ve seen all manner of crops being flood irrigated. To the point that would make a Plains farmer blush. There’s a fair amount of corn crop in these parts (South Plains), almost completely irrigated, but with center pivot or drip. Much more efficient uses of water, IMO, certainly more so than the flood irrigation used even in the desert of South Arizona.

richard verney

Whilst I am unsure whether going back to steam is the future, regarding the post on steam cars, many of these were fitted with a flash boiler that warmed up in about 5 minutes. All one would have to do is steam up whilst you pack the car, it would then be ready to drive. Perhaps steam is making a come back since I seem to recall that within the last few months there was a land spped record set by a steam car of about 170 to 200 mph.

Steve Goddard

Here are some references.
One third to one half of water pumped over from the western slope is used for agriculture.
http://www.allbusiness.com/environment-natural-resources/ecology-environmental/13626685-1.html
Over 90 percent of water consumed through human activities in Colorado occurs in agriculture.
http://www.colorado.edu/law/centers/nrlc/publications/water_and_growth_faq.pdf
Mesa County is the largest water user in the state. It is almost all agricultural and is 99% surface water. Weld County is the largest corn producer and the second largest water user in the state. 80% of the water used in Weld County is surface water.
http://co.water.usgs.gov/infodata/wateruse.html
One third of corn production in the US is for biofuels.
http://www.europeaninstitute.org/May-2008/biofuels-once-seen-as-a-climate-panacea-now-causing-food-headaches-and-transatlantic-second-thoughts.html

Steve Goddard

Symon,
The freezing point of CO2 is -109 degrees. In Antarctica it gets as cold as -128 degrees.

Steve Goddard

Good luck trying to grow corn in Colorado or Arizona without irrigation. Most of the corn growing regions receive 15 inches of precipitation or less per annum.
http://www.nationalatlas.gov/printable/images/pdf/precip/pageprecip_co3.pdf

Steve Goddard

Symon,
How is biofuels water usage off topic? It is a big part of the water equation in the Rocky Mountains.

Well this certainly sheds new light on the greenies desire to drain the lake. No lake level to indicate that there must have been a lot of snow to result in those increases in lake level in spite of the increased outflow of water, would mean no further evidence that they are wrong!
I live in AZ and the greenies call for draining Lake Powell seem to occur in phases. Now I see what all the fuss was about the last time. They don’t even pretend to care anymore that millions of people depend on that stored water.

esin

Biofuel from ‘food-stock’ is so wrong, at so many levels,,, inclusive of the fact that they are at least as carcinogenic for the acetaldehydes and formaldehydes formed and (est.) to result in ~10% higher incidence of asthma, emphysema and other pulmonary diseases.
Perhaps not the point, herein, but at least as relevant~
http://www.highlighthealth.com/eco-friendly/alternative-ethanol-fuel-wont-improve-future-air-quality/
http://woods.stanford.edu/docs/biofuels/BiofuelsCommentary.pdf

Nigel S

richard verney (05:33:05)
New steam car record, yes, these crazy guys
http://www.steamcar.co.uk/lsr_history.html
An American put up the money so thanks for that.

kadaka

@ Nigel S (04:42:41) :
There was up to a certain year of certain Volvo diesel engines that could run straight vegetable oil (SVO), about 1986 I think. When using waste vegetable oil (WVO) the major issues are filtering out fine sediments and the oil contains acids, both picked up during the cooking. When using those fuels, outside temperature can be an issue. There can be dual-fuel dual-tank systems, where regular diesel is used at the start until things warm up and then VO is used. There can also be systems using heaters for the tank and engine.
Often with VO and biodiesel there are engine timing issues, older engines with manually adjustable timing are preferred. Sensor-controlled electronic ignition systems will likely have problems, although recently manufactured vehicles are being built for multi-fuel use and can handle biodiesel and perhaps VO.
A major issue with biodiesel is it has more of a solvent character than normal diesel, it is considered corrosive. Thus older vehicles may need the old rubber hoses upgraded, and certain seals and O-rings get upgraded to Viton.
Which brings up something interesting. Diesel is basically #2 heating oil, there may be some additives for cleaner burning and to keep it from “gelling up” in real cold weather. Home heating oil is dyed red for a quick check if truckers are using it to duck paying highway fuel taxes.
Home oil furnaces can, with no exceptions I know of, burn both #2 and #1 heating oils, with #1 otherwise known as kerosene, which is a solvent. After reviewing the expected quality of homebrew biodiesel, I concluded that old-fashioned “dead dinosaur” diesel is best for vehicles, while biodiesel would be best used for home heating. Furnaces are a lot less finicky than vehicles.

Pamela Gray

Continuing my comment about irrigation and water conservation. Some plants require root irrigation, while others prefer leaf. And you can get a better crop, or more suited for your intended purpose, by changing the way you provide water. For example, overhead irrigation of alfalfa can lead to a product with too much stem instead of a leafy one. Flood irrigation, done once or twice, can produce a leafy plant, which is what you want. Drip irrigation is a form of root irrigation if the drip occurs along the ground. It is potentially a better way to provide water at the root level but it is damn hard to harvest around the lines, let alone replant the field, even if you don’t replant every year as is the case of alfalfa. There are ways to lay down the flexible lines and pick them back up again but the space between rows has to be pretty wide, decreasing potential yield from a field. These ways of reducing or conserving water while getting a better product are not straightforward decisions.

Ken S

“bikermailman (20:35:01) :
For those of you who haven’t seen the Green River, it’s fantastic at both Flaming River Gorge and the confluence with the Colorado, at Canyonlands Park, both on the map.”
I considered purchasing property along Green River just a short ways north of the city of Green River. After finding the property on the sat image of Google Map I decided that living in in a house located approx 15 foot above river surface would not be a good idea if the spring runoffs continue to to increase each year.
Approx 12 acres with 183 foot of Green River River frontage, I would never run out of water, problem might be just too much?
Here is a link to the property listing not meant to be spam, not sure if this posting will even get past the spam filter.
http://www.moabproperties.com/listings/l0004.html
There are a couple nice pictures of the area and you can see the river and if the trend contines I guess the entire property will be part of the river as well.

kadaka

@ Steve Goddard (05:33:37) :
“Biofuels” may need some closer defining. They make these room-sized little furnaces they call “stoves,” that blow out hot air. They run on wood pellets, coal… and there are corn burners. Straight dry feed corn, just pour it in the hopper.
I don’t know what the percentage is of corn grown that goes straight to being bulk fuel, but people may assume that “biofuel” means all that corn is going right to ethanol or similar, and overestimate how much water and other resources are used in the conversion. When there might be no “converting” to speak of.