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Floods and drouths


studiot
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As I read about droughts in California and Texas, but floods in Kentucky I wonder if the obvious engineering commonsense reaction will pertain.

We need more water collection, storage and distribution facilities compared to the past.

Will politix ever permit the obvious engineering solution ?

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If the Republicans are not permitted to kill the EPA, there is hope.

https://www.epa.gov/water-research/drought-resilience-and-water-conservation

https://www.nature.org/en-us/about-us/who-we-are/how-we-work/policy/water-management/

States have different levels of awareness, preparedness and resources to deploy. There is a lot going on that's never reported in the news, because it's just not sensational enough. https://www.usgs.gov/centers/oklahoma-texas-water-science-center/science/floods-and-droughts

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3 hours ago, studiot said:

Will politix ever permit the obvious engineering solution ?

Politicians, in democratic countries, as long as they are sane, will only do what gets them elected in the next election (if they are not pushed by the influence of third countries, sponsors of the campaigns, secret services etc. )..

This is why it is so difficult to move away from the use of fossil fuels in countries or states where any mention of a "green revolution" triggers immediate opposition from people and their families who work in the industry..

3 hours ago, studiot said:

As I read about droughts in California and Texas, but floods in Kentucky I wonder if the obvious engineering commonsense reaction will pertain.

Are not you, or US, in capitalistic country.. ? In such country, the only project which will be made are the one which earns money.. Highways that are paid for? Here there is a tax included in the price of fuel to cover the cost of building highways.. When they built them, after a dozen years or so, highways are not free.. You can have a cheaper airplane ticket to the other side of the country than paying all the highway bills trying to get there by car! Without the cost of fuel in the car included..

 

Edited by Sensei
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2 hours ago, Sensei said:

Highways that are paid for? Here there is a tax included in the price of fuel to cover the cost of building highways.. When they built them, after a dozen years or so, highways are not free.. You can have a cheaper airplane ticket to the other side of the country than paying all the highway bills trying to get there by car! Without the cost of fuel in the car included..

IOW, people were twice time screwed/cheated.. but that was 20-25 years ago when they made tax for highways, so nobody remembers..

 

 

4 hours ago, studiot said:

We need more water collection, storage and distribution facilities compared to the past.

...expect taxes for it.. ? ;)

 

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4 minutes ago, Sensei said:

IOW, people were twice time screwed/cheated.. but that was 20-25 years ago when they made tax for highways, so nobody remembers..

After a highway is built, and people have been driving on it, does it sometimes need repair? Snow clearance, salting and sanding, verge and shoulder maintenance? Signs replaced and lines repainted? How were the people screwed/cheated by having to pay for the work of all those people and the materials they work with? 

7 minutes ago, Sensei said:

..expect taxes for it.. ?

Well, neither God nor Exxon provided it, so...

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5 hours ago, Peterkin said:

Well, neither God nor Exxon provided it, so...

...I don't recall prays for highways, water collection, storage and distribution facilities.. at least not in enough amount, to take care of it.. ;)

Pray more the next time.. ;)

(..and I will tell you how to build super cool highway..)

Happy mortal.. ? ;)

 

Edited by Sensei
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10 hours ago, studiot said:

As I read about droughts in California and Texas, but floods in Kentucky I wonder if the obvious engineering commonsense reaction will pertain.

We need more water collection, storage and distribution facilities compared to the past.

Will politix ever permit the obvious engineering solution ?

What obvious engineering solution? How is lack of permission the principle impediment?

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15 hours ago, Ken Fabian said:

What obvious engineering solution?

They may not be all that obvious, but many engineering solution can be implemented. https://www.engineering.com/story/how-can-engineers-prevent-surface-water-flooding

15 hours ago, Ken Fabian said:

How is lack of permission the principle impediment?

It's not, unless a large-scale project is undertaken by private enterprise. Most dams, flood-ways and levees are public works projects, which require a lot more from government than permission: government needs to be take the lead in planning, funding, removing obstacles - which may well include business interests, political opposition and people who have to be relocated, none of which is simple or easy - building and maintenance of the required infrastructure for years and decades after it's built. Governments usually contract out the actual construction work to private companies (which of course raises the price of any project for taxpayers) but if the entire project is left to private enterprise - which is a perfectly viable option -  there is no control at all by the citizens, and very little by the government, either of the project or the price.

47 minutes ago, Kevin Mulisa Isaya said:

floods in Kentucky I wonder if the obvious engineering commonsense reaction will pertain.

I don't know what those are - people often use the word "obvious" without illustrations. Kentucky, like all states and provinces, has a policy, has flood and control-related regulations and contingency plans.

https://www.kymitigation.org/kentucky-floodplain-manangement/

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"More collection, storage and distribution" may be what studiot meant but these encompass a wide variety of engineering options. More efficient use is another "obvious" I suppose. I am interested in what people consider obvious.

 It sounds like for California there is not a lot of spare water to collect and store and redistribute. I suspect the best sites for dams are already dams or else are valued highly for other reasons/uses - which may present as "politix not permitting", though I doubt it is as simple as mere bureaucratic unreasonableness. The less ideal the site the more it can cost - and in many cases the more uncertain that they will catch enough to fill or avoid storage losses long enough to help much in an extended drought. It can become a rob Peter to pay Paul type of problem. Lake Mead (we get bits of US news mixed with our own) isn't in California but stands as an example; probably it will get times with enough upstream precipitation to fill again and for a time provide a relative abundance of water but it doesn't make a whole of problem, lasting solution. Not even by making it bigger/deeper.

A lot of historic water use decisions appear problematic in hindsight; as an Australian I can sympathise - water use permits to farmers (pumping from rivers, which may or may not have flows managed with upstream dams and from artesian basins that were considered effectively infinite) - were handed out freely, in aggregate amounts that often far exceeded what is available. These kinds of historic "right of use" are fiercely defended - a different kind of impediment to "obvious" solutions than just bureaucratic.

Of course they cannot pump water that is not there and pumping rights can be limited or suspended but often there is water upstream that never reaches downstream, including by "innovative" practices like flood plain harvesting - diverting and empounding flood water; the assumption was it only takes "excess" water, whilst the reality is downstream flows can be dependent on that flood water (and flood plain ecosystems too). A lot was done before the consequences were understood, without any regulation applying and again, those who did it fiercely defend their "right" to do so (and oppose introduction of regulation) without any responsibility taken for the downsides downstream.

It does sound like California agriculture has been overutilising it's limited water sources for a long time and the "right" to do so looks deeply entrenched; the obvious solution of limiting such water use can be hard to apply. Texas, I know less about, but suspect similar issues.

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Thank you all replying.

To me 'the obvious engineering solution' to the fact that there is too much water (over time) in one area and too little in another (again over time) is to move some water about from the excess to the deficit.

I have put this in climate change because it is predicted that this imbalance will grow as climate change bites more and more.

I was not my intention to limit examples and discussions to the US experience. It's just that their recent news renewed my long held conviction that worn out 'politix' has made / is making matters worse rather than better.

There is not much known about the Harappan civilisation and there are several overblown stories or myths.
But we do know this bronze age culture was able to control the Indus river basin and the monsson by exactly the engineering means I have described

"Collection storage and distribution"

 

Meanwhile in the UK we are also suffering this water imbalance, though to a lesser extent than the US.
But late 20th century politix has removed our golden opportunity to do something about it, by breaking up a water industry that was brought together into a coherent whole during the early 20th century, and selling it off in disparate chunks to foreigners with no interest in our plight.

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@studiot Those kinds of projects can be huge and the engineering and economics rarely add up. More usually we see water caught and stored within existing water catchments during wet times, uphill of the users, stored over several years, hopefully long enough to get refilled before running out. Existing geography and flows are taken advantage of as much as possible - working with rather than against, and most of the better opportunities have already been taken, for irrigation water mostly; climate change is exacerbating things but the same concerns have been around a long time.

We have water diverted from coastwards flowing to inland from Australia's Snowy River Hydro scheme but it works by taking advantage of geography; it was a (relatively) short distance tunneling through mountains to divert the Snowy River, but still a huge engineering project. (Ironically Hydro power output had to be constrained due to too much water - to avoid adding to inland flooding - during our recent and still simmering gas and coal supply shortage/price crisis, despite full dams and wholesale electricity prices going into orbit).

Rivers themselves are the preferred means of delivery, with pipes, canals and pumping reserved for short distances and rises. They are expensive. Canals have high loss rates - leakages and evaporation; schemes proposed for Australia (that still get thrown up as a thought bubble) had expected losses too high for the water to reach the intended recipients.

The specific example - Kentucky floods, Texas and California droughts? I think (US geography not my strong point) Kentucky floodwater will flow into the Mississippi, so it will get a lot closer to parts of Texas on it's own but still way short. California would need floodwater from somewhere much nearer but geographically that seems harder than for Texas, which doesn't have the mountain ranges.

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When you kill all the beavers to make silly hats, you will get more floods, and a drop in the water table in dry periods. They are re-introducing beavers to a few isolated parts of the UK. The selling spiel is that it will regulate water. Probably more of a curiosity, we don't have that much of wilderness to support them, but the USA has lots. Kentucky does have beavers but they are trapped and shot legally as a pest, or for the fur. Without the beavers, the rainfall runs off faster, so you get flooding and rivers that dry up quicker. 

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