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How Bad Is It, Johnny?
By Ernest Stewart

"How Bad Is It, Johnny?" ~~~ Ed McMahon

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, word comes from the Pacific Northwest that the rain forest that is/was Washington state is drying up. Where formally it rained pretty much 24/7 365. Authorities in the state that produces nearly 70 percent of U.S. apples for fresh consumption and loads of other foodstuffs have declared "drought emergencies" in 24 of its 62 watersheds, or 44 percent of the state's area.

The Washington state Department of Ecology reports:
"Snowpack statewide has declined to 24 percent of normal, worse than when the last statewide drought was declared in 2005. Snowpack is like a frozen reservoir for river basins, in a typical year accumulating over the winter and slowly melting through the spring and summer providing a water supply for rivers and streams. This year run-off from snowmelt for the period April through September is projected to be the lowest on record in the past 64 years.

The Bureau of Reclamation is releasing a mid-April 2015 Total Water Supply Available forecast for the Yakima Basin because of the decline in reservoir storage and low stream flows. The TWSA indicates a full water supply for senior water rights during the 2015 irrigation season, but an estimated 54 percent supply for junior water rights. Reclamation will issue water supply forecasts monthly or as needed at least through July."
Here are some of the headlines coming from Washington state...

"April 17, 2015 Governor Jay Inslee declared a drought in 13 river basins in Washington state.
04/17/2015] Governor adds 13 more river basins to list of areas qualifying for drought relief funds - Basin details April 17, 2015
04/17/2015] Governor expands drought emergency to include more Washington river basins - Governor News Release April 17, 2015
04/23/2015] Ecology Director Maia Bellon's April 23, 2015, drought declaration order for 13 additional Water Resource Inventory Areas (WRIA's).
04/23/2015] Governor Jay Inslee's April 21, 2015, letter authorizing Ecology Director Maia Bellon to declare a drought emergency in 13 WRIA's."

Snowpack statewide has declined to 19 percent of normal, worse than when the last statewide drought was declared in 2005. This year run-off from snowmelt for the period April through September is projected to be the lowest on record in the past 64 years. So much for being a rain forest.

Meanwhile, just over the mountains from Lost Wages, came more bad news. Last Sunday's forecast for Lake Mead called for breezy conditions, with a high in the low 80s and a water level as low as it has been in 78 years. I'm going to repeat that again for those of you on drugs.

The Lowest Water Level In 78 Years!

The reservoir east of Las Vegas is expected to reach a new record low this weekend and continue downward another 7 feet through June, as the drought-stricken Colorado River withers from its 12th dry year since 2000. The latest projections by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation called for the new record to arrive sometime after midnight Sunday, when the surface of Lake Mead dips below the current low-water mark, set on Aug. 13, 2014, of 1,080.19 feet above sea level. The last time Lake Mead was this low was May 1937, the same month as the Hindenburg explosion. The reservoir then was filling for the first time behind the new Hoover Dam. The bleak new milestone comes as federal forecasters slash their projections for how much water will make its way into the Colorado River in the coming months, as snow melts away in the mountains of Utah, Colorado and Wyoming. Last month, the forecast called for the river that supplies water and power to some 40 million people in the U.S. and Mexico to see about "71 percent of its average flow this summer." Now forecasters expect the river's flow to be more like "52 percent of average," and according to one expert, it could go even lower than that! Randy Julander supervises the federal snow survey program in Nevada, Utah and California for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He said this winter was abnormally dry across the West, and bad enough in Utah to rank among the worst "super-drought" years on record. He continued:
"What's going on is we can't buy a storm in any way, shape or form. There just isn't any snowpack to melt. The scientific term is 'diddly squat.' As a result, the Colorado is being squeezed at both ends - dry conditions at the headwaters that reduce its flow and huge demand downstream as California suffers through a historic drought of its own.
Smack in the middle is the Las Vegas Valley, which draws roughly 90 percent of its water from the river using two intake pipes at Lake Mead. A new deep-water intake is expected to go online by the end of summer, and the Southern Nevada Water Authority is rushing to design and build an associated pumping station to keep water flowing to the community even if the reservoir shrinks another 185 feet to "dead pool," the level at which that Hoover Dam can no longer release water. Such a scenario was once unthinkable; but now, water managers are spending a great deal of money preparing for it. The combined cost of the water authority's new intake pipe and pump station will likely top $1.4 billion. So, the next time some talking head, corporate shill, or politicians tells you global warming doesn't exist, slap them upside the head and tell them to stop the lies; they're killing all of us! Oh, and tell them Uncle Ernie sent ya!


09-27-1919 ~ 04-26-2015
Thanks for the laughs!

03-06-1963 ~ 04-27-2015
Thanks for the laughs!

09-11-1943 ~ 04-27-2015
Thanks for the music!

09-28-1938 ~ 05-01-2015
Thanks for the music!


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Until the next time, Peace!
(c) 2015 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, author, stand-up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and for 13 years was the managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. Visit me on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter.

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Issues & Alibis Vol 15 # 18 (c) 05/01/2015