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suburban george3

Southern Dust Bowl?

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Four southern states are now reporting the worst drought since records have kept (1894.) Lakes, rivers, resevoirs, creeks, and wells are drying up. Water rationing could be instituted at any moment in many locales and could be enacted by state governors. Some resevoirs (Lake Lanier for instance) have less that 90 days of water supply left. Now forecasters say with La Nina this winter, weather will be warmer and much drier.

What will be the impact for the south? Development could be ordered stopped in it's tracks. We all could face water restrictions that even Californians have never had to endure? Could the phenomenal growth in the south suddenly shift gears and turn into a mass exodus as we can no longer support the populace that resides here? :scared:

Thoughts? Concerns?

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Four southern states are now reporting the worst drought since records have kept (1894.) Lakes, rivers, resevoirs, creeks, and wells are drying up. Water rationing could be instituted at any moment in many locales and could be enacted by state governors. Some resevoirs (Lake Lanier for instance) have less that 90 days of water supply left. Now forecasters say with La Nina this winter, weather will be warmer and much drier.

What will be the impact for the south? Development could be ordered stopped in it's tracks. We all could face water restrictions that even Californians have never had to endure? Could the phenomenal growth in the south suddenly shift gears and turn into a mass exodus as we can no longer support the populace that resides here? :scared:

Thoughts? Concerns?

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While the agricultural component isn't quite as strong as in the Midwest, if this drought continues water dependant industries may face mandatory water restrictions. To my understanding in articles I've read, that would be a first in the USA. Long term, this could effect employment.

The comparison I'm trying to draw, is the economic and population impact. Long term, the economic impact could cause a halt to development and loss of jobs. Folowing this could be a loss in population, similar to the Dust Bowl.

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I doubt seeing this happen. These extreme conditions are only affecting those 4 states, and I'm not in one of them. Yeah, growth patterns in those states need to change (as most), but I doubt they will. I just don't see The South in the general going to change because of this.

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I doubt seeing this happen. These extreme conditions are only affecting those 4 states, and I'm not in one of them. Yeah, growth patterns in those states need to change (as most), but I doubt they will. I just don't see The South in the general going to change because of this.

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SC is taking NC to court over interbasin water transfers. Its not the use of the water, but where its ending up that is the issue.

Atlanta is probably one of the largest cities that is served by the least amount of water bodies in the South. They just don't have enough rivers in Atlanta. They have been trying to get water from Lake Hartwell for years, but SC is using the same interbasin transfer argument against that. I have a tendency to agree with my home state on this one. Water should stay within the watershed that it falls in.

That also leads down the thought process of why we have cities in the desert- which is by far the most unsustainable place you can build a city.

I doubt anyone would let this happen, but it would be interesting to see how people react to a major metropolitan area running out of water entirely. I wonder, at what point will they start mandating personal water use (Atlanta or here in Charlotte)?

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Growth patterns didn't cause the drought...it's due to lack of rain. The water shortages are caused by the drought and by the Army Corps of Engineers practice of releasing millions of gallons from Georgia's resevoirs to downstream destinations. Today the Gov of Georgia has asked the White House to intervene because the Army Corps refuses to alter its practices.

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Actually uncontrolled growth has a lot to do with it, but the drought has just made it worse. The State of Georgia knew years ago that Lake Lanier couldn't handle supplying water to more then 3 million residents, but they didn't do anything to find another source to sustain this growth. The Army Corps of Engineers are just doing what they were told in this situation to maintain the freshwater mussels down river by the feds.

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We'll not be seeing another dust bowl, and we won't see the Southeastern economy collapse either. We may well see some un-optional shifts in lifestyle and development patterns. In an attempt at spotting a silver lining in the scenario, the drought may well force some sustainable, practical changes that might lead to more responsible growth patterns.

Spartan: SC is taking NC to court over interbasin water transfers. Its not the use of the water, but where its ending up that is the issue.

Atlanta is probably one of the largest cities that is served by the least amount of water bodies in the South. They just don't have enough rivers in Atlanta. They have been trying to get water from Lake Hartwell for years, but SC is using the same interbasin transfer argument against that. I have a tendency to agree with my home state on this one. Water should stay within the watershed that it falls in.

As an NC native and resident, I'd say good for SC, to the above. Yet again - in a perfect world - this is the kind of response that would really force responsibility upon communities who insist upon developing as though resources were infinite. From a public relations (or good neighbor) standpoint, SC's strong-arm tactics are at first eyebrow-raising, and SC's urban development and water management tactics don't seem (at casual observation) to be any smarter than their neighbors, which does undercut their arguments. But doing with less so someone in another state's suburban expanse can have a dazzling yard is comical, and in hammering this point home, SC actually has the opportunity to establish a kind of precedent that might ultimately force a more responsible kind of thinking on such matters, at the region-wide level.

The growth of a lot of the unsustainable cities in the west was supported by the same kinds of water transfers and related political chicanery, all extraordinary in its' ham-fisted corruption (read social historian Mike Davis' City Of Quartz, detailing the machinery behind the 20th century rise of L.A. for all the relevant, icky details). I wouldn't want to see the possibility of a similar scenario repeat itself in the SE, especially if all the social dislocations and environmental damage (like, for instance, most of California's now drained and desertified Owens valley). If some urban area in the south builds itself into an unsustainable mess, there's no real reason that unaffected persons two watersheds away should be obliged to provide a free bailout, at the expense of their own land, towns or livelihoods.

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This is an anomaly, just odd luck. Along the same lines the normally dry and dusty states of Texas and Oklahoma have been drenched with rain all summer with extensive flooding. Things like this happen.

Now, is metro Atlanta overusing its water supply? Maybe. But considering all of the water normally found in the region it's not exactly Las Vegas or Southern California.

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We've had a lot of anomalies in weather as of late, and there's no telling how global warming and climate change could effect yearly rainfall totals in the SE region. Forecasters are predicting a dry winter, so things are not going to let up soon.

One could say bad luck caused the Dust Bowl as well as a prolonged drought and unusual weather conditions contibuted to it's development. While we have more forested and grassland here, the agricultural community could well feel even harder impacts than they have this year if this continues. Many crops this year were stunted and livestock farmers have had to purchase hay from several states away. If forecasts hold true and things don't break in the spring, water rationing will probably be the norm in many areas of the SE.

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Spartan: SC is taking NC to court over interbasin water transfers. Its not the use of the water, but where its ending up that is the issue.

Atlanta is probably one of the largest cities that is served by the least amount of water bodies in the South. They just don't have enough rivers in Atlanta. They have been trying to get water from Lake Hartwell for years, but SC is using the same interbasin transfer argument against that. I have a tendency to agree with my home state on this one. Water should stay within the watershed that it falls in.

As an NC native and resident, I'd say good for SC, to the above. Yet again - in a perfect world - this is the kind of response that would really force responsibility upon communities who insist upon developing as though resources were infinite. From a public relations (or good neighbor) standpoint, SC's strong-arm tactics are at first eyebrow-raising, and SC's urban development and water management tactics don't seem (at casual observation) to be any smarter than their neighbors, which does undercut their arguments. But doing with less so someone in another state's suburban expanse can have a dazzling yard is comical, and in hammering this point home, SC actually has the opportunity to establish a kind of precedent that might ultimately force a more responsible kind of thinking on such matters, at the region-wide level.

The growth of a lot of the unsustainable cities in the west was supported by the same kinds of water transfers and related political chicanery, all extraordinary in its' ham-fisted corruption (read social historian Mike Davis' City Of Quartz, detailing the machinery behind the 20th century rise of L.A. for all the relevant, icky details). I wouldn't want to see the possibility of a similar scenario repeat itself in the SE, especially if all the social dislocations and environmental damage (like, for instance, most of California's now drained and desertified Owens valley). If some urban area in the south builds itself into an unsustainable mess, there's no real reason that unaffected persons two watersheds away should be obliged to provide a free bailout, at the expense of their own land, towns or livelihoods.

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While the 'C' word, as in conservation, has been already mentioned by Columbia's director of public works, a close look at the Broad River, Columbia Canal and Lake Murray this weekend showed me it will be a long, long time before the Columbia metro has to worry about a water shortage. The water just keeps on flowing here. While the Congaree River is lower than it is when we've had normal rainfall, the current continues to ripple endlessly over and around the pebbles and boulders downstream from where the city takes its share. But we do need to conserve to accommodate our growing population, while being thankful there are no heavily populated areas between the beginning of the Saluda and Broad rivers and Columbia.

The water woes in Northeast Columbia during the summer were due to an insufficient pumping system that is being addressed by a pipe they are now laying from Lake Murray to that area.

The bottom line, though, is that we need rain, for all of the southeast.

http://www.columbiasouthcarolina.com/rivers.html

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I have gotten an inch and three tenths of rain so far over the last couple of days. It is very welcomed. Columbia's loving it.

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As an NC native and resident, I'd say good for SC, to the above. Yet again - in a perfect world - this is the kind of response that would really force responsibility upon communities who insist upon developing as though resources were infinite. From a public relations (or good neighbor) standpoint, SC's strong-arm tactics are at first eyebrow-raising, and SC's urban development and water management tactics don't seem (at casual observation) to be any smarter than their neighbors, which does undercut their arguments. But doing with less so someone in another state's suburban expanse can have a dazzling yard is comical, and in hammering this point home, SC actually has the opportunity to establish a kind of precedent that might ultimately force a more responsible kind of thinking on such matters, at the region-wide level.

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I would argue that SC has planned its lakes well. The water supply even with out Thurmond, Hartwell, Russell, and Wylie, are still more than enough to supply South Carolinians with water. It is in part due to a convenience of geography that SC has the lakes and watersheds that it does.

I will agree, however, that SC's urban planning is no better than any part of Atlanta.

I think the issue isn't sharing the water, but how much will be shared. The Atlanta Metro it self is larger than SC as a whole. So how much water should they really by allowed to have? Its just as much South Carolina's water as it is Georgia's. It would be interesting to see what the agreements were when the lakes were formed.

Also, I think Anderson and Augusta are the only large cities to draw water out of the border lakes.

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Georgia shouldn't be able to make the call either. Both states have to come to an agreement because the lakes and watershed is in both states.

I personally take issue with inter-basin water transfers. Atlanta's use of water from the Savannah River Basin is fine with me, so long as they return the same amount back when they're done treating it. Its of particular concern here because the water in question would end up going to the Gulf instead of the Atlantic.

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Is it true that the Georgia Aquarium is having to drain some of its exhibits because of the drought?

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No.

The dust bowl had a LOT more factors than just dry conditions.

The conditions in the high plains were quite different than anything that we have in the South.

1) The average rainfall in the high plains is lower than the optimal rainfall for the types of crops being grown. The land was a prairie with around 20 inches of annual rainfall, which is less than half of what most Southern states receive on average. The region was semi-arid to begin with.

2) The farmers were duped by land brokers (as well as the government) in to believing that plowing up the land would create "atmospheric disturbances" that would lead to more rainfall....so they plowed up an extensive amount of prairie grass (that held the topsoil down).

3) The drought hit at the same time as the Great Depression, so the farmers were not encouraged to upkeep their fields, which led to the crops rotting away, which in turn led to exposed topsoil.

4) The farming practices were bad during that time. Farmers did not practice proper crop rotation or any sort of land management or conservation.

5) THERE ARE NO TREES OR BIG HILLS ON THE PRAIRIE...the winds move throughout the region unobstructed.

6) Not all of the land in the South has been plowed up...trees, grass, and shrubs cover a significant portion of the land. The reason why the dustbowl happened was because there was nothing holding the land down.

7) This drought lasted for years. YEARS. The conditions that we are having today would have to continue for at least 6-7 years before they would reach the level that the dustbowl reached.

I'm not trying to flame the author of the original post, but the idea that we could have anything remotely similar to the dustbowl in the South in the 2000's is silly. There have been a lot of changes in the economy, farming techniques, and government policy involving land management since the 1930s.

For those that are further interested in the great Dust Bowl disaster in the high plains, I suggest reading Timothy Egan's The Worst Hard Time. It provides some great insight into the struggles of those who lived through that catastrophe. It was the worst disaster in American history, and I do not think that we will have anything to compare to it in scale anytime soon.

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I'm not trying to flame the author of the original post, but the idea that we could have anything remotely similar to the dustbowl in the South in the 2000's is silly. There have been a lot of changes in the economy, farming techniques, and government policy involving land management since the 1930s.

For those that are further interested in the great Dust Bowl disaster in the high plains, I suggest reading Timothy Egan's The Worst Hard Time. It provides some great insight into the struggles of those who lived through that catastrophe. It was the worst disaster in American history, and I do not think that we will have anything to compare to it in scale anytime soon.

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You won't see the migration out of the South because while agriculture is still a large part of the economy it is not employing as many workers as it did during the Dust Bowl. There is already a trend of people leaving smaller towns that don't have any service economy or that aren't well connected. We are becoming an increasingly urban society, even its its more "suburban" than "urban."

I think ultimately if we were to have a Dust Bowl-type of event because of this drought then we will certainly see a mad rush to get more water to our cities.

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