Folsom Dam Releases Water: 90 Day Guy Panics

So, we have had a lot of rain and snowpack recently.  If you believe in global warming, you likely ignored all news media, since well, how can snow be happening if the planet is being cooked by emissions.  Ignoring all that, we had an appearance by 90-Day Guy at the office, and predictably he fired up the internet machine and got to reading headlines.  Not the article, just the headlines.

Tahoe record snow December 2021

He stumbled across an article stating Folsom dam was going to release water due to all the rain we had received lately. This set him into panic, because, well he lives in southern Sac County and his house will be for sure under water due to this emergency.  He made a few calls to check sandbag availability, I would be shocked, but he is just like this.  When the man on TV or an article on Yahoo! News pops up, he takes it as gospel, because…well why should you seek any other opinions or facts.  He is still scared of the “virus” and refuses to touch any door knob because…. the virus.

Folsom Lake 2021

Personally, his best position is cowering at home with a warm glass of milk, under the covers, watching the world burn through the lens of news anchors who are trying to drive ratings.  I typically rib him with comments like “Well, at least there are no mean tweets” or “Biden ended the virus 1/15.”  He blames this on his old age, but this is a trait I don’t see in many folks, only the ones who are fixated on the tube.  If it bleeds it leads, and sex sells.  His excuse is his wife watches it all day, he just happens to be in the room.  Similar to the “I’m sorry your honor but I didn’t rob the bank, and shoot the teller, I just drove the get away car.”  It’s pathetic and sad.

To put you all at ease, I will offer up this.  Folsom Dam is not a storage or flood control dam like Shasta or Oroville.  Folsom is designed to hold water for recreation and to supply water to local communities.  You don’t have to believe me.  Folsom is under contract by the Bureau of Reclamation and has to be tightly regulated as far as water levels go.  Again, don’t believe me, they came out and said they had to release a slight amount of water due to standards to allow for more inevitable run off when the microwave in the sky heats the planet and causes the snow to melt.  Follow the dam in the spring/summer months, typically what goes into Folsom Lake on the back end, is released from the dam’s spillways on the front end.

Folsom is not there for flood control, hence when the Oroville Dam failed, panic set out everywhere because Folsom cannot hold that volume of water, they are not allowed to.  Dams are actually one thing in this state where the government regulation is extremely tight, thanks to the Sierra Club and other environmental groups who want to see us demolishing them as opposed to building new ones.  You may remember back during the Oroville Dam pending failure, they evacuated the fish at the hatchery long before they told the people of imminent danger.  The government even went as far as saying the releases where miniscule and fishing would be completely unaffected. 

Que the Kermit the frog freak-out gif.  Head desk!

Folks I will conclude by saying this; stop reading the internet and watching the news on TV. It’s all depressing.  You would think we live in a slum, and the sun is killing the planet…. oh wait.  The bottom line is we can only control what we can control, some things are in God’s hands.  For those of you who are non-believers the world is a scary place, and you have no control over things it does.  Best bet is be prepared, and minimize your risk.  This means the inevitable freak out will not affect you.  I’m not worried about a few thousand cubic feet of water, with the amount of steady rain we received, it is no big deal.  The time to be worried is when we get a warm storm.  That will overwhelm the dams and we could see an issue, lucky for us in the valley we will have ample warning.

Back to your freak out folks.  I heard 5G is coming to a cell tower near you and will scramble your brain.  You have been warned!

The Chief

Editor’s Note: as on 12/30/21, we have had 14.42 inches of rain this season which is 242% of normal. Currently we have received 79% of our average annual rainfall of 18.14 inches.

Johnnie Does on the Cable Watchers Conundrum

Folks you hear us at rail against cable constantly, here is yet another reason, a real-life example from this past week.

I was chatting up a fellow colleague, he also devoid of cable, and we were speaking in open terms about the coming doomsday scenario regarding the water shortage here in California.  We joked about picking up pallets of water from a local Costco or Sam’s, whomever had it the cheapest, and debating who was more likely to load it in my truck.  Joking of burning out all our lawn and replacing with AstroTurf, with the work being done by non-combustion engine machines.  The 90-Day Guy walked in and started making fun. He had zero clue about the drought; I kid you not, zero.  He wondered which channel we saw it on, to which we both replied, KCRA3 news app.  He still said he hadn’t heard it anywhere, as if we follow some obscure tin foil hat form of media.

Folks the local news has been on this issue for about 2 months now. I have seen photos of our Dictator Gavin Newsom pictured in lakes and other bodies of water with what would appear to be about a 50% at best supply of water

Gavin Newsom Declares Drought Emergency In Most Of California’s Counties 05/10/2021

In many north state counties (i.e., where no one lives) are on restrictions, and at some point, will be under severe cutbacks.  These will be announced shortly. In the opinion of this blogger, it will happen right around recall time, after it’s been certified Newsom will either not be recalled, or he will go down in flames.  Rumor has it farmers and others are already under severe cutbacks.  90-Day Guy had an ear to ear aww shucks grin.  He is clueless.

Folks I call this the cable watchers’ conundrum for this very reason. Imagine paying roughly $2K a year for cable yet you are completely in the dark on local issues, however you know all about what McConnell, Pelosi, Biden, Harris, McCarthy, and AOC had to say on all topics of national attention. As a rule, cable networks have zero interest in California, or really most states for that matter.  If it bleeds it leads, and sex sells, which is all they care about as these type issues drive ratings.  For months now the news has been dominated by BLM, George Floyd murder cops, Joe Biden, the US Capitol “insurrection” and other trash, nary a mention of the real issues in this country.  These are the issues he knows about, issues no reader of this blog cares about.  Seriously, I could not give a rip less about the issues listed above.

The conundrum is this, they believe wholeheartedly all is well, similar to those on Titanic or Poseidon who thought it was no big deal while the rats and others were scrambling.  Problem is when the national guys pick it up, it is far too late and the 90-day types panic as they react by grabbing all the toilet paper, Clorox wipes, Lysol etc. Sound familiar?  90-Day Guy even told me he did as much.  He and all the others panicked. Guess he missed this on Fox. Water crisis ‘couldn’t be worse’ on Oregon-California border: Oregon’s Klamath County is experiencing its driest year in 127 years

The same story played out with the torrential downpours we had a few years ago, I had told him in advance they would flood the Wilton and other unincorporated areas around the county, he panicked.  The levees overtopped as they were supposed to, flooding outlying areas. His response, he jumped in his car and headed toward Tahoe…keep in mind, that this choice saw him literally having to drive thru the areas where the flooding was occurring in the valley in order to get to higher ground.  He thought the safest place was not in a building or a house, but in a compact sports car.  As if he thought he could outrun the flood.  About a week later, he returned and threw his wife under the bus, it was all her idea, he said she watches too much TV.  He asked why I didn’t overreact, and my response was, you are far safer in a building where you can climb/get to higher ground than inside a car.  The car is likely to die in 6 inches or so of water and if it goes higher you will be taken for a ride; it won’t be fun, likely ending in death.  Keep in mind he was the smart one.

Harken back to when the Oroville dam was in peril. I had been discussing it for a couple weeks, he ignored or rolled his eyes at me, thinking I was an alarmist.  Then the day finally came, the spillway at Oroville failed, he went nuclear. He got into his car and jammed it home, keep in mind we are so far from the Oroville dam that the flood or even remnants would not have gotten close to us.  He panicked on command, just as cable wanted him to do.

The less time you have to react the better, notice the news doesn’t break in saying we may have a problem, the news shows the levee or spillway failing.  At that point everyone with a brain knows it’s too late, but not the 90-day types, they think they have inside info.  Look for the shelves to be devoid of water soon and look for panic to set in among all those who re-did their yards during Covid.  It won’t be pretty, consider yourself forewarned.  By the time Tucker, Hannity, or any of the other news networks pick it up, it’ll be too late.  But maybe a vaccine will exist? LOL

BTW we are now on day 432 of “2 weeks to flatten the curve.”

Johnnie Does

Crazy Water Solutions for California

Our rainfall this year seems to be less than needed which got me to thinking about drought again. Folks, why fix our water problems in California when you can make it other people’s problem? The truth is that we haven’t made any serious efforts to improve water storage in California since Jerry Brown’s dad was governor in the 1960’s. Sure the population has quadrupled since then but as Alfred E Newman says, “What, me worry?”

Oh, just to be technically correct, Arnold authorized one dam be dismantled in Northern California while San Francisco is clamoring to dismantle their primary water source, Hetch Hetchy Reservoir (photo above).

Meanwhile both Brown and Newsom want to kill the Delta by syphoning water in such a way to send it to Los Angeles. Please note that this will be an environmental disaster and not produce any increase in the water already being transferred to the south state. It is a water quality not quantity issue.

So instead of fighting the self-imposed red tape here in California, folks want to get water from other states.

Proposal one is get the water from the Columbia River. Like you really believe that Oregon and Washington will gladly part with their water and allow it piped across their states and dumped in Shasta Lake so it can be flushed down to the ocean. Here’s a few stories on just that. Oh, just wait until you see what’s next!

Speculation is high that Oregon has, for the first time, begun formal exploration into the feasibility of sending surplus water from the Columbia River south to thirsty California. The success of the recently announced giant wind farm has water export proponents salivating at the chance to tap just a small portion of the average 265,000 cubic feet of water per second that slips by Oregon, unused but for power generation, fish habitat and limited shipping.

Closed-door sessions have been held privately in recent months to discuss the very future of the Columbia River as we know it today. People have been asking for Oregon’s water for a long time. In 1990 Kenneth Hahn, an LA County Supervisor, formally requested water from Oregon via pipe to offset the severe water shortages they were experiencing. Then governor Neil Goldschmidt said no to the request, as did then Washington governor Booth Gardner.

Columbia River Water Next Export to California

It is estimated that Oregon could supply California with approximately 8 billion gallons of water each day without any deleterious effect on either the environment or shipping. That amount of water could easily end, forever, the shortages that have plagued Southern California for decades. At the same time, jobs and revenue would flow into Oregon in numbers never seen before. It is estimated that at least 7,000 new temporary jobs would be created to construct the pipe and that 125 permanent jobs would be created in maintaining the pipe and pumps needed to supply the water. Revenue for this water, at current California rates, could easily top six million dollars per day or more. “That is over two billion dollars of revenue per year for Oregon for something that costs Oregon nothing,” noted Branxton.

From the San Diego Union-Tribune

The idea that intrigues us the most is a pipeline from the Columbia River, which separates Oregon and Washington. It is the fourth-largest river in the nation and has the greatest flow of any American river draining into the Pacific. In other words, it carries a lot of water.

A water pipeline from Oregon to California?

But folks, why just pipe water across two states from the fourth largest river in the country when you could go for number one. America likes number one so why not get the water for California from the Mississippi River? No Kidding!!!

The largest eastern river, the Mississippi, has about 30 times the average annual flow of the Colorado, and the Columbia has close to 10 times. Water from these and other large rivers pours unused into the sea.

Thus, the West’s chronic water shortages result from a failure to appropriately redistribute our nation’s abundant total water resources.

We envision a major combined federal and private hallmark program for the nation – an Interstate Water System (IWS), which would rival in importance and transformative potential the Interstate Highway System, whose formation was championed by President Dwight Eisenhower. America already moves some water and stores it in man-made lakes, and the IWS would be designed to expand the country’s water-related infrastructure by crossing state boundaries to transport water from where America has an abundance of it to where it is needed. With modifications and expansions over time, no part of the U.S. need find itself short of water.

The IWS is practicable. Assume that an initial goal might be doubling the water flow, averaging about 20,000 cubic feet per second, to Colorado River system reservoirs. Pumping Mississippi River water to about 4,000-5,000 feet altitude would likely be needed to supply reservoirs Lake Mead (altitude 1,100 feet) and/or Lake Powell (altitude 3,600 feet). We estimate that fewer than 10 power plants of typical one-gigawatt size could provide the energy to move water halfway across the nation to double the flow of the Colorado River, while gravity-driven flow turning turbines below its reservoir lakes would eventually regenerate much of the input energy required.

A Bold Fix For The West’s Water Woes

Truthfully, I think Trump would support it if California and other western states asked but I just don’t see this happening.

Water Words

Over the weekend, I made the trek to Anaheim to attend the Board meeting of the California Republican Assembly. I may find the time to blog on the particulars at a later date but this article is not about the meeting per se or the stupid comments posted by other bloggers that didn’t attend the meeting. No this blog is about water.

Over the last few years, many Republicans in elected office have adopted the mantra that the drought in California is manmade disaster. This claim was repeated at the Board meeting several times by Republican Legislators.

While government has mismanaged the usage of water and failed to build more storage since the time Governor Brown’s father was in office, this claim by Republicans is intellectual laziness.

Without rain, storage is only going to get your so far. Yes government could do more but to place all blame on Democrats is dishonest and lazy.

Consider this:
• When Republicans ran the California Legislature, did this issue get addressed and fixed? NO
• When Republicans occupied the Governor’s Office, did this issue get addressed and fixed? NO
• When Republicans have run Congress both House and/or Senate did this get fixed? NO
• When Republicans have occupied the White House did this get fixed? NO
• Is there a comprehensive Republican fix awaiting passage at the State or National level? NO

Lakebed of Indian Valley Reservoir Feb 15, 2014 #1


Lakebed of Indian Valley Reservoir Feb 15, 2014 #2

So the obvious rebuttal to this claim is: “Hey Republicans, what the hell are you waiting for?”

The truth is Republicans have done nothing in decades.  For example, the last meaningful action taken on the Auburn Dam was by Assemblyman David Knowles in the 1990’s. Since then I don’t know of any efforts to move the issue. Clearly, Republicans would rather have the issue than see it solved.

Back when Dan Lungren was a big deal in Congress, I tried to talk with him about water; specifically, desalinization so that Southern California could be less dependent on water from the North. He shut me down and wouldn’t even engage me in a conversation. It was just the two of us in a Republican booth in Elk Grove and he wasn’t interested. As far as I can tell, Republicans still aren’t.

Clearly we need more storage but that is not enough. We need a “Manhattan Project” styled effort to make Southern California water self-sufficient. The largest body of water on the planet is on your doorstep, use it. If you want to save Mono Lake, Hetch Hetchy, little fishes and whatever else, then this is the logical way to do it.

Republican rhetoric is not going to solve anything. We need meaningful action. Unfortunately, none is forthcoming on either the State level or the national. Republican control of both the House and Senate has never resulted in a bill being passed.

Republicans are not serious about the issue. If they were, they would get it done and not worry about who got the credit. That is the Reagan way.  Reagan had this plaque on his desk for a reason, “There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.”