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Water / hydrology Water, water rights, and development

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,174
Points
51
Question of the day is how much can we develop based on our water availability... the answer is we have WAY more water than staff to review those development plans.

Moderator note:

Maister: moved from RTDNTOTO.
 
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DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
14,948
Points
51
Question of the day is how much can we develop based on our water availability... the answer is we have WAY more water than staff to review those development plans.
Buying and selling water rights is a big deal out here. I have a friend that works for the state specifically representing the Colorado River compact. I don't get in to the whole thing too deep.

If you're bored, read Cadillac Desert. Good read on the subject of water.
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
28,693
Points
71
The law is funny where water is concerned. East of the Mississippi it tends to be treated as the public enemy, but in the arid west it's focused on who has first dibs.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
13,902
Points
57
The law is funny where water is concerned. East of the Mississippi it tends to be treated as the public enemy, but in the arid west it's focused on who has first dibs.
In the Great Lakes watershed, you best not be 'dumping' it outside the shed if it originally came from here.

The southernmost portion of the community actually crosses the divide between the Mississppi shed and the Great Lakes'. It's a Big Deal.
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
28,693
Points
71
In the Great Lakes watershed, you best not be 'dumping' it outside the shed if it originally came from here.

The southernmost portion of the community actually crosses the divide between the Mississppi shed and the Great Lakes'. It's a Big Deal.
Wouldn't it be cool if we could divert all that Great Lakes water into the upper Mississippi basin?
 

WSU MUP Student

Cyburbian
Messages
10,585
Points
46
In the Great Lakes watershed, you best not be 'dumping' it outside the shed if it originally came from here.

The southernmost portion of the community actually crosses the divide between the Mississppi shed and the Great Lakes'. It's a Big Deal.
I remember when there was something going on in the MIlwaukee area a few years back and they were trying to get more drinking water out of Lake Michigan. I thought to myself, "Well, of course they can have some. They're on the lake!" Then I started looking at some maps of the watershed and found that once you get a few miles away from the shore in Wisconsin, you are in the Mississippi watershed instead of the Great Lakes. Much of the city of Milwaukee and most of the suburbs are not in the Great Lakes watershed (same thing around Chicagoland).
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
13,902
Points
57
I remember when there was something going on in the MIlwaukee area a few years back and they were trying to get more drinking water out of Lake Michigan. I thought to myself, "Well, of course they can have some. They're on the lake!" Then I started looking at some maps of the watershed and found that once you get a few miles away from the shore in Wisconsin, you are in the Mississippi watershed instead of the Great Lakes. Much of the city of Milwaukee and most of the suburbs are not in the Great Lakes watershed (same thing around Chicagoland).
Yep. The divide in the western Chicagoland area is, effectively, in downtown Oak Park, IL about 9 miles due west of Lake Michigan.



Many of the Chicago suburbs west of the divide have Lake Michigan water mainly because they knew restrictions were coming and spent billions to connect across much of the Metro (especially in the North and Northwest burbs). That's why, for example, Schaumburg, IL (about 10 miles west of the Des Plaines River) has Lake Michigan water.
 

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
14,948
Points
51
Yes, but have any of your states taken up arms to defend their water rights?

 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
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Messages
13,902
Points
57
Yes, but have any of your states taken up arms to defend their water rights?

No.

Even if you're not in the Great Lakes' basin, there is a shite ton of ground water and surface rivers that can and are tapped and treated for drinking water.

Oh...and it actually rains regularly/amply outside of winter in my part of the country...plus...winter snow. :D
 
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Maister

Chairman of the bored
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
28,693
Points
71
You really can't discuss water out west without bringing up the Los Angeles aqueduct. Kinda shaped the political climate concerning water policy out West.


Fantastic idea.
Joking aside, they actually have been connected over a 100 years ago. Granted, in a very limited fashion physically, but significant economically.


And for what it's worth, the Great Lakes has fared poorly in the exchange
 

MD Planner

Cyburbian
Messages
2,509
Points
38
The law is funny where water is concerned. East of the Mississippi it tends to be treated as the public enemy, but in the arid west it's focused on who has first dibs.
I had some grad classes back in the day about water resources and law. The west is much different than the east. Generally in the west the rule of law is "first in time, first in right" so even if you're not drawing water now you have the right to because you were there first. It's such a disconnect we have fields in the midwest that install tiles and pipes to drain water so that they can plant and yet in the west we essentially divert so much water from the Colorado River to irrigate freaking desert lands that often water never even reaches the Sea of Cortez.

If people truly had to pay for what water was really worth they'd be a lot more conservative about its use. I live in a hot, sometimes dry area in the southeast. It drives me absolutely crazy to see how many properties have irrigation systems that are spraying treated water on their lawns! What an incredible waste of resources. I worked for a city (in the east) that did have water issues and in fact during two different droughts had to truck water 24/7 to keep up with demand.
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
28,693
Points
71
I had some grad classes back in the day about water resources and law. The west is much different than the east. Generally in the west the rule of law is "first in time, first in right" so even if you're not drawing water now you have the right to because you were there first. It's such a disconnect we have fields in the midwest that install tiles and pipes to drain water so that they can plant and yet in the west we essentially divert so much water from the Colorado River to irrigate freaking desert lands that often water never even reaches the Sea of Cortez.
I don't know if you were active when @otterpop was active, but he lived in Montana and used to say how people would habitually identify themselves in terms of how many generations their families had lived in the area. Like someone standing up to speak at a public hearing about, say, a parking lot variance would typically offer a preamble like: "My name is Joe Smith and my family moved here in 1887. This parking lot variance is a bad idea because...." I can't help but wonder if this practice originates from water law and the longer one's family has been there suggests their opinion should hold primacy.
 
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