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August 19, 2010 – Comments (3)

Introduction: It does not take a law degree to understand water law and policy in the western United States. Ten basic legal and historical principles govern the rights to and uses of water in the West. By understanding these ten Water Laws of the West anyone can then understand the current issues of water and its relationship to the future of the West.

I. The Law of Gravity: The First Water Law of the West is the Law of Gravity. Water runs down hill. The initial uses of water in the West involved the use of gravity to tap rivers and divert their flows into canals for delivery to farms and mines. This is also known as Newton's Law.

That was the teaser. For laws 2 - 9 I refer you to the authors website. 

But # 10 and the conclusion, I thought I would share. - Devoish

X. The Law of Vanishing Civilizations: The Tenth (or Last) Water Law of the West should be called the Hohokam Law of Water and Gravity. Under this law, if there is no rain, there is no water to flow down hill. What went up--the buildings and the civilization--may crumble to dust if Mother Nature decides to hold a long drought. Lying beneath the streets of Phoenix are the ruins of the ancient Hohokam Indian metropolis that vanished prior to 1400 AD. Phoenix is the second city to be built on the same site in reliance on the erratic flows of the Salt River. Californians prayed for rain for the last six years (apparently successfully) because they didn't have enough water to flush their toilets. Many Southern Californians had been heard to ask "what do you mean this used to be a desert?"

Conclusion: The principles that govern Western water law and policy have a long and somewhat distinguished history. It should also be noted that similar arid environment ditch-dependent civilizations ultimately collapsed under extreme environmental stresses, internal political conflict, and invasion by barbarian hordes. This is worth contemplating after a six year drought with various water interests fighting over who will get water in times of future shortages while the streets of Santa Monica or Scottsdale are filled with RVs with New Jersey license plates. - Hugh Holub

3 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On August 19, 2010 at 9:20 AM, Jbay76 (< 20) wrote:

LOL...having grown up in SoCal, Ilived through some serious drought periods..the link is funy and true, sadly enough

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#2) On August 20, 2010 at 11:12 AM, chk999 (99.96) wrote:

Turning seawater into fresh is pretty easy. Use a big nuke plant on the coast to make electricity. Use the waste heat to run a large multi-stage flash distillation unit. Use some of the power to pump the water where we need it. 

Liberals won't like this idea because it involves nukes and doing something instead of handwringing. 

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#3) On August 20, 2010 at 3:54 PM, devoish (78.10) wrote:


Easy does it with the liberal bashing there, big fella. Liberals will not like the idea because nukes are the wrong thing to do. The Conservative in me doesn't like the idea because nukes are the most expensive thing to do.

Entrepeneurs - Socially Liberal, Financially Conservative entrepeneurs - have plenty of solutions, (CREE, LXU, OPTT, YGE, FSL, WFI in Toronto) not handwringing, so you can shove the useless political portion of your comment right back up your a** with the rest of the crap that resides therein.

I do not need nuclear waste to power a desalination plant. Neither do you.

Was that too harsh?

Saudi Arabia’s national science agency announced a new initiative to build solar-powered desalination plants to reduce water and energy costs by 40 percent, Arab News reports.

“Desalination is our strategic choice to supply an adequate amount of drinking water to people across the Kingdom,” said Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf at the launch ceremony. Different sources estimate that between 50 to 70 percent of the country’s drinking water is desalinated, a process that requires a lot of energy.

Saudi Arabia uses 1.5 million barrels of oil per day at its plants, according to Arab News. But the solar-powered plants will help keep costs down. Prices for desalinated water have been trending upward in Saudi Arabia in recent years, said the Saudi Minister of Water and Electricity, Emirates Business reported. 


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