Based on [Crater Lake] park records, the on-ground snow total of 4 inches at the park’s weather station Tuesday morning was the lowest in recorded history, since record keeping began in 1931. The previous record on Jan. 7 was 14 inches in 1990; while the normal on-ground total for Jan. 7 is 70 inches. [Herald and News]It looks like the National Drought Mitigation Center is projecting us for a drought this year, and the way we manage our water supply has implications for the way we manage city growth and city budgets.
|Drought Monitor for Oregon: Moderate Drought for us!|
via National Drought Mitigation Center, January report
|Creeks feeding the Santiam and Willamette Rivers|
will be low in 2040!
from last year's Climate Assessment
|A big water main to serve industrial development|
Are Salemites creating a situation in which future industry will have a greater claim to our mountain drinking water than our citizens and residential customers?
And will our expansion of water service to industry (remember we also have that big Mill Creek industrial park the City is pushing) accelerate the timeline for reverting to drinking water from the Willamette - and all the caffeine, endocrine-disruptors, and pesticide residue this entails?
This is something that Salemites may not have given sufficient attention to!
There's also the question whether the development on the periphery of the city will ever pay enough in fees and taxes to warrant the capital costs of infrastructure to serve it. (See Strong Towns on the "growth ponzi scheme.")
Like rail, water isn't a core matter for the blog, and I have no idea how big an 18" water main really is relative to the total supply or to a normal range of water main sizes. But what I am sure of, is that Salem was late to the pure drinking water thing, building access to mountain water only in the late 1930s (Portland and Eugene were several decades earlier). Up to then we had water from the Willamette, sourced from under Minto Island near the Pringle Creek and Slough confluence. The Willamette was also a sewer for industry and home. You get the picture: The water wasn't clean, and illness too frequent.
We may not fully appreciate how wonderful it is that we don't have to drink water from the Willamette. We may also not appreciate how much longer that wonderful state is likely to last.
Come this summer, when drought makes water scarcer, and a cool drink all the more pleasant after a ride, it may be we'll want to think a lot harder about it.