Thursday, July 14, 2011

Drink Your Pool

Coming from Chicago and later Cleveland I’ve always lived around the Great Lakes where water is plentiful. 

It used to surprise me, however, on business flights to Phoenix to see the glint of light from all the swimming pools on the approach to SkyHarbor Airport.  Later, as I drove to appointments, it was difficult not to notice the lush yards of homes and businesses.

My folks lived in south Florida at the time and the lawns of Phoenix always reminded me of the lawns in Florida.  As I would enter Phoenix and drive through the city forty years ago I remember thinking, “If these folks want to live in Florida they should just move there.” 

I wondered vaguely if the Florida wannabes living in the desert will ever wish they could drink their pool.

Out here now I marvel at the flora and fauna that thrive in this desiccated environment, a unique beauty…and a challenge of adaptive change .

For the Verde Valley and its close neighbors, the consideration is different.  Temperatures are more moderate and there are few pools. Ultimately, however, water is just as scarce.

The Northern Arizona Groundwater Model, a computer tool developed by the Water Advisory Council in conjunction with the USGS, provides the capability of guiding water management of the Verde River basin. 

According to Steve Ayers of Verde News, the computer program is “a numerical groundwater model that allows for the simulation of recharge to, and withdrawals from, the system, be they natural or man made.”

Further, he points out, “it means that by sitting behind a computer, loaded with the calculations of a numerical groundwater model, you can simulate the effects caused in one place, when you begin pumping groundwater from some other another place.”

Organizations can attach any number they want to water supply issues, but the result will be disappointing – there ain’t much there.  Just look out your back door.

If people living in the desert are counting on "adaptive change" they may have to wait hundreds of generations as did the cacti.