Water Crisis: Lake Mead, Largest US Reservoir, Faces Federal “Water Emergency,” Forced Rationing

Leak Mead – on your left, when you drive from Las Vegas across the Hoover Dam – is the largest reservoir in the country when at capacity. It’s fed by the Colorado River which provides water for agriculture, industry, and 40 million people in Nevada, Arizona, California, and Mexico, including Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, and Las Vegas. Now after 15 years of drought, the “lake” – a mud puddle surrounded by a huge chalky bathtub ring – is threatening to run dry.

It’s considered “operationally full” when the water level is at 1,229 feet elevation above sea level. On May 2, the water level was down to 1,078.9 feet above sea level, the lowest since it was being filled in May 1937. It’s down 15 feet from the same day a year ago. Over the last 36 months, the water level has dropped 44.8 feet. It’s down 150 feet from capacity.

If the water level is below 1,075 feet elevation – 4 feet below today’s level – by January 1, 2016, it will trigger a federal water emergency. And water rationing. Las Vegas Review Journal reported that forecasters expect the level to drop to 1073 feet by June, before Lake Powell would begin to release more water. Assuming “average or better snow accumulations in the mountains that feed the Colorado River – something that’s happened only three times in the past 15 years,” the water level on January 1 is expected to be barely above the federal shortage level.

Even with these somewhat rosy assumptions of “average or better than average snow accumulations,” the water level would begin set new lows next April. But if the next winter is anything like the last few, all bets are off.

If the level drops below 1050 feet, one of the two intake pipes for the Las Vegas Valley, which gets 90% of its water that way, will run dry. A new $817-million tunnel is being built by the Southern Nevada Water Authority to create a new drain to get the last drop out of the bathtub. It should be ready by September.

The LA Times explains what water rationing would mean for the states:

Las Vegas has long been at a disadvantage when it comes to Lake Mead water. A 1922 Colorado River water-sharing agreement among seven Western states — one still in effect nearly a century later — gives southern Nevada the smallest amount of all; 300,000 acre-feet a year, compared with California’s 4.4 million annual acre-feet. An acre-foot can supply two average homes for one year.

This summer, officials will make their projection for Lake Mead water in January 2016. If the estimate is below 1,075 feet, rationing kicks in: Southern Nevada would lose 13,000 acre-feet per year and Arizona would lose 320,000 acre-feet. California’s portion would not be affected.

Note the last sentence – that California would not be affected. Keeping lawns green in LA is top priority.

“Between Lake Mead and Lake Powell, you have over 50 million acre feet in storage when they’re full,” explained Pat Mulroy, former general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority from 1991 until she retired in 2014. “To have them both go down to a quarter of their capacity is a pretty scary proposition,” she said.

Here she is, via Brookings, on the water crisis at Lake Mead, with ghostly images of the lake and of Hover Dam sitting high and dry:

To get through the drought, residents and growers in California’s Central Valley have been pumping water from aquifers to take a shower, fill a glass with water, irrigate almond orchards, or do a million other things. But now, it turns out, those aquifers, whose water levels are already dropping, are threatened by something else. NBC Bay Area video…. Fracking Wastewater Injected into Clean Aquifers in Parched California

Prep School: Bay Area Survivalists Are Ready for the Big One

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Wednesday, May 6 2015

  • Armageddon chic: From protests to post-earthquake disasters, the gas mask is a perennial.

If you drive around the outskirts of El Dorado Hills long enough, you might chance upon the secluded 60-acre compound where Gary Miller and his friends are preparing for Armageddon. They have a water well, pallets of freeze-dried food from Costco, a Chevy alternator jerry-rigged with shovel blades that generate electricity as they spin, and a stockpile of guns and ammo.

“My motto is, be prepared and be safe,” Miller says. “If you think the government is going to help you, you’re misguided.”

Miller is a prepper, one of the estimated 3 to 4 million Americans who plan for catastrophe and the vigilantism sure to follow. The recent 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal that killed more than 6,000 is a haunting reminder that San Francisco, too, is a time bomb. San Andreas, Hayward, Calaveras — the very names of the fault lines are a kind of sinister catcall that sets Miller on edge. “There are only three ways out of the city,” he tells me, and neither of the bridges will be passable. Miller never drives into San Francisco unless his Ford Explorer is stocked with everything he and his wife will need to survive in the wilderness for a month.

In a statement released April 27, Mayor Ed Lee said, “We know disasters … can happen at any time with little or no warning. That is why it is important to take steps now so you are ready for any emergency.” Miller has been ready since 1992. Back then he worked with computers at Moffett Field — he alludes to classified Army projects and NASA — and was an early believer in Y2K armageddon. He spent $20,000 on a generator and other hardware; $6,000 on the freeze-dried food that now fills every closet in his house; and $500 on a military-style hiking backpack that accommodates food, surgical equipment, clothing, toiletries, a fishing pole, a .22 rifle with scope, and ammo — enough supplies to completely cover his California King bed.

Three months ago, Miller and his son launched Norcal-preppers.com, a prepper supply website. “Social Security doesn’t pay enough,” Miller says when I ask why, at 68, he’s venturing into online retail. A better answer might be that like many preppers who talk shop on message boards, he is eager to connect with like-minded folks. Miller says he knows 50 or 60 preppers around the Bay Area, many of them firefighters, police officers, paramedics, or ex-military. Indeed, a former Army Ranger owns the El Dorado Hills compound where Miller and his cohorts stage bugouts, carefully choreographed disaster drills that can last all weekend.

Miller isn’t alone in the Bay Area. A cursory glance at prepper forums reveals a patchwork network of survivalists bracing for the next Big One. A message recently posted to the California Preppers Group solicited volunteers for a bugout to be held on a private ranch near Livermore-Tracy. And on Meetup, at least two active Bay Area prepper groups have a combined membership of nearly 700. On Twitter, the SF QuakeBot automatically updates 105,000 followers about every seismic twitch in the area.

When I ask Bill Snitzer, the bot’s developer, about the followers’ relationship with earthquakes, he responds that he’s noticed “people who have some kind of obsession,” singling out one follower who compulsively retweets the bot. “I’ve also noticed a lot of the followers are prepper types,” Snitzer says, “but by no means a majority.” Based on demographic data Snitzer provided, it also seems many followers (64 percent of whom are male) have a healthy sense of humor. Among the other Twitter accounts they most often follow are Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, and The Onion.

The earthquake in Nepal is no laughing matter for those like Miller, who are preparing for a similar disaster here. In March, the U.S. Geological Survey announced that the likelihood of a mega-quake — defined as 8.0 magnitude or greater — striking California in the next 30 years is seven percent. The USGS also reported that multiple faults could rupture simultaneously and that earthquakes could jump from one fault to another. On prepper forums, Nepal has inspired seriocomic debates about how such devastation would affect the Golden State.

“How big of a quake do you guys think it would take to cause california [sic] to become its on [sic] island due to the san adres [sic] fault line?” one commenter asked. Another, already envisioning marauders in the streets, declared, “In the end our only friend will be a bayonet, and the will to use it without remorse.” Some pointed to the recent unrest in Baltimore as a case study in social breakdown. “What have we learned? We need more ARs [assault rifles]. That’s for damn sure.” It’s worth noting that the subject of guns is complex and factious among preppers. It’s the one thing Miller refuses to discuss, except to say, “Everyone in my family could shoot you at 500 yards.”

It’s been a quarter-century since a major earthquake shook San Francisco. (Miller summed up the 1989 Loma Prieta quake like this: “You haven’t experienced an earthquake until you’ve been in a waterbed and felt that fucker roll you over.”) Although critical infrastructure upgrades have been made — especially on bridges and BART tunnels — and while retrofitting continues apace, much work remains. An investigation by NBC Bay Area found that a third of the region’s acute care hospitals are at risk of collapsing during a strong trembler; 55 percent of state levees are considered “high hazard”; and 474 area bridges are structurally deficient. Moreover,San Francisco Public Press reported that at least 5,000 residences in San Francisco still need to be retrofitted.

Preppers everywhere live by the credo of “not if, but when.” As one online prepper counseled his fellow doomsday watchers, “Some people don’t like being labeled as ‘survivalists,’ but I think it’s much better than being labeled ‘refugee.'”

Could A Tiny Five-Man Company Provide The Army’s Next Pistol?

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Posted by Bob Owens on April 28, 2015 at 5:54 pm

St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Tim Barker just did a story on the small Milstadt, Illinois company that some people seem to think has a real shot of being a serious contenderfor the Army’s Modular Handgun System contract.

At first glance, it seems absurd to suggest that a small company on the outskirts of St. Louis could be a serious player in the race to provide the U.S. Army with its next handgun.

This is, after all, a major event in the realm of military weapons — having happened only twice in the past 100 or so years. And it’s expected to draw the attention of the industry’s most powerful names, including Smith & Wesson, Beretta, Ruger and Glock.

And then there’s tiny Detonics, a five-person operation in Millstadt that fashions itself more tech company than gunmaker.

They’ll be facing deep-pocketed competitors with lobbyists, squads of marketing and public relations staffers, and friends in Congress.

“There’s just no comparison to what these large companies have in the way of resources,” said Bruce Siddle, Detonics’ chief executive.

But what his company does have, he said, is a gun that would give the military what it craves — a weapon with a modular design offering easy customizing to fit different hands as well as different missions. The ideas behind it even prompted a 2013 invitation from the Army’s modular handguns group, which asked for a presentation on the company’s efforts.

Barker contacted me about this article, so feel free to read the whole thing to see my comments.

There is still another industry day ahead to answer questions about the contract, and it appears that an official Army RFP is still several months down the road, providing the Army doesn’t kill the program entirely as they have other small arms contracts in recent years.

What I can tell you at this time is that the STX is the only truly modular, all-metal handgun in contention at this time that meets the MHS requirements, and that’s not a small thing.

[Photo By David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com]

supplies

What is an Emergency?

You Can….

  1. live 3 minutes without air

  2. live 3 days without water

  3. live 3 weeks without food

Caught outdoors order of  importance

  1. Shelter

  2. Water

  3. Food

You should also be ready to be self sufficient for at least
three days. This may mean providing for your own shelter, first aid, food, water and sanitation…..Local responders may not be able to reach you immediately, or they may need to focus their efforts elsewhere.

— Joe M. Allbaugh Director of FEMA

Why wait until it’s too late?

Shop For Emergency Supplies




Click a tag below for more information about supplies




Disconnecting from the Electric Grid is Closer than you Think.

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Tesla Energy

Powerwall

Powerwall is available in 10kWh, optimized for backup applications or 7kWh optimized for daily use applications. Both can be connected with solar or grid and both can provide backup power. The 10kWh Powerwall is optimized to provide backup when the grid goes down, providing power for your home when you need it most. When paired with solar power, the 7kWh Powerwall can be used in daily cycling to extend the environmental and cost benefits of solar into the night when sunlight is unavailable.

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Tesla’s selling price to installers is $3500 for 10kWh and $3000 for 7kWh. (Price excludes inverter and installation.) Deliveries begin in late Summer.

Powerwall specs:

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  • Mounting: Wall Mounted Indoor/Outdoor
  • Inverter: Pairs with growing list of inverters
  • Energy: 7 kWh or 10 kWh
  • Continuous Power: 2 kW
  • Peak Power: 3.3 kW
  • Round Trip Efficiency: >92%
  • Operating Temperature Range: -20C (-4F) to 43C (110F)
  • Warranty: 10 years
  • Dimensions: H: 1300mm W: 860mm D:180mm

Highlighted Powerwall Distribution Partners

Treehouse
TreeHouse, a sustainable home improvement store, is collaborating with Tesla to sell Powerwall. “For the first time, running your home on a battery will be affordable and easy,” says TreeHouse co-founder and president Jason Ballard. “I think in the near future, having a battery in your home will be as normal as having a water heater or a dishwasher.” Ballard added, “This just takes us one step closer to being able to power homes completely without the use of fossil fuels.”

Fronius
Fronius and Tesla have partnered on a global level to offer Powerwall in combination with the Fronius Symo Hybrid inverter as a seamless solution for residential PV systems. For new PV installations, homeowners can use the Fronius inverter to operate both the PV and Powerwall, which reduces the overall system cost. For homeowners that already have solar PV, the Fronius inverter can be added to the system (AC coupled) or replace the existing inverter (DC coupled), and the Fronius solution will function with any type of solar energy system. This makes the Fronius plus Tesla solution a highly flexible solution across the globe.

Fronius is a leading inverter manufacturer in the global market, with nearly 1 million inverters installed worldwide. Fronius is known for both innovation and high quality, with 1,008 active patents and 23 years of solar experience. Its products are exported through 22 international Fronius subsidiaries and sales partners/representatives in over 60 countries. The company is a multi-industry leader in the fields of energy storage, battery charging, and welding technology. Fronius and Tesla are pleased to expand a current successful relationship into the realm of energy storage.

SolarEdge
SolarEdge, a leader in the global PV inverter market, and Tesla partnered for the joint development of a PV storage and backup power solution for the worldwide residential solar market. Building on SolarEdge’s proven DC optimized inverter proven and Tesla’s leading automotive-grade battery technology, the solution will require only a single SolarEdge inverter to manage both PV and storage functions. The system is designed for efficient, outdoor installation and includes remote monitoring and troubleshooting to keep operations and maintenance costs low.

Founded in 2006, SolarEdge provides an intelligent inverter solution that has changed the way power is harvested and managed in solar photovoltaic systems. The SolarEdge DC optimized inverter system maximizes power generation at the individual PV module-level while lowering the cost of energy produced by the solar PV system. Since beginning commercial shipments in 2010, SolarEdge has shipped more than 1.3 Gigawatt (‘‘GW’’) of its DC optimized inverter systems, including over 220,000 inverters, its products have been installed in PV systems in more than 73 countries, and more than 100,000 systems are monitored in its cloud-based monitoring portal.

Green Mountain Power
At Green Mountain Power we are thrilled to bring Tesla’s innovative home battery storage to Vermont as part of a radical transformation of how energy is generated and used to empower customers to save money and increase reliability and resiliency. As Vermont’s energy company of the future, we are turning the old utility model on its head, and offering products and services to help Vermonters use less energy and one day rely on the grid as a backup system. GMP is focused on a future that moves away from dirty inefficient sources of energy to a clean, sustainable and cost effective energy future. Powerwall will speed up the pace of change and keep Vermont on the cutting edge of innovation.”

Tesla Energy for Businesses

Based on the powertrain architecture and components of Tesla electric vehicles, Tesla energy storage systems deliver broad application compatibility and streamlined installation by integrating batteries, power electronics, thermal management and controls into a turn key system.

Tesla’s energy storage allows businesses to capture the full potential of their facility’s solar arrays by storing excess generation for later use and delivering solar power at all times. Tesla Energy for Businesses anticipates and discharges stored power during a facility’s times of highest usage, reducing the demand charge component of the energy energy bills.

Energy storage for business is designed to:

  • Maximize consumption of on-site clean power
  • Avoid peak demand charges
  • Buy electricity when it’s cheapest
  • Get paid by utility or intermediate service providers for participating in grid services
  • Back up critical business operations in the event of a power outage

Highlighted Tesla Energy Businesses

Amazon
Launched in 2006, Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers a robust, fully featured technology infrastructure platform in the cloud comprised of a broad set of compute, storage, database, analytics, application, and deployment services from data center locations in the U.S., Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Ireland, Japan, and Singapore. More than a million customers, including fast-growing startups, large enterprises, and government agencies across 190 countries, rely on AWS services to innovate quickly, lower IT costs, and scale applications globally. To serve these customers, AWS is committed to operating in the most environmentally friendly way possible. In addition to the environmental benefits inherently associated with running applications in the cloud, AWS has a long-term commitment to achieve 100% renewable energy usage for its global infrastructure footprint. Today, three AWS Regions are 100% carbon-neutral, including US West (Oregon), EU (Frankfurt), and AWS GovCloud (US).

“We’ve been working closely with Tesla for the past year to drive innovative applications of high-capacity battery technology in data center applications with the ultimate goal of reducing the technical barriers limiting widespread adoption of renewables in the grid,” said James Hamilton, Distinguished Engineer at AWS. “Batteries are important for both data center reliability and as enablers for the efficient application of renewable power. They help bridge the gap between intermittent production, from sources like wind, and the data center’s constant power demands. We’re excited to roll out a 4.8 megawatt hour pilot of Tesla’s energy storage batteries in our US West (Northern California) Region. This complements our strategy to use renewable energy to power our global infrastructure.”

Target
“As part of Target’s support to our communities, we’re excited to partner with Tesla on a pilot test at select Target stores to incorporate Tesla Energy Storage as part of our energy strategy,” said David Hughes, senior group manager, Energy Management, Target. “Tesla’s cutting-edge technology offers unique benefits to powering these stores, most importantly relieving stress from the electrical grid at peak times, furthering Target’s investment in designing and operating energy-efficient and sustainable buildings.”

Jackson Family Wines 
Jackson Family Wines (JFW) is a collection of premium and luxury wineries best known for its acclaimed Kendall-Jackson Winery. Sustainability is intentional at JFW; we have taken a two-fold approach to energy management at our wineries by improving operational efficiency across all levels of our organization and reinvesting those savings in onsite renewable energy systems.

With Tesla’s stationary energy storage solution, JFW can significantly mitigate energy use around four areas that account for the most consumption in our winemaking process: refrigeration/cooling, lighting, compressed air and process water treatment. Each battery pack will draw electricity from the grid or our onsite solar arrays during times of low demand and store it for later use to smooth out energy spikes.

EnerNoc
EnerNOC’s energy intelligence software helps customers make the most of Tesla’s energy storage systems by integrating them into an overall energy management strategy. EnerNOC’s software easily integrates with any site that has a Tesla energy storage system, optimizing battery usage during high price periods and enabling customers to utilize batteries for demand charge management and demand response.

Tesla Energy for Utilities

Advanced Microgrid Solutions (grid resource adequacy)
“Tesla’s bold approach to advancing battery technology will change the way we build our cities forever” -Susan Kennedy, co-founder and CEO of Advanced Microgrid Solutions.

OnCor (microgrid)
Oncor realizes the electric industry is changing as well as our customers’ needs for electric service. Oncor believes the only way to prepare for customers’ future needs is with a flexible, adaptive electric grid which can only be accomplished through the use of technology like advanced meters, smart grid and electric storage. Tesla has long demonstrated its ability to be a technology leader which is why Oncor has looked to Tesla for grid-scale storage. Oncor looks forward to working with Tesla to make sure the electric grid meets all customers’ future needs.

Southern California Edison
Edison International is proud of its efforts to help create a market for battery storage systems and its work with Tesla to bring this technology to customers. Southern California Edison (SCE), the regulated utility subsidiary of Edison International, has developed the nation’s largest battery storage system and has contracts in place for an additional 264 megawatts of storage, including projects using Tesla batteries. SCE is working with Tesla on three demonstration projects that can help drive down the cost of battery storage systems for residential and business customers, as well as EV drivers. These demand response demonstration projects will test communication capabilities and explore rebates to customers who allow SCE to manage their battery charging in order to increase the use of renewable energy while ensuring continued grid reliability.

SoCore Energy, a subsidiary of Edison Energy, which is Edison International’s portfolio of competitive businesses and equity interests in emerging companies, is working with a client to design and install Tesla batteries at two of their retail properties in Southern California. The sites will feature Tesla battery units that will be charged with electricity from the grid during nonpeak hours at night. The two battery systems will be able to store up to 400 kilowatts and 600 kilowatts, respectively. SoCore Energy is working with its client to identify additional locations for potential battery installations. SoCore Energy is not the same company as Southern California Edison, the utility, and SoCore Energy is not regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission.

AES (solar paired at a utility level)
Tesla Motors’ commitment to battery production will help meet the growing demand for energy storage; as a launch partner, we are particularly pleased to leverage the home battery product across our distributed energy platforms. AES has been providing grid-scale energy storage solutions for seven years, building on more than 30 years of experience serving utilities with power solutions that improve lives.The AES Advancion™ digital control system for energy storage manages best-in-class batteries and other components for both centralized and distributed storage systems. In addition, AES’ world-class capability in engineering, installation and operations and maintenance enable turnkey energy storage solutions from KWs to hundreds of MW for utilities and end customers.

Tesla Press Release