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Here is the weather forecast for the next three days: highs 105, 107, 111. Lows: 83, 85, 81.

I have a question for NN regarding energy consumption. Is it really wise to bring a bunch of people who will require a bunch of energy just to stay alive in the desert in the middle of summer? And, are they going to be required to bring their own water with them?

Basically, Arizona gets its water either from wells or from the Colorado River system, which is the most over-adjudicated river system in the US. The Colorado headwaters are either in Colorado or Wyoming, depending on how you choose to look at the maps, and the river heads toward Mexico to a once-flourishing delta, but does not ever quite make it there any more (except maybe this year for a few days).

I think Arizona is an incredibly beautiful and scenic state. The Sonoran desert is a national treasure, as are the "sky island" mountains of southern Arizona. The mountains around Flagstaff and the Mogollon Rim are gorgeous with their ponderosa pines stands, too. And, of course there is the beautiful sandstone country around Sedona and Prescott...

But Phoenix, not so much.

The Valley of the Sun is, in my opinion, an overgrown eyesore. People have been encouraged to move there and behave as though they are still in the Midwest where water consumption is not discouraged. Sprawl is horrifying, as it spreads to outlying areas and ruins the whole desert night sky experience, which is one of the most exhilirating things about the desert. Clear bright stars should be the norm in the desert.

If you fly into Sky Harbor, you will see whole neighborhoods where every single house has a swimming pool that probably needs to be cooled to be usable in the hot summer months.  This makes no sense in the desert. Think of the evaporation rate at the incredibly low humidity level in Arizona and just imagine the water loss over the course of one day.

And this is personal to me because I live in Colorado where that water is coming from. We have to watch how much we use because of the Colorado River Water Compact, which guarantees a certain amount of water to downstream states. That in itself is not a bad thing at all. What is objectionable is the waste of that water for swimming pool after swimming pool in the same neighborhood!

So, I am hoping Meteor Blades will weigh in on the environmental impacts of holding NN 2015 in Phoenix. He knows a lot about the ecology of the West and could be quite useful in any discussion of NN and the Southwestern environment.

As for the hateful legislation regarding immigrants and the truly horrifying Sheriff Joe, I would never question Markos and Armando about their feelings. They are more than entitled, as they both have a personal stake.

For those who think that somehow holding NN in Phoenix will boost the fortunes of progressives, I would simply ask if that has happened anywhere else that has hosted NN.

And, I did not hear either Kos or Armando saying they would not help with a campaign in Arizona. They just said they would not be going to NN in 2015.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Sky Harbor (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sturunner, kevinpdx, vcmvo2, figbash, G2geek

    I just flew into there today at noon. You are so right about all the pools. Terrible waste of a precious resource.

  •  Hey - don't be hating on my pool! (6+ / 0-)

    It doubles as my bath, so that makes it 'green'! Well.... actually more 'brown' after I've washed in it...

    pooltime

    "What could possibly go wrong?" - United States Supreme Court Justices

    by Fordmandalay on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 06:03:57 PM PDT

  •  I agree. Phoenix doesn't need the $$ and every (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sturunner, G2geek, a2nite

    dime you spend is almost certainly going into the pockets of people that hate you.

    When I first read a headline about this, it was truly a WTF? moment.

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

    by Greyhound on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 06:05:34 PM PDT

  •  Phoenix is becoming a humid city because of (0+ / 0-)

    all the water being used.

    "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 06:33:11 PM PDT

  •  Phoenix has 1maf a year of natural flow (8+ / 0-)

    that doesn't come from Colorado, as well as wells and CAP water from the Colorado river mainstem.  The Phoenix metro area is in better shape for water than any other metropolis in the Southwest, and most in the West.

    Technically since that 1 maf comes from the Salt it's part of the Colorado River system, but the drainage area is entirely within AZ.  Phoenix was settled because it's in a river valley with a 2000 year irrigation history.  It was not randomly placed on a sand dune.

    Most people don't realize that AZ has substantial active management of water demand, including per-capita consumption limits for water agencies which are rapidly declining, and tiered rates which penalize high users:

    http://www.azwater.gov/...

    Or that wastewater recycling is far more prevalent in AZ than, for instance, SoCal.  One example is Palo Verde, which uses reclaimed water for cooling, the only nuke in the country to do so.

    Or that Arizona is a leader in groundwater recharge.

    On energy: AZ is consistently among the states with the lowest per capita energy consumption.  

    Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

    by benamery21 on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 06:37:01 PM PDT

    •  okey dokey no problems with water in Phoenix (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek

      no problems in Phoenix with water -- bring on the development...thank you, Chamber of Commerce of Phoenix.

      sorry - Phoenix is in the middle of a desert and 2000 years ago does not count, as I highly doubt there were more than a million people living in the valley then.

      If you can promise not to take any more Colorado River water, I will stop bashing Phoenix's water consumption ...especially if I do not have to see any more swimming pools or fountains spewing water when I fly into Sky Harbor! That drives me absolutely bonkers!

      •  Only about 1/5th of AZ's 2.8maf (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        manyamile, Kevskos, Stripe, buddabelly

        Colorado River allotment goes to municipal use.  The vast majority is used for agriculture.  The majority of the produce of that agriculture is then shipped to other parts of the country.

        Take a look at the drainage basin area of the Colorado and tell me how Arizona shouldn't get ANY Colorado River water?  Compare to California, which got more than 2X as much for years and still gets 157% as much as AZ, and almost 15X as much as Nevada.

        Incidentally, with storage there which was advocated by Arizona, Colorado almost certainly keeps more 'Colorado' River water than historically.  Had the other 5 states of the 7 state compact sided with Arizona over the last century, I might be more sympathetic.

        Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

        by benamery21 on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 07:04:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  never said that (0+ / 0-)

          Arizona is entitled to its share of compact water...when did I say otherwise? All I said was that it makes me crazy to see pool after pool in Phoenix, which is, after all, in the desert. The agricultural water does something other than bathe the very hot citizens of Phoenix.

          •  I was responding to: (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mark Lippman

            "If you can promise not to take any more Colorado River water"

            Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

            by benamery21 on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 08:13:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  To be fair (4+ / 0-)

            I can almost guarantee that I have ranted more often about sprawl and residential swimming pools in AZ than you might expect.  I have much the same thought when I fly into town.

            I would much prefer that far less ag land had gone under to tile-roofed sprawl over my lifetime.  They closed the last citrus packing shed in the Valley about 15 years ago.  I tend to see residential pools as not sensible for many reasons, but am willing to continue to allow them as long as overuse of water is at punitive rates.

            What this does not mean is that I see AZ water supply as an existential crisis.  Water is tough politically, but AZ has made steady progress for many years under the regulatory framework put in place more than 3 decades ago and continues quietly working to bring supply and demand into balance.  That history is unknown to most residents, and probably most politicians.

            Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

            by benamery21 on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 08:36:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's great to come across someone who sounds (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              buddabelly

              sensible.  Swimming pools may not be the wisest use of water in the desert. I remember reading once that there isn't enough water in all of the swimming pools in Phoenix to raise the humidity in the atmosphere, even if they all completely evaporated every day, which of course they do not.

              The amount of water vapor in the atmosphere when the   humidity is 5-10% can be converted into a volume. It's enormous compared to the volume of water in all of the swimming pools. The increase in humidity would be negligible from evaporation.

              To me it's intuitive even without the Math that there isn't enough water in backyard swimming pools to raise the humidity but the urban myth persists.

    •  on that thought, in Tucson we have a separate (6+ / 0-)

      reclaimed water system to water parks and golf courses.

      We recharge a potfull of water we get through the CAP project as well as recently passing legislation allowing even encouraging grey water use for landscaping...water harvesting is highly encouraged, even subsidized to an extent.

      We also unlike Phx metro have basically eliminated lawns in private homes...sure there's some but lots more xeriscape with cactus and rock than lawns and thirsty trees  Only the oldest neighborhoods still have lawns and even most of them are gone, replaced with native plants and drip irrigation.....  

      The Mesquite might be an invader but it's a good one imo.....I love my Chileans and when they hybridize with the natives, the resulting Big Thorn Mesquite is the most vigorous and fast growing of all the Mesquites....though the 4 inch thorns when young can hurt....

      Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
      I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
      Emiliano Zapata

      by buddabelly on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 06:59:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  living in the desert (0+ / 0-)

        requires incredible changes in one's thoughts about water. I seriously question whether Phoenix and Tucson can survive these challenges. If they can, good on them, although I think the megalopolis of Phoenix is completely out of place in the desert...and I think I am in the good company of Edward Abbey when I say this...you could look it up.

        •  it sure does, I live out in the desert a bit and (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DaNang65, Meteor Blades

          though Tucson Water owns most of the Altar Valley well field and aquifer, my place is old enough that I live on a co-op well system, very small and as such we all are involved in the basics of running a water system from the pipes and mains to the well itself.

          You learn quick here that to have water is a necessity so you store water..... I keep at least a hundred gallons of drinking water, 500 for the critters and another 100+ as the containers are available for washing and such....When you have to pull a well pump at 750 feet, you need a way to keep the animals and yourself alive for a week or so without having to go to the neighbors house to fill a drum from their hose.

          Can the incredible growth Arizona saw in the last 20 years continue indefinitely, no way in hell, but signs are that it isn't.  Growth has actually slowed tremendously as has the building and destroying of open desert.  I hope it stays that way myself.  I think we can do ok economically without destroying the reason people want to come here

          Here in Tucson area we are a bit ahead of the Phoenix metro when it comes to water conservation.  We have one of the lowest per capita consumption rates in the country and conservation is a constant theme here with regular ad campaigns by Tucson Water and lots of other education and resources.  Lawns are a rarity in a home and are actually frowned on and kinda sneered at by the locals.  We do some dang nice landscaping using only native and drought tolerant plants sand and rock.  Phoenix, like Las Vegas is still fixated on that patch of sterile green water sponge.

          Neither city could survive without the power grid but unless that goes down and if we don't grow much more, we have the water to get by a long time.   Esp here in Tucson, Phx would be a bit worse off if drought here gets worse but it might not.  At least a couple models show this area of the Sonoran Desert actually getting wetter as global warming progresses and the weather patterns shift.  I hope they are right for our sake....

          I don't disagree that a huge metropolitan area like Phoenix metro  an area bigger and with more population than some states ( just as an aside, Pima county where I live has almost the exact same land area and population as New Hampshire), seems out of place in the desert and in many ways it is.  It's also there now.  the key imo is controlling future growth without killing the economy.

          Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
          I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
          Emiliano Zapata

          by buddabelly on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 08:50:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Tucson has plans to increase (5+ / 0-)

        water recycling to 100%.  The reclaimed water system already uses more than 50% of effluent.  Per capita municipal consumption in Tucson is among the lowest in the country.  Note:This is Tucson Water, which supplies ~700,000 people, not just those in the city proper.

        Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

        by benamery21 on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 07:09:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Mesquite is not an invader. It is native to the... (0+ / 0-)

        Mesquite is not an invader. It is native to the lower Sonoran desert.

        •  Some species are native, some are introduced (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          buddabelly

          There are also hybrids.  If you re-read the comment you'll see that buddabelly knows what he's talking about.

          Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

          by benamery21 on Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 12:07:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  The water table in and around... (0+ / 0-)

      ...Phoenix has sunk 400 feet since 1990 because of groundwater extraction.

      As for annual per capita energy consumption:
      California—6,721 (50th)
      Arizona—11,395 (34th)

      The worst, in the No. 1 slot, is Wyoming at 27,457.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 01:47:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Actually ,as far as Colorado river allotment (0+ / 0-)

    California is number one at 27  %
    Though I doubt anyone including yourself would boycott a conference In that state because of that issue, correct?

    Coming in at number 2 is your own state of Colorado, also my home state, at 23 %. What a surprise!

    Number 3 is Arizona at. 17 % , and. Number 4 is Utah at 11 %

  •  You have some misconceptions (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pluto, Stripe

    Let's start out with the water source for Phoenix.  It comes from the Salt River which forms in the hill country of Eastern Arizona and meanders across the state (from East to West) until it merges with the Gila river which then merges with the Colorado river which forms the squiggly boarder at the bottom of the Arizona/California border.  This has been the source of water for the Valley of the Sun for over 100 years.  

    Yes, Arizona is a member of the Colorado River compact, but the Colorado water affects western Arizona, not Phoenix. (Sidebar: Except where the Salt River Project (SRP) has purchased rights in NW Arizona.  But that's another story for another day.)

    Next, There are over Three Million people in the Valley, the puny little NN convention is but a partial drop in the bucket of energy consumption.  Besides, there's plenty to spare coming from the Palo Verde Nuclear power plant.  So you needn't fret about energy usage all that much.

    Pools.  Something I have noticed is that the Humidity does get a whole lot higher in the summer as the sun evaporates not only the pools but the water in the lawns (which are irrigated watered so that they are flooded with a few inches of water which then soaks in or evaporates).  However, most people have figured out its a pain to keep lawns watered in summer and use desert landscaping instead (it's spelled R.O.C.K.S.).  And No, pool water does not need to be cooled, it feels just fine without cooling.  

    Eyesore.  Kinda agree with you there, but hop in the car and head East toward the Superstition Mountains on Broadway Road (It's south of the Salt river), past Apache Junction and you're in some of the most rugged and beautiful country in the nation.  If you can take the washboard roads, you'll get to Roosevelt Lake, if you're paying attention you'll come across the Tonto NHP Ruins.

    The environmental impacts of a NN convention would be about the same anywhere.  

    In conclusion, there are pros and cons about anywhere you want to hold a convention.  I happen to think that the convention committee is working way too hard to justify Phoenix and would be wise to reconsider their decision. (But I suspect the contracts are signed...).  I think Phoenix will appreciate NN's little convention all the way to the bank.  As for changing opinions... not so much.

    /snark /rant

    ... the watchword of true patriotism: "Our country - when right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right." - Carl Schurz; Oct. 17, 1899

    by NevDem on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 07:12:13 PM PDT

  •  did I not say that Arizona is beautiful? (0+ / 0-)

    That is not at issue. What I am attempting to say in an apparently ill-delivered fashion is that the the Valley of the Sun is a desert that depends on water from elsewhere to continue its incredibly stupid, in my opinion, growth!

    Someone is going to tell me that the Salt River and groundwater can do the job for more than one million people? OK...let's go for it, Salt River, which has been unraftable for many years in the past decade due to lack of snowfall.

    So, it all comes down to global warming and climate change in which case, Phoenix is, I believe, in a world of hur, as we all are, but desert environments most of all.

    I will not speak of Los Angeles because I do not know their water sources, other than the Colorado River. Things are not looking too good for them with the northern CA drought.

    This sort of reminds me of arguments about Israel and the beautiful gardens there that will come from irrigated agriculture. It is all contentious, as you well know if you live in the West (or anywhere arid), where your water comes from and how it is used.

    That was the most difficult thing for me to grasp when I came to the West from the Midwest forty years ago, but I do believe I learned and that anything I can do to save water is important.

  •  a little map of the southwest river systems (0+ / 0-)

    Note the size of the barrels in the map. Lake Mead is incredibly low at this time, and look who all relies on Lake Mead. It is all incredibly interrelated, but the Colorado is the lifeblood of the western US.

    http://www.hcn.org/...

  •  FYI, those 'lows' are deceiving (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chicago minx

    As I write this, it's 9:15 PM in Tempe, and my home weather station reports the temp is 95F. The temp will drop to about 85F by 5:00 AM, then rise to about 90F at about 9:00 AM - then up and up from there. Not real fun.

    "What could possibly go wrong?" - United States Supreme Court Justices

    by Fordmandalay on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 09:16:48 PM PDT

  •  PHX is hell (0+ / 0-)

    Glad I don't live there anymore but others are right, its not as bad as you think.

    Many of those suburbia houses with immaculate yards are sporting fake grass.  You can hardly give your plants enough water to survive that direct sunlight.

  •  3-digit temps are a potential fatal health risk... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chicago minx

    ... for people who are not acclimatized to them, and even for some who are.

    Dehydration, thromboembolism, heat stroke, cardiac events.

    Not a good place to bring a large mass of people without giving them ample warnings, and even then, questionable at best.

    I sure as hell wouldn't go, even if all the other issues didn't exist.

    We got the future back. Uh-oh.

    by G2geek on Sun Jul 20, 2014 at 09:42:52 PM PDT

  •  My memories of the Phoenix include: Stockyards ... (0+ / 0-)

    My memories of the Phoenix include:

    Stockyards along the Salt just East of Sky Harbor. Get off a plane (in the days before covered jetways) in the summer and..oh my...the aroma! By the way, you could also go out to the roof over (then) terminal 1 and watch the planes.

    McCormick Ranch (and Gainey Ranch) as undeveloped desert.

    Scottsdale Road and Shea as the edge of the desert wilderness.

    No fountain...and no Fountain Hills.

    Flying a glider over the desert East of the Sierra Estrellas and South of South Mountain.

    Coating my feet with melted asphalt by running barefoot in the summer.

    The possibilities presented by holding in hand a rotting, 110-degree grapefruit in July.

    The Cubbies training in Scottsdale.

    The Scottsdale rodeo (and stepping in horse apples on Scottsdale Road whilst playing the sousaphone in an elementary school parade celebrating that rodeo).

    Bruce Babbitt as governor.

    Now all has changed. The state of Bruce Babbitt and Edward Abbey has changed to a state that is, amazingly enough, to the right of Ev Meacham.

    There have been a few wise and good things that have happened since I last lived there. Freeways that can take you from North Scottsdale in tens of minutes. Mandates that golf courses use treated wastewater, even if it means pumping it uphill. An apparent decision that maybe...just maybe...mimicing the surrounding desert in public places....including freeway rights-of-way....is a good idea.

    But all-in-all, the population growth in the lower Sonoran is not sustainable. Despite what has been said elsewhere, the flow in the Salt River is not sufficient for the neefs of the population. Ground water resources have been depleted, so the only truly "dependable" source of water is from the Colorado River via an open canal. An open canal through a region where evaporation can easily exceed precipitation.

    Explosive growth in the area not only is stressing water supplies in the area, but also seems to have driven the state towards the butt-ignorant right of the political spectrum.

    Sorry for the rambling... but...I would love to see the state of my rearing return to the politics of my (somewhat) youth. Bruce Babbitt. A state in which Edward Abbey chose to live. A state in which the perhaps most wealthy enclave chose to require "desert landscaping" in front of all residences long ago. A state in which the most rapidly growin municipality chose to require new golf courses to use treated wastewater.

    I guess my ultimate message is that Arizona should not be abandoned by left-leaning folks. Despite recent politics, there is something there that may be worthy of rescue.

  •  You all stop hating on my state (0+ / 0-)

    I've lived here in Phoenix for 15 years. I moved here from "liberal" Maine where I'd been fired twice (after promotions and excellent reviews) because new management came in that "didn't like queers". Phoenix is surprisingly liberal, and most of that comes from the common people working in the trades, not  the scared old people in Sun City. The arguments against the environmental impact of NN on the desert environment are laughable. The first Yearly Kos meeting was held in Las Vegas, do you think that's any cooler in the summer?

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