Trust the science...Really? Which scientist?
"They ignored his science that said there’s been big droughts."
How a 100-year-old miscalculation drained the Colorado River
We’ve reached the point where the reservoirs are no less than a third full in terms of the available water supply that we might use. We’re at the danger point.
In the early 20th century, the US Geological Survey sent out this guy named Eugene Clyde LaRue to try and measure the Colorado River. LaRue started to see that, beyond the time horizon that we’d been measuring the river so far [a couple of recent decades], there were some really big droughts. He concluded in a 1916 report that the river is subject to big droughts on timescales of 10-to-20 to 50-to-100 years. It doesn’t just stay wet.
The negotiators of the Colorado River Compact — the foundational document for figuring out how to divide up the river and decide who gets what — needed this information. They needed science. But they came together to figure this out without LaRue. They sidelined him. They ignored his science that said there’s been big droughts.
Instead, the negotiators looked at a much more recent period [of time] that had been extraordinarily and unusually wet. They said the river’s got plenty of water to build all these farms and to build all these cities. They just ignored the science because it was inconvenient.
Negotiators believed — and negotiated a deal that said — there was as much as 20 million acre-feet flowing from the river each year. LaRue’s estimate was closer to 15 million. Today, we know it’s 12 million. It was a big gap.
“They were told that there was enough water. That turns out to have been bogus.”
Edited by Rogerdodger, 23 September 2022 - 06:24 PM.