Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Happy Canada Day!!!!!

Enjoy the wonders of nature Canada offers to all of us. Happy Canada Day!

Eared grebe.
(Debbie Gibson photo).


Photo gallery -- Evening grosbeaks. Courtesy: Debbie Gibson.

Visitors to our bird feeder!


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ancient Climate Change: When Palm Trees Gave Way To Spruce Trees

ScienceDaily (June 25, 2009) —

For climatologists, part of the challenge in predicting the future is figuring out exactly what happened during previous periods of global climate change.

One long-standing climate puzzle relates to a sequence of events 33.5 million years ago in the Late Eocene and Early Oligocene. Profound changes were underway. Globally, carbon dioxide levels were falling and the hothouse warmth of the dinosaur age and Eocene Period was waning. In Antarctica, ice sheets had formed and covered much of the southern polar continent.

But what exactly was happening on land, in northern latitudes? When and how did Northern glaciation begin, and what does this knowledge add to the understanding of the relationship between carbon dioxide levels and today's climate?

An international team that included Dr. David Greenwood, an NSERC-funded researcher at Brandon University, now provides some of the very first detailed answers, and they come from an unusual source.

"Fossils of land plants are excellent indicators of past climates," said Dr. Greenwood. "But the fossil plant localities from the Canadian Arctic and Greenland don't appear to record this major climate change, and pose problems for precisely dating their age, so we needed to look elsewhere."

The "where" was in marine sediments entombed when the North Atlantic Ocean was beginning to open, and lying now at the bottom of today's Norwegian-Greenland Sea. Sediment cores taken from there contained a record of ancient spores and pollen blown from the continent to the west.

"These marine sediment cores give us a very precise chronology of the changes in the dominant land plants," said Dr. Greenwood "and since many of these species have modern relatives, we can assume that the temperatures and environments they lived in were very similar."

To arrive at a holistic picture of the climate of the transition, the researchers merged the plant data with physical information about the state of the atmosphere and ocean taken from chemical and isotopic information in the same sediments, and compared this to computer modelling of climate in the period.

"We can see that summer temperatures on land remained relatively warm throughout the Eocene/Oligocene transition, but that the period was marked by increasing seasonality," said Dr. Greenwood.

"Mean temperatures during the coldest month dropped by five degrees Celsius, to just above freezing," he said.

"This was probably not enough to create much in the way of continental ice on East Greenland," he said, "but it did wipe out palms and other subtropical trees such as swamp cypress. They were replaced by temperate climate trees such as spruces and hemlock."

The researcher said that, nonetheless, the middle period of the transition remained fairly warm. "Hickory and walnut were still present, but these became rare in the final stages," he said.

Although the march to a cooler world was gradual in northern latitudes, it was inevitable according to Dr. Greenwood.

"Changes in the earth's position in its orbit were leading a much greater seasonal range in radiation for polar regions and, overall, heat was becoming more concentrated in the tropics, largely due to a global drop in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere" he said.

The group's detailed record of the Eocene/Oligocene transition will appear in the June 18 issue of Nature.


Selected articles, Morning Star -- June 28, 2009


What a coincidence that Mayor Garlick's letter is published in the same issue of the Morning Star in which Vernon politicians are discussing the future of Polson Park without the presence of other members of Greater Vernon Services Committee (Director Dirk's presence was accidental) which is responsible for park issues.

This discussion by Vernon Council just reinforces Coldstream's contention that the park issues should be revisited and discussed again.


Responses to questions raised by L. Dunlop

The following letter to the Editor was published by the Morning Star in the June 21st issue. I appreciate the comments by the writer, L. Dunlop (it really increased the readership of the blog), and below I respond to his “questions” raised in the letter. In responding, I reference sections of the letter and include my answers in red. Once again, my thanks to L. Dunlop for his dedication to my blog.

It appears that a Coldstream councillor's blog goes well beyond that of a personal website with what looks to be the District of Coldstream's approval. All of council's pictures are posted on the councillor's site, stating: Coldstream Council at Your Service! with a direct link to the official Coldstream website.
There is a prominent disclaimer at the top of the blog that reads:
The opinions expressed by "Coldstreamer" are strictly his own and do not represent the opinions of Coldstream Council!
We have to ask the question, does the site, which is run by a Coldstream councillor, his personal website, advance a political agenda and does it reflect the conditions of a private website?
The website is personal but available for anyone to read. Of course, access to the site is not obligatory and anyone who feels offended by it could chose not to access the blog.
For instance, can we, you, post pictures on our, your sites with a direct link to the official Coldstream website, if so; we would be more than happy to have them aboard, along with our political point of view?
You are welcome to link to the official Coldstream website. It was created using public funds for the benefit of taxpayers. Any publicity for the site is welcome.
Again, the site, run by a Coldstream councilor, often carries personal comments of the councillor, and group with what appears to be a distinct political bent. Does Coldstream council subscribe to this site by virtue of the fact they are directly linked to it?
The blog includes personal comments as it is a PERSONAL BLOG. See above disclaimer and comments.
Again and again, the site appears to promote one political point of view with links, comments and ranting, this, all subscribed by your Coldstream council? Further, does this mean everyone linked to the councilor's personal website, the local newspapers, radio stations and other various feeds, which includes yet another link to a councillor's website, subscribe to the councilor's ranting and his political views?
In 70 plus years I earned the right to “rant”. The state of the environment, the state of the economy, the many lies and misdeeds by high ranking leaders of the world provide me ample opportunity to express my disapproval. The writer of the letter may disagree with my views and he/she has every right to do so (as he/she did in his/her letter) but I also have the right to my opinions. What kind of a politicians would I be if I did not have political views? Disagree? Create your own blog and disseminate information the way you see it.
The disclaimer aside, it appears the Coldstream councillor's blog does not represent the average Coldstream citizen and is indeed not a personal website as such but acts as a platform for private political views and advances a personal political agenda using the councilor's moniker with the tacit approval of Coldstream council?
The blog is my property and I never claimed that my views represent “the average Coldstream citizen”, whomever he/she might be. Coldstream Council respects my right to free speech and I respect the confidentiality of my office as per my oath of office. Any information on my blog is available to the public.
Further, the Institute of Public Administration of Canada, which gives expression to the high ideals and traditions in the public service clearly states under Political Rights: Public employees have a responsibility to avoid participation in partisan politics that is likely to impair the political neutrality of the public service or the perception of that neutrality.

Under The Public Interest: Public employees should resolve any conflict between their personal or private interests and their official duties in favour of public interest.

Under Service to the Public: Public employees should provide service to the public in a manner which is courteous, equitable, efficient and effective.

Under Public Interest: Public employees should be sensitive to the political process and knowledgeable about the laws and traditions regarding political neutrality that are applicable to their sphere of employment.

The writer of the letter should understand the difference between politicians, who are directly accountable to the taxpayers, and the public servants who are responsible to the politicians through the chain of command. Ultimately they serve the public but only through said chain. Politicians develop policies and legislate, public servants carry out those policies and regulations. Public servants can also express opinions as long as it des not conflict with their office.
We understand that politicians at any level need to have a platform to get information out to the public, to clarify policy and to arouse debate on issues before them. However, promoting personal political views clearly violates the high ideals and tradition of public service and may even leave the councillor open to ramifications.

We believe the council member has gone well beyond what is arguably his duty and is using a forum that is/is not associated with his office?

L. Dunlop
Interestingly, the letter is signed by a single individual, while time and again the “royal we” has been used in the text. I wonder if there were more than one persons involved in the creation of this masterpiece or is it just “nosism” (the use of “we” in speaking of oneself)?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Letter to the Editor, Morning Star -- Not So Funtastic!

By all means pursue your Funtastic recreational pursuits. But please, the musical detritus emanating from your soiree makes Muzac seem like...well, music.

The relentless aural assault shaking the windows of my Coldstream Eden was just plain bad manners on the part of the event organizers.

My fun, at my age, is a good sleep.

You have deprived me and my family of same. Second year of such.

I have paid good money to attend rock/blues/jazz events--Led Zepp, Dylan, Santana... how is it that they can provide a rich aural spectacle in a confined space and make a lot of dough too?

No more Funtastic open-air "Muzac" please.


K. Pace


Selected articles, Morning Star -- June 26, 2009

Is this an indication of the cooperative spirit of Vernon's politicians? It appears cooperation ended when Vernon recerived everything it wanted. In the meantime taxpayers of all jurisdiction pay the arbitrator as well as the various lawyers to the tune of possibly millions of dollars. Good work, Vernon politicians!



Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Photo gallery - Courtesy: Debbie Gibson.

A rare sight: Violet-green Swallow


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Personal websites generate clarification -- by By Jennifer Smith - Vernon Morning Star

In light of a recent letter to the editor raising issue with politician’s personal websites, the District of Coldstream wants to clarify the issue.

“The only source of official Coldstream business is the District of Coldstream website (www.districtofcoldstream.ca),” said Coun. Doug Dirk.

Currently two Coldstream councillors have personal websites – Maria Besso (www.besso.ca) and Gyula Kiss (http://coldstreamernews.blogspot.com/).

A concerned citizen’s letter to the editor published in The Morning Star Sunday stated that Kiss’ website goes beyond a personal site and looks to have the district’s approval.

Kiss’ website provides news information and acts as a blog and outlet for the councillor and residents to express opinions. There is a disclaimer on the website explaining that the opinions do not represent that of Coldstream council.

“I believe that statement is very clearly stated on the website,” said Kiss, adding that since the letter to the editor was published his readership has actually gone up.

Besso’s website does not include a disclaimer, but she has been asked to provide one.

“My website is not a blog, it’s strictly a website that’s informational,” said Besso.

Although concerns have been raised about links from personal websites to the District of Coldstream, they are deemed appropriate.

“The more exposure the website gets from other individuals is beneficial,” said Kiss.

Coldstream’s chief administrative officer, Michael Stamhuis, agrees.

“If we’re going to encourage people to look at the website I think that’s an excellent way to do it.”

Only if it were the other way around, and Coldstream was promoting personal websites (it does have links to government and useful service organizations websites) would it be questionable, said Stamhuis.

It was also determined that content from the District of Coldstream website is OK for viewers to copy and paste and use on personal sites.

“It’s there for public view,” said Stamhuis.

Although the same rules do not apply for copyright material.


A message from Rafe Mair! (With apologies to L Dunlop!)

Rafe here ... unbelievably good news!!! Alexandra Morton has won her lawsuit because

"Marine Harvest has conceded the main issues in the case – that the regulation of finfish aquaculture falls within exclusive federal authority, and that the existing provincial regulatory regime under the BC Fisheries Act, the Aquaculture Regulation and the Finfish Aquaculture Waste Control Regulation are constitutionally invalid. Marine Harvest’s Factum now notifies the Court that it does not contest these findings.



Marine Harvest has now filed their Appeal from the BC Supreme Court decision of Mr. Justice Hinkson and they conceded the main issues in our case – that Provincial regulation of fish farms is unconstitutional! Thank you to all who made this happen, there are not many success stories in this saga. Please go to “updates” at www.adopt-a-fry.org for more information.

The Province has no mandate to protect wild fish and this is the crux of the mismanagement that both the industry and the rest of us in BC have faced for 20 years. The farms are now sited in the wrong places, ensuring social conflict and degradation of our wild salmon. To fix this the industry will have to down-size at the very least and be removed from the crucial wild salmon migration routes. Federal Fisheries Minister, the Honourable Gail Shea, will need all the support we can give her to deal with this monumental mess that she inherited. Please do what you can to let people know about our letter in case they want to sign.

In response to all of you who have written asking “what can I do” I have posted a new page on our website “Actions.” Please go there if you can and consider the very important request by my colleague Michelle Young, who grew up in the Broughton Archipelago before fish farms and knows personally what is at stake. Two gigantic fish farms are attempting re-zoning right on Johnstone Strait, guaranteeing all wild salmon that travel that route will be traveling through fish farm effluent. Given what we know now if these two farms go in we can know wild salmon are no long a priority in BC waters.

Thank you all for your hundreds of messages and best of all your great ideas!


Rafe's comment?
There is a God after all. What a glorious vindication! What a testament to the courage of this wonder of this wonderful, wonderful friend of all of us who cherish the environment entrusted to us and under such a vicious attack from our irresponsible and reprehensible government.
Actually, it was the Judge who made the ruling!


Important message!


First of all:

Warning: large rattler reported at the creek north of our cemetery.

I suppose climate change is bringing about changes in the movements of rattlers.

Perhaps we must all be more vigilant walking in locations we previously felt presented no threat.

Last but not least, your blog is an efficient way to communicate such relevant information without having to wait for the day the paper comes out.

Your blog both enables and fosters dialogue: dialogue strengthens the identity of a community and affirms our position on various issues.

Thank you,

A Grateful Taxpayer

And thank you!



Monday, June 22, 2009

The blog is not dead, only the blogger is too busy!

Just a quick note to let you know that the letter to the Editor in the Morning Star last Sunday did not make me quit blogging. I just have too much to do at the present trying to transfer my programs fro my old computer to the new one. I'll be back to provide more insightful information to my dedicated readers, including my most faithful reader, L. Dunlop.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Selected articles, Morning Star -- June 17, 2009


Harper, Ignatieff reach deal to avert summer election -- By Jennifer Ditchburn, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff have reached a deal to avert an election - at least until the fall.

The centrepiece of the agreement is a six-member working group that will examine possible changes to Employment Insurance. Those changes include a Conservative proposal to extend EI coverage to the self-employed, and a Liberal push to make the eligibility threshold the same across the country to reduce regional disparities.

The group will have to report back to Parliament by Sept. 28.

The minority Conservative government will also be compelled to produce another economic report card to the House of Commons that week.

And Harper agreed to give the Liberals an opposition day motion within eight days of the start of the fall session of Parliament - a key opportunity to trigger an election.

In exchange, Ignatieff will not vote against the government Friday when the supplementary budget estimates come up in the Commons. The NDP and Bloc Quebecois have said they will vote against the government.

Ignatieff hailed the agreement.

"We have found a way to make progress for Canadians on EI and we've found a way to make this government accountable and I feel that this is a good day for our country, but more importantly, it's a good day also for this system of Parliament."

Ignatieff noted that he will re-evaluate the government after the EI panel recommendations and the economic progress report and decide whether to keep supporting the government.

Under the EI deal, each side will be able to select three people for the panel.

Ignatieff said he will appoint MPs Michael Savage and Marlene Jennings, along with Kevin Chan, his head of policy. Chan was a former senior bureaucrat with the Privy Council under the Harper government.

In an internal memo circulated within Tory ranks, the Prime Minister's Office appeared to be claiming victory over Ignatieff.

"The Liberals have reversed themselves on EI reform (their 360-hour demand has been abandoned) and withdrawn the threat to force an unnecessary summer election," the memo said.

"Instead, the Liberals will vote for the next round of stimulus in our Economic Action Plan."

The agreement was reached after two face-to-face meetings Tuesday and a phone chat Wednesday morning.

The unusual discussions between Ignatieff and Harper kicked off after Ignatieff demanded answers to a series of key economic questions.

The main question was what Harper intended to do to improve EI.

Ignatieff also demanded to know how much stimulus money has been spent, and what the government plans to do about the ballooning deficit and the medical isotope crisis.

One Liberal cautioned that although the EI working group will make its recommendations, the party doesn't necessarily have to agree with either the findings or the action Harper takes following the report.

All parties will spend the summer months gathering support and money before an election that many insiders believe will happen this fall.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cute little chicks!

Courtesy: Debbie Gibson.


NORD meeting -- June 17, 2009

Click on Agenda above!


Monday, June 15, 2009

Information -- Environmental issues.

For your viewing pleasure please visit HOME. Reserve an hour and a half for this fascinating story!


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Selected articles, Morning Star -- June 14, 2009

Coldstream news!

Letters to the Editor!

Water devolution!

According to the Editorial all parties are at fault on this issue. Apparently, the editorial writer considers debate to be "a peeing match".

How much clearer can Coldstream get?

All participants (Vernon, Coldstream, and Electoral Areas "B" and "C") agreed on a set of principles when joining in the Master Water Plan. Coldstream contributed its water reserves of about a million dollars and its water licenses with significant extra capacity. Vernon brought in its deficit both in terms of water license capacity and in actual dollars.

I personally would not have signed such one sided, nebulous and faulty agreement. However, our predecessors found it acceptable and we must honour the agreement. Our taxpayers paid dearly for the essentially unimproved water but I personally feel that a deal is a deal.

Council only wants to have the agreement maintained and try to negotiate improvements to the contract where possible, not break the contract. Now, Dear Editor, that should be a clear enough statement! My personal opinion but I trust the rest of the Council essentially agree!


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Did You Know that a 500GB hard drive isn’t actually 500GB?

If you are not yet confused about the terms byte, kilobyte etc. here is something that might complete your confusion.


To properly explain this we need to go right back to basics and describe bytes, part of the gigabyte unit we associate with hard drive size. A byte is a unit of measure used in electronic information storage. A byte is made up of 8 smaller bits of data. 1 bit is a single binary digit represented by either a 1 or a 0. In this way, a byte (8 bits) can represent 256 different values.

Rather than the kilo, mega and giga prefixes we use referring to a thousand, million, or billion bytes, the binary counting system means that what we call a kilobyte (KB) is actually 1024 bytes, 1024 kilobytes make a megabyte (MB), and 1024 megabytes form a gigabyte (GB) etc. They are all multiples of 256. This is all fine and dandy except that hard drive manufacturers prefer decimal numbers. This means that they class 1000 bytes as a kilobyte, 1000 kilobytes is a megabyte and so on. This may not see like a big deal initially; and it isn’t until you start to get into the big numbers like the hard drives of today. As a working example we’ll take a 500GB hard drive... When your computer reads it, there are indeed 500,000,000,000 bytes but when you convert that to a binary figure, you’ll find there are only about 465GB.

To clarify this discrepancy the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) introduced a new prefix in 1999. All binary values are now called kibibyte, mebibyte, gibibyte etc. so we can differentiate between them and the decimal values.

From Serif Newsletter, June 2009.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Penguins in seventh heaven with Cup win over Wings -- By Steve Keating, Reuters

DETROIT (Reuters) – The Pittsburgh Penguins claimed revenge and their first Stanley Cup since 1992 after closing out a nail-biting 2-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings in Game Seven on Friday.

Maxime Talbot scored a pair of second period goals, while goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury answered his critics with a solid 23-save effort as the Penguins celebrated with their third Stanley Cup triumph.

The Penguins, who lost the Cup to the Red Wings in six games a year ago, join the 1971 Montreal Canadiens as the only team to drop the opening two games of a final on the road then claw their way back to win the title.

Trailing 2-0 and seemingly down and out, Detroit revived their bid for back-to-back trophies through rookie Jonathan Ericsson, who blasted a shot from the point past Fleury with just over six minutes remaining to set up a dramatic finish.

At 2-1 with two minutes to play, the Red Wings' Niklas Kronwall rattled a shot off the crossbar before a last-gasp chance from captain Nicklas Lidstrom was denied by Fleury, who dived across the crease in the final seconds to make a spectacular save.


Fleury, chased from Game Five after surrendering four second period goals in a 5-0 blowout, was unflappable early, as the Red Wings flew out of the blocks, drawing energy from a raucous capacity crowd at the Joe Louis Arena.

But it was the Penguins who landed the first blow just 73 seconds into the second period when Talbot intercepted a clearing pass and snapped the puck past Chris Osgood.

Talbot doubled Pittsburgh's advantage midway through the period, breaking in on a two-on-one then crushing a slap shot that whizzed by Osgood's out-stretched glove into the top corner.

Having denied themselves a playoff spot as late as February, the march of the Penguins began in earnest with an 18-3-4 run to close out the regular season and storm into Stanley Cup contention.

They then survived four cliff-hanging best-of-seven series to clasp the Cup that slipped through their fingers last season.


Drought Information -- Ministry of Environment.

It appears that we might be in for another drought year. Below is a report from the MOE indicating the expected water budget for Okanagan Lake. The graph accompanying the report below shows the average weekly inflow in black and the corresponding current inflow to date in blue.

While precipitation was plentiful in many areas of the province throughout the winter season, the drier than normal weather this spring has developed the potential for water supply problems this summer in the Okanagan, Nicola/Coldwater, Similkameen, and Kettle river basins. Normal or above normal rainfall for the rest of the summer period will be required to minimize water supply risks in those southern interior areas.

The River Forecast Centre will continue to monitor the situation and the B.C. Government will share information on conditions throughout the province on the River Forecast Centre website and in the case of low stream flows, Information Bulletins will be distributed to water purveyors, local industry and stewardship groups in impacted geographic regions.

For more detailed information on precipitation trends, streamflows, and ground water conditions, the Ministry of Environment River Forecast Centre completes snow surveys and summary bulletins throughout the winter and spring and regularly provides updated graphs and commentaries about stream flow conditions all year, along with links to Environment Canada’s data.

How does Drought affect us in B.C.? Drought conditions, such as low streamflows, reduced precipitation, and warmer temperatures, can impact communities and individuals in British Columbia in many different ways. For example, drought can lead to reduced supplies available for drinking water and household use, lower streamflows and warmer river temperatures for fish and other aquatic life, and can affect the growth of crops in our fields, orchards, and vineyards and limit the water available for irrigation. If adequate storage is not available in a community, it may also lead to insufficient supplies available for fire fighting.

What can I do?

Many communities in British Columbia are prepared to deal with low streamflow conditions with drought management plans and water conservation program already in place. We ask that all British Columbians support these efforts and to be stewards of their local water resource by conserving and protecting this vital resource for the environment, for our communities and for the many livelihoods that depend on our water.


Inland Water Shortage Looms as Drought Creeps Northward -- Will we overcome flawed community forecasting and a lack of political action?

By Don Elzer – June 9, 2009

Residents in the southern interior of BC should take note as they consider this regions water supply. Our water future may be unfolding in the American southwest today as drought conditions move northward.

"All water-use planning is based on the idea that the next 100 years will be like the last 100," said research marine physicist Tim Barnett. "We considered the question: Can the Colorado River deliver water at the levels currently scheduled if the climate changes as we expect it to. The answer is no."

According to a new study published by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, even under conservative climate change scenarios, researchers found that reductions in the runoff that feeds the Colorado River means that it could short the southwest region of the United States of a half-billion cubic meters (400,000 acre feet) of water per year, 40 percent of the time by 2025. By the later part of this century, those numbers will double. An acre foot of water is typically considered adequate to meet the annual water needs of two households.

The Colorado River system supplies water to tens of millions of people and millions of acres of farmland, and has never experienced a delivery shortage. But if human-caused climate change continues to make the region drier, scheduled deliveries will be missed 60-90 percent of the time by the middle of this century.

The drying trend that exists in the inland region between Coast Mountains and the Rockies continues to spread and is creeping close to home. In the Okanagan, the South East Kelowna Irrigation District announced, that effective immediately, the allotment for metered agricultural users will be reduced 20 per cent in order to get through summer without running out of water.

General manager Toby Pike told Judy Steeves of the Kelowna Capital News, “The runoff from the low snowpack last winter is just not enough to replenish our water supplies going into the irrigation season - it’s critical that we reduce demand to avoid running out of water.”

In March, April and May, the total rainfall was 42.5 millilitres this year. The average for those three months is 87.6 ml. In May, the average precipitation is 39 ml, while this year it was 14.5 ml.

Typically, June has been the wettest month of the year, but this year, the first week has been the continuation of a hot dry spell, however some showers are in the forecast.

Presently the McCulloch Reservoir is estimated to be at 67 per cent of capacity, where normally at this time of year, it would be full and spilling over. It’s level is the lowest in 15 years.

According to manager Brian Jamison, the Westbank Irrigation District is also experiencing record low reservoir levels, and this will be the first year in its history that Lambly (Bear) Lake has not filled. Jamison told the Kelowna Capital News that Neither Lambly nor Tadpole Lake, a higher-elevation, more recent addition to the district’s network of reservoirs, are expected to fill, with Lambly down 48.4 centimetres and Tadpole down 94 cm.

While irrigation districts manage water supplies very carefully, certain trends are beginning to emerge as drought conditions are in full play south of the border.

In the Scripps research paper titled, "Sustainable Water Deliveries from the Colorado River in a Changing Climate," which appeared in the April 20th edition of the Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the forecast looks grim.

The analysis follows a 2008 study in which researchers Tim Barnett and David Pierce found that Lake Mead, the reservoir on the Colorado River created by Hoover Dam, stood a 50-percent chance of going dry in the next 20 years if the climate changed and no effort was being made to preserve a minimum amount of water in the reservoir.

“We were stunned at the magnitude of the problem and how fast it was coming at us,” said Barnett. “Make no mistake, this water problem is not a scientific abstraction, but rather one that will impact each and every one of us that live in the Southwest.”

“It’s likely to mean real changes to how we live and do business in this region,” Pierce added.

The Lake Mead/Lake Powell system includes the stretch of the Colorado River in northern Arizona. Aqueducts carry the water to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, and other communities in the Southwest. Currently the system is only at half capacity because of a recent string of dry years, and the research team estimates that the system has already entered an era of deficit.

Barnett and Pierce noted that a number of other studies in recent years have estimated that climate change will lead to reductions in runoff to the Colorado River system. Analysis consistently forecast reductions of between 10 and 30 percent over the next 30 to 50 years, which could affect the water supply for between 12 and 36 million people.

The researchers estimated that there is a 10 percent chance that Lake Mead could be dry by 2014. They further predict that there is a 50 percent chance that reservoir levels will drop too low to allow hydroelectric power generation by 2017.

The researchers add that even if water agencies follow their current drought contingency plans, it might not be enough to counter natural forces, especially if the region enters a period of sustained drought and/or human-induced climate changes occur as currently predicted.

The new study builds on a perspective, that enough water would be retained in the reservoir to supply the city of Las Vegas, and examines what delivery cuts would be required to maintain that level of supply.

"People have talked for at least 30 years about the Colorado being oversubscribed but no one ever put a date on it or an amount. That's what we've done," said Barnett. "Without numbers like this, it's pretty hard for resource managers to know what to do."

Barnett and Pierce also point out that lakes Mead and Powell were built and calibrated to the 20th century, which was one of the wettest in the last 1,200 years. Tree ring records show that typical Colorado River flows were substantially lower, yet 20th Century values are used in most long-term planning of the River. If the Colorado River flow reverts to its long-term average indicated by the tree rings, then currently scheduled water deliveries are even less sustainable.

Barnett and Pierce show that the biggest effects of human-induced climate change will probably be seen during dry, low-delivery years. In most years, they estimate, delivery shortfalls will be small enough to be manageable through conservation and water transfers.

But during dry years there is an increasing chance of substantial shortages.

"Fortunately, we can avoid such big shortfalls if the river's users agree on a way to reduce their average water use," said Pierce. "If we could do that, the system could stay sustainable further into the future than we estimate currently, even if the climate changes."

“Today, we are at or beyond the sustainable limit of the Colorado system. The alternative to reasoned solutions to this coming water crisis is a major societal and economic disruption in the desert southwest; something that will affect each of us living in the region”.


The US based research was supported under a joint program between UC San Diego and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and by the California Energy Commission. The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of the California Energy Commission, its employees, or the state of California.

Don Elzer writes and comments about travel, current affairs and the natural world. He is the Director of the Wildcraft Forest Ecomuseum and is the editor of The Monster Guide which can be found at www.themonsterguide.com
He can also be reached by email at: treks@uniserve.com
Align Center


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Born today! Courtesy of Debbie Gibson.


Breaking the "Deal of the Century", the Greater Vernon Master Water Plan.

In 2002 the City of Vernon, the District of Coldstream and Electoral Areas "B" and "C" agreed upon a set of principles for NOWA Restructuring and Services as follows:

On June 8, 2009 in an open Council meeting Vernon Council passed the following motion:


If anyone is wondering what this means let me try to explain.

Before I do that, I must make it abundantly clear that I am only speaking for myself and not for Coldstream Council.

With that preamble the short explanation is: the City of Vernon's Council is trying to screw the other partners by going back on an agreement they made with previous politicians. Not unlike the situation the Mayor of the City bemoans regarding the Native Council's decision to cancel planned improvements to Lakeshore Road. Only this involves many millions of dollars.

When the original agreement was penned the City of Vernon was desperate for water. They have exhausted their water licenses and developments, such as the Rise and Turtle Mountain were on the back burners.

Coldstream and NOWA had licenses with extra capacity and the City was eager to sign on the dotted line in order to get a hold of more water. Unfortunately, the rest of the politicians were trusting in the goodwill of the City's politicians.

Note statement in the statement of principles under "Financial":

"Rates are standardized throughout the service area regardless of political jurisdiction."
We followed that principle paying through the nose since 2002 even though our water quality was sometimes atrocious. Vernon benefited tremendously from the Master Water Plan, the rest of us not so. In fact, my water quality is inferior to what it used to be before the MWP. So now that the City achieved its goal and have plenty of water, have the separation of domestic and agricultural water completed within the City, they decided to break the agreement. They do not wish to subsidize agricultural rates even though the water came from the former VID.

This is “deja vous” for Coldstream. Our friendly politicians from the north “stuck it to us” before. Some of us remember the “extra policing charge” for signing the sewer agreement ($200,000 in addition to the basic costs).

As the saying goes: “cooperation is a two way street”. City Council should remember that when they talk about cooperation.


For a nostalgic travel down memory lane visit http://members.shaw.ca/mayorkiss/ and continue on to http://www.members.shaw.ca/kiss35/ to refresh your memory on the highlights(?) of the saga of the Master Water Plan. You will find scans of news reports, letters to the Editor and other sundry documents. To view the scanned documents right click on the document then left click on "view image" and left click on the new image again for best clarity .


Letter to the Editor, Morning Star.

The following letter is an explanation regarding Coldstream Council's position on Greater Vernon Parks.


Selected articles, Morning Star -- June 10, 2009


Coldstream Ratepayers News! All Coldstream residents are ratepayers!

The opinions expressed by "Coldstreamer" are strictly his own and do not represent the opinions of Coldstream Council!

Because I value your thoughtful opinions, I encourage you to add a comment to this discussion. Don't be offended if I edit your comments for clarity or to keep out questionable matters, however, and I may even delete off-topic comments.

Gyula Kiss


We must protect our rights and freedom! (Photo courtesy of D. Gibson) Click on eagle to watch EAGLECAMS

About Me

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I have been a resident of Coldstream since 1976. I have had 15 years of experience on Council, 3 years as Mayor. As a current Councillor I am working to achieve fair water and sewer rates and to ensure that taxpayers get fair treatment. The current direction regarding water supply is unsustainable and I am doing all I can to get the most cost effective water supply possible.