Palm Springs & Coachella valley sinking with depletion of aquifer.

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by Marcos, Dec 21, 2007.

  1. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    I've got a real good buddy that I went to high school with here in Ohio in the '80s.
    He has since 'moved on' from Ohio... got married and divorced and remarried again while living in Texas... before finally settling into southern California about 10 years ago or so with his new inherited family, plus a newborn.
    He and his family are no doubt doing pretty well; as they live in the pretigious Indian Wells area south of Palm Springs.

    Every other Christmas or so he comes in to Cincinnati to visit some of his extended family in town for a few days. And when he does, he and I always get together for an afternoon to goof off and pretend (as much as our 40 something bodies will allow) that we're 18 again... and go rollerblading or minor rock climbing or whatever...

    It seems like it's ALWAYS during times like these 'male bonding' episodes that he inevitably brings up the 'point' that he FINALLY has found 'paradise' in his California desert home...

    :)cry:...but he does it in a somewhat playful, but annoying nah-nah-nah-nah......NA ! -NA ! approach )

    ...and I've always countered with the rebuttal that the "folks in the desert will all go back to where they came from when all the ground water's used up". :confused:

    Well...THAT was then!
    He's got some worries about his 'paradise' while in town this Christmas! :cry:

    When he called me in November to talk about this month's get together, he started talking about the water issues there about 10-15 minutes into the conversation!

    And sure enough, I found an article about the very area he lives in, that came off the AP today.
    It says the "parts of the Coachella Valley has sunk more than a foot in the past decade as groundwater was sucked up to feed a thirsty economy".

    That "thirsty economy" includes more than 120 world-class golf courses; that together use an estimated 32.5 billion gallons of water a year!
    ( But 60 of those courses DO make use of 'recycled water' to one degree or another)

    The obvious dangers my buddy, and others in the area are fearful of are sewer lines, roadways, and foundations of structures cracking and crumbling from the rapidly settling ground.
    (b.t.w..that area only averages about 3" of natural rainfall every year)

    ...and of course...what his conversation ultimately led to was his fear of rapidly DECLINING HOME VALUES for the region encompassing the aquifer.

    There are some plans to build an (expensive) water pipeline from some point out of state into that region.
    And water officials in the area are scrambling for ideas to ease the stress- but from what my buddy reads in to it there's a lot of finger pointing going on right now, and not a lot of action!


    I sure hated to say I TOLD YOU SO but I had to (diplomatically of course) give him that jab ! ! ! :laugh:

    Anyone on this site from that region?
    What's your take on what's going on there?
  2. PHS

    PHS LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 724

  3. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    Well the 1 foot 'sinkage' may not sound like a lot in relationship to the links you put out here, but think about the differences in annual rainfall in the links vs. the avg. 3 inches !!!!

    This puts the water problem in perspective for the area south of Palm Springs :

    In 1990 the Coachella Valley's population was just over 200,000 people.
    Today, seventeen years later, the population is 409,000.
    And the projected population for the year 2030 is over 720,000 !!!

    According to my friend most of the 'finger pointing' going on there apparantly not only is related to "who's responsible" for the most water depletion, but also the controversy extends to the (dire) prospect of 'slowing the growth' of the valley, until some solutions to the problem can be developed....and this is something businesses and developers in the area certainly don't want to hear !!
  4. PHS

    PHS LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 724

    I didn't intend to minimize your original statement, any subsidence like that is disturbing. It's a growing problem in many many parts of the southwest that aren't on those lists either.

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