[Vision2020] Water: What is missing

Mark Solomon msolomon at moscow.com
Wed Apr 26 09:26:22 PDT 2006

National average water use for a family of 4 is @ 
78 gallons per person per day. Same with 
customary but not extraordinary conservation 
measures taken is 54 gallons per person per day. 
I remember the numbers but not the cite right now.

Wayne hit it on the head: it takes political 
leadership to address the issue. Aaron Ament, as 
the Council's representative to PBAC, has taken a 
very active interest in the issue. I look forward 
to his leadership at the City level on this issue.


At 9:16 AM -0700 4/26/06, James Reynolds wrote:
>I believe that we should do whatever necessary 
>to increase our water supply. When the Palouse 
>was settled and made into a wheat producing 
>landscape many small ponds, wetlands and such 
>were drained off. These drained areas were 
>perhaps the recharge engines for our upper 
>aquifer. How about reclaiming some (many) of 
>these areas for this? Federal, State, maybe even 
>county technical asistence (maybe some 
>monetary) would be available to start such a 
>program and I expect our ever-growing urban 
>farmer population on their 40 acre tracts would 
>be interested in having a pond etc..
>Also I remember hearing about an artesian well 
>on Doc. Lucas's (Bless him) property south of 
>moscow. That site and potentially others might 
>be developed to provide catch/holding basins 
>(his is in bedrock I think) for water that might 
>be sold to the city or on a smaller scale sold 
>to neighbors for irrigation. 
>The problem with the emphasis on conservation is 
>that it really does impact the quality of life 
>for many who looked forward to gardening their 
>home lot and making it a masterpiece of 
>tranquility. contrary to some on the list, I see 
>no evil in wanting your grounds to be a preserve 
>in which to sooth ones soul. I also don't think 
>we are doing anything about increasing the water 
>available to keep Moscow the beautiful green 
>place it is. We haven't even begun to work on 
>the problem and already it seems the consensus 
>is to relegate Latah to a desert environment. 
>That is not what Latah county is by any measure, 
>we just have not worked hard enough in making it 
>remain the paradise that it is.
>Another thing...is there available a chart/graph 
>that shows how much water a family should use to 
>be considered unhoglike? It would be interesting 
>to know how much water we should expect to use 
>for the things we do.
>My toilets work fine and I surely don't want to 
>mess with something that critical when they are 
>good now.
>  > From: deco at moscow.com
>>  To: vision2020 at moscow.com
>>  Subject: Re: [Vision2020] Water: What is missing
>>  Date: Wed, 26 Apr 2006 08:00:50 -0700
>>  Thank you Nils for the comment which is really at the heart of the matter:
>>  "If the assertion in #1 [A large enough segment of the Moscow electorate 
>>  willing to be educated on this issue.  There are many people who believe 
>>  that the water issue is not that important at this time.] is true, many 
>>  people don't believe its an issue, then I doubt the rest of the items can 
>>  follow."
>>  Mark Solomon and Bill and Diane French of the Palouse Water Conservation 
>>  Network (PWCN) have devoted substantial amounts of time and effort 
>>  attempting to educate us about the aquifer and water 
>>  usage/replenishment/conservation.
>>  [For example, a recent post by Mark Solomon (reposted below) about the 
>>amount of water usage need to support the proposed Super WalMart should be a 
>>  real eye opener.]
>>  Although PBAC (Palouse Basin Aquifer Committee) continues important work on 
>>  the subject, they and their former leader Larry Kirkland, lost a lot of 
>>  credibility and in my opinion did a great deal of damage to the water 
>>  conservation effort by Kirkland's endorsement of the Naylor Farms proposal 
>>  and by their tepid response to the WSU golf course proposal [and now a plan 
>>  becoming reality.]
>>  Besides the efforts of Solomon and the Frenches, we need political leaders 
>  > who not only talk the game by give cheer-leader type speeches on the 
>>  subject, but ones who will dig in to come up with, finance, and lead a 
>>  multi-prong program carefully designed to educate the electorate and to 
>>motivate them enough to be willing to conserve.  This is not a small task as 
>>  you can see by the responses on this forum.
>>  Mark's water budget concept is an excellent proposal.  It needs courageous, 
>>  relentless political support.  That support will be hard to come by without 
>>  a majority of the electorate willing to make some major changes/sacrifices 
>>  both little and big in their water consumption habits.  That's why a lot of 
>>  education, much of it repetitive but tantalizingly packaged in a number of 
>>  different, effective ways, needs to be done and done well.
>>  Wayne A. Fox
>>  1009 Karen Lane
>>  PO Box 9421
>>  Moscow, ID  83843
>>  (208) 882-7975
>>  waf at moscow.com
>>  To add another piece to the water thread, there is the issue of how we 
>>  support growth and development in Moscow when we are at or beyond the 
>>  ability of our aquifers to supply water to the city.
>>Fact: the deep Grande Ronde aquifer has no identified recharge mechanism and 
>>  continues to fall 1-2'/year.
>>Fact: the upper Wanapum aquifer recharges seasonally (winter runoff) through 
>>  mechanisms not quite identified (the ongoing Latah County Hydrogeological 
>>  Characterization Project is designed to answer that question) but the 
>>current rate of withdrawal from the Wanapum exceeds the recharge. Historical 
>>  pumping records indicate that  Wanapum well levels may drop precipitously 
>>  within 15 years.
>>  Fact: the City of Moscow is signatory to the regional Palouse Basin Aquifer 
>>  Agreement which requires each pumping entity (Moscow, Pullman, UI, WSU) to 
>>  limit increases in pumping to 1% annually and to not exceed a total cap of 
>>  125% of the total volume pumped as an average of the years 1982-1987 for a 
>>  cap of 875 million gallons/year (MGY). It was hoped that limiting pumping 
>>  increases would allow the aquifer levels to stabilize. They were wrong.
>>Fact: From 1994 to 2003, Moscow exceeded its 1% annual growth limit and from 
>>  1998-2003 its 875 mgy cap.
>>  Fact: After Moscow area conservation and civic groups filed a petition with 
>>  the State asking for designation of Moscow area aquifers as Critical 
>>  Groundwater Management Areas and Groundwater Management Areas the City 
>>  implemented mandatory landscape irrigation measures that reduced the amount 
>>  of water pumped by the City from 919 MGY in 2003 to 819 MGY in 2005. 
>>  (Bravo!) 2005 was the first year since the city signed the PBAC agreement 
>>  that it was in compliance with the agreement.
>>  Fact: Moscow City wells (with the exception of Wells 6&8 which have had 
>>  their pumping significantly decreased due to internal piping issues) 
>>  continue to have declining water levels despite the conservation efforts of 
>>  people and businesses across the city.
>>  Fact: the SuperWalmart developer, on page 6 of his application for a rezone 
>>  of the Thompson property across from the cemetery, forecasts full build out 
>>at 1.5 million square foot of commercial space. The applicant predicts water 
>>  useage based on full build out at over 62 MGY.  Full build out would 
>>  increase water pumped by 7.6% above current levels violating the 1% annual 
>>increase. Full build out will also cause the City to exceed its absolute cap 
>>  of 875 mgy.
>>Question: Is this how we want to use the water we have conserved? Do we want 
>>  to give all our water to Walmart?
>>  Answer: The City Council is holding a public hearing on Walmart's proposed 
>>  rezone 5/1, 7:00 pm , Council Chambers (unless they move it to someplace 
>>  where all the people who are likely to attend can actually fit in the 
>>  room...)
>>  Mark Solomon
>>  ----- Original Message ----- 
>>  From: "Nils Peterson" <nils_peterson at wsu.edu>
>>  To: <vision2020 at moscow.com>
>>  Sent: Tuesday, April 25, 2006 10:13 PM
>  > Subject: [Vision2020] Water: What is missing
>>  > This is a good list, and some clear challenges. If the assertion in #1 is
>>  > true, many people don't believe its an issue, then I doubt the rest of the
>>  > items can follow.
>>  >
>>  > Is it possible that many think a declining aquifer might be a problem, but
>>  > they don't think they can affect a solution, or that a solution might be
>>  > financially costly to them, or that a solution might have negative impacts
>>  > on the city (read, no growth).
>>  >
>>  >
>>  > Art Deco writes:
>>  >> Nils asks:
>>  >>
>>  >> "What is missing to put this into action?"
>>  >>
>>  >> Among other things that may or may not be missing but whose existence is
>>  >> vital:
>>  >>
>>  >> 1.    A large enough segment of the Moscow electorate willing to be 
>>  >> educated
>>  >> on this issue.  There are many people who believe that the water issue is
>>  >> not that important at this time.
>>  >>
>>  >> 2.    Enough informed, willing and able persons to do the one-on-one
>>  >> education that it would probably take; the funds that it would take to
>>  >> prepare the materials for and to execute the education program.
>>  >>
>>  >> 3.    A majority on the Moscow City Council with enough courage and 
>>  >> stamina
>>  >> to lead, to carefully plan, and to enact the program.
>>  >>
>>  >> 4.    A competent enough city manager and staff to successfully implement
>>  >> the program.
>>  >>
>>  >> W.
>>  >
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