Drought, Food, and The Future
The drought has brought in sharp focus many issues, fundamentally it is about water, lack of water. Water however is no where near the top of the discussions we hear.
Perspectives shape views, concerns range from crop production, farm losses, food prices, balance between energy and food ratios, inflation. Food shortages have lead to at least a few regimes demise through out history. Remember, drought is about lack of water.
This brings us to a whole new view and issues, aquifers, drawdown and recharge, we are pumping water out far faster than it is replenishing itself. Some large aquifers are in fact expected by science to go dry. The Ogallala is ancient glacial water, the recharge source has been gone for thousands of years. The Ogallala is the largest aquifer in America.
Since the 1950’s, “predevelopment” when we your started pumping water out of Ogallala with electric pumps instead of windmills, the water table level has been dropping.
Unfortunately, this is a fact worldwide. So food production to feed the estimated nine billion world population twenty five years from now, must be the bigger question.
Questions from an individuals point of view could be, how can I and my offspring really be prepared. Personal responsibility and an individualistic spirit exemplified our ancestors. What can I do now to be prepared, for the generations to come.
Your water source is the key, do you depend on a municipal system? How secure do feel about that? Are you looking forward to a time when the ability to produce a percentage of your our required nutrition may be required? Remember the 2012 drought is leading to food shortages worldwide with six billion people today. World population is expected to increase by fifty percent in the next twenty five years.
With a relatively small parcel of land you can produce; grass feed beef, poultry, eggs, pork, fruits, vegetables, even milk, cheese, and fish, but you have to have a stable supply of water. It is a ton of work. It is how most Americans got through the depression, self sufficiency. We have superior tools and technology than they did. Greenhouses, electric well pumps, solar applications, aquaponics, kitchen counter sized milk pasteurizers. The list goes on and on. Self sustainable lifestyles are considerably easier today than it was in the 1930’s.
The oil industry, hydrology, geology, climate change studies, well monitoring, flow gauge measurements of seeps and springs, weather monitoring of precipitation and snow pack, all add to our data and knowledge about what is going on below the surface of the land. We have a great deal of science regarding which water sources are stable, or in balance and which are not or may not be.
Where you own land will determine whether you have water or not.
Many Nevada Ranches have BLM range land leases for grazing livestock. For instance, you can own 1000 acres and have grazing access to 40,000 acres through these lease arrangements. There are a few important considerations when shopping the ranch land market and leases. Are the water rights owned, is the land contiguous to the leases?
Range land condition and shared occupancy matter also. Are there wild horses on the ranges? While wild horses are beautiful and an American heritage, they can be very hard on the range land and compete with livestock for the food and water resources on the range land.
Water and drought are coming to the forefront in terms of farm and ranch land purchase considerations. Cattle herds are being sold off today due to lack of water and feed in much of the United States. This will lead to a shrinking supply of beef at your grocery store and of course higher prices.
Food production requires both energy and water. Quality food production without growth hormones, pesticides, and many other types of toxins has become high priority for many consumers. Look at Whole Foods success and the organic food craze. Who in the world would not choose a healthier diet given the opportunity?
So how do we get from old traditional farming techniques to a more efficient, productive, resource conserving food producing world? Can the free market with innovation and capitalism driven by consumer demand really make the numbers work? New innovative irrigation technology has made huge strides in recent years in both production and water consumption. We all know the government spending our money, picking winners and losers is not the answer, it up to you and me.
At the same time the aquifers of the world are dropping. Much of the world’s food production is not only subject to fickle weather patterns requiring the pumping ground water. This resource may be a far greater problem than peak oil. It is a combination of dwindling availability and contamination.
The average cow will drink 30 to 50 gallons of fresh water or a bath tub full per day, and eat up 90 pounds of feed. Hogs or pork production is not much different. Growing corn requires nearly 3000 gallons of water per bushel, Alfalfa requires about one acre foot per ton of hay, which is 325,851 gallons of fresh water per ton. These farm animals are the only source of the beef and pork the world demands. Cows are of course the primary source of dairy. All protein rich foods.
Speaking of the cattle, pork, and dairy industries, if you think you can keep antibiotics out of animals, dairy, and farming, you are dreaming. Prior to penicillin people regularly died from simple infections. You or some of the people you love would be dead today if you had been denied antibiotics.
So this brings us to the balance of the human food sources, fruits, vegetables, and grains. None of these grow without fresh water and good quality arable farm ground. Arable farm is a shrinking natural resource world wide. Aquifers world wide are dropping and irrigation pumping restrictions and reductions are becoming common in some of the most fertile and productive growing areas in the world.
Nevada has abundant affordable land, sunshine, and excellent solar intensity. Much of this land does not produce crops today. Can geothermal climate control coupled with solar, heat and cool green houses? Can hydroponics growing techniques reduce water consumption? Is it possible to eliminate the weather risk and seasonal limitations in farming by bringing farming indoors?
There are many ways you protect yourself and help solve the inevitable food and water shortages. Build your own greenhouse, get some egg laying chickens, get involved in your community gardening program or help develop one. Become educated about water consumption and use. Plant a garden. Move to a small farm .
If you are interested in the business opportunity utilizing affordable land to bring food production indoors in Nevada, call Chris W. Miller at 435-862-5951. We have the business plans, water rights, and the land.
The Great Basin is unique when it comes to water because the rivers have no outlet to the sea.
It is made up of many smaller drainage basins.
There is a complicated system of hydrology below the very interesting geology and topography of fractured, tilted plates of the Earth’s crust, that make up the Great Basin. Often referred to as Basin and Range because those tilted plates create mountain ranges that run from north to south. As the Earths crust stretched, cracked and tilted, it created large dry valleys or basins between the ranges. These basins can be compared to bowls that collect the snowmelt off the mountains. The alluvial fans are like great sponges, absorbing the meltwater into the ground. The snowpack is the primary recharge for the aquifers.
Scientists are and have been measuring water table levels, spring flow rates, and precipitation for many years. We know pumping affects water table levels. We know the average precipitation, but then that is history. Today drought is in the news and many scientists believe more drought is likely in our future, due to climate pattern changes taking place. Future recharge rates are speculative.
They know the maximum consumption allowed by the existing recorded water rights. Not all basins are decreed and some additional rights could be out there and are not recorded but valid. Domestic wells are generally not considered, no permit is required to drill a domestic well, and they are limited to two acre feet per year in consumption.
The terminology of Hydrology seems very complicated, at least for this layperson. The science, like most science attempting to make future projections is speculative, especially the flows between the many basins and the aquifer recharge rates. New discoveries in all science fields rewrite what we thought we knew as fact, everyday.
Unfortunately, we may not have the answers to some of the most important questions until the water tables have dropped and the Seeps and Springs are gone. The scientists can not tell us when the flow rates of Seeps and the Springs may slow, or even dry up. The truth is they can only speculate. They do not know how drought will affect recharge rates of the aquifers, and they certainly do not know how long or severe the drought may be. There is far more that science is unsure of, than there is that can be actually guaranteed.
July 27, 2010 at the Aspen Institute’s Environment Forum, Former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt at the “Hot and Dry: Water in the West and the World,” told the audience,
given all the hyping in the national and local and regional press.” hard to believe“Water scarcity is an issue, not everywhere, but in some regions. The American Southwest is not one of those regions where there is water scarcity. It’s
This is right in line with Pat Mulroy’s statement when she said, “The hyperbole (hyper exaggerations) coming from rural Nevadan’s about their water table concerns was childish.”You have to wonder what motivates Mr. Babbitt to say such a stupid thing, but then Pat Mulroy was also on the three person panel with him, and they were in Aspen Colorado. A poster child for conspicuous consumption and environmental lunatics. These are people who would like to tell you how many children you are allowed to have, and how large your carbon footprint can be, as they fly off in their private jet. They are asking for more of your dollars in the form of Obama’s Green stimulus money. Watch the forum videos!
They have already spent $ 80 Billion Dollars on Green stimulus bailout, and by the way, Harry Reid is claiming credit for the few short term jobs in Nevada this money created in his political race against Sharron Angle.
Southern Nevada Water Authority has proposed a pipeline from Las Vegas through Lincoln County and continuing into White Pine County on to the North. The Las Vegas Valley water district, now SNWA, filed 146 ground water applications in 1989 for undeveloped, unprovenground water in Eastern Nevada. This spark has lit the fuse for the battles to come. They do not at this time have approval for the water needed to supply this pipeline.
The Colorado River Compact allows Las Vegas 400,000 acre feet of water from Lake Mead. On average, one acre foot will supply two homes per year. A study by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego said there’s a 50 percent chance that Lake Mead, could run dry by 2021. In the last ten years Lake Mead has dropped from around 1200 ft. to below 1100 ft. today. At 1050 ft. Hoover Dam will stop generating electricity, and at 1000 ft. Las Vegas will lose the lower intake for the city‘s water supply.
Currently Lake Mead (The Colorado River) supplies 90% of the water to the Las Vegas Metro area. The Colorado River serves Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Wyoming, Utah, and Mexico, over 30 million people live in this region. We now know that based on the twenty year river flow study leading up to the Colorado River Compact in 1922, the river was over allocated by one million acre feet when the compact was signed and the shortage has only become worse.
The NASA/German Aerospace Center Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (Grace) study has found since 2003 the aquifers for California’s primary agricultural region the Central Valley and its major mountain water source the Sierra Nevada have lost nearly enough water combined to fill Lake Mead, America’s largest reservoir. This area represents nearly one sixth of all the United States irrigated land and the dropping water tables have the potential to have huge implications to the US economy.
None of this news is new , in fact the warnings have been ignored for over one hundred years. Panelists Bruce Babbit, Pat Mulroy, Sandra Postel and The Aspen Institute’s Environment Forum are apparently more interested in advancing their agenda than dealing with facts and truth.
John Wesley Powell told the International Irrigation Congress in Los Angeles in 1893,
water to supply the land.” sufficient“You are piling up a heritage of conflict and litigation over the water rights, there is no
Many, many scientific studies today are clearly confirming his thoughts.
I wonder what John Wesley Powell would think today?
Is Las Vegas Running out of Water? Southern Nevada Water Authority’s Water Problem
May 26, 2010 I attended the Southern Nevada Certified Commercial Investment Managers (CCIM) Chapter monthly meeting at the Rio in Las Vegas. I went for one reason, the title and speaker,
“How You May Be Impacted by Nevada’s Water Supply” presented by Pat Mulroy.
Mrs. Mulroy is the general manager of Southern Nevada Water Authority.
As a long time real estate professional who specializes in agricultural land with water rights in Nevada, I talk with Nevada’s farmers and ranchers’ everyday; I was shocked by the introduction.
The lady introducing Mrs. Mulroy said about her, among other things, how wonderful she is, how hard she works, how powerful she is, and then she said, “and something I’ll bet none of you know about her, She HATES COWS”.
Mrs. Mulroy took the stage and went on to say “anything that dumb and big has to be dangerous” referring to cattle. The friendly crowd of men and women dressed in suits and ties laughed.
I on the other hand, immediately took umbrage, and thought to myself, I wonder if this lady realizes where the food in the grocery store comes from.
I took notes the whole time she talked.
Her presentation seemed to me to be based on the fear factor.
She talked about snow pack in Colorado this past winter being at 67% of normal. She talked about continuing drought conditions. She explained that Lake Mead is running an annual deficit of approximately 2.7 million acre feet this year. There are 8.2 million acre feet coming in and 10.9 million acre feet going out.
Mrs. Mulroy explained the Lake Mead Water level measurements with future projections.
But first let me give you a little history, from 1939 to 2003 Lake Mead averaged 1173 foot elevation, the high water or maximum point for Lake Mead is 1229.
Today Lake Mead stands at about 1094. Since the canyon narrows as it descends, the water level drops faster and faster as it is over drafted, so expect the drop to accelerate.
Mrs. Mulroy explained that at the 1088 foot elevation level they could lose the upper intake for the water supply to Boulder City and 40% of Las Vegas’s supply.
She said, “At 1050 Hoover Dam stops generating power and that the dam supplies all of the electricity to Overton Power and Lincoln County Power.”
“At 1000 Vegas loses the lower intake that would literally cut off 90% of the water supply to Las Vegas and all of the water supply to Boulder City.”
She stated that, Southern Nevada Water Association uses approximately 9.5 million acre feet per year, (that sounds like ten times too much to me) and once Lake Mead goes below 1025 there are only 4 to 5 million acre feet of water left in the reservoir.
She said the Lincoln and White Pine Counties pipeline will start construction in 2012 if the lake goes below 1075, period!
What makes you think they will stop in White Pine and Lincoln Counties?
Michael Johnson, Virgin Valley Water District hydrologist, told me years ago the aquifer that runs under our Mesquite Valley travels under Lake Mead, could they tap into it?
She said “the hyperbole (hyper exaggerations) coming from rural Nevadan’s about their water table concerns was childish.” She went on to say “the rural Nevada farmers and ranchers are being Pig Headed.”
She said” If I have to set up a cot in Harry Reid’s office, I will stay until I get a permanent chair”. I did not know Harry passed out water rights. That job belongs to the Nevada State Engineer.
She said to watch for a favorable Moody’s Rating Agency report coming out that should help support project financing in Las Vegas. I wonder if Moody’s knows any thing about water. Remember the rating agencies said the Mortgage Backed Securities were safe and secure too.
She mentioned desalination, but seemed to dismiss this as a nonviable option either in Mexico or California. Eventually this will be the only answer, once the Nevada aquifers have been depleted. It is only a matter of time.
She may be powerful, but based on her comments, attitude and general demeanor; clearly she is not as sharp as you would expect!
That does not mean you should under estimate her ability or determination to get this done.
You can learn more about me by searching “Irrigated Nevada farm and ranch land with water rights for sale” on any search engine. Written By Chris W. Miller 435-862-5951
Are you unsure if all the hype about water and food shortages in the future is real or just?
The science is mounting and it is not any one single cause or source. You may not buy into global warming or maybe you do and just do not believe it is man caused. Either way drought is real.
As mentioned the science is mounting in favor of serious problems in coming decades for mankind’s ability to provide adequate fresh drinking water and food to the increasing billions of us on the planet.
In previous blogs I have referenced National Geographic’s April 2010 Special Issue, “Water Our Thirsty World”. They clearly believe we have a problem already in many parts of the world including parts of the United States.
A new study called, the gravity recovery and climate experiment, or GRACE shows the following.
“Combined, California’s Sacramento and San Joaquin drainage basins have shed more than 30 cubic kilometers of water since late 2003, said Jay Famiglietti, UCI Earth system science professor and director of the UC Center for Hydrologic Modeling. A cubic kilometer is about 264.2 billion gallons, enough to fill 400,000 Olympic-size pools. The bulk of the loss occurred in the state’s agricultural Central Valley. The Central Valley depends on irrigation from both groundwater wells and diverted surface water.
“GRACE data reveal groundwater in these basins is being pumped for irrigation at rates that are not sustainable if current trends continue,” Famiglietti said. “This is leading to declining water tables, water shortages, decreasing crop sizes and continued land subsidence. The findings have major implications for the U.S. economy, as California’s Central Valley is home to one-sixth of all U.S. irrigated land and the state leads the nation in agricultural production and exports.”
The loss is nearly enough to fill Lake Mead, America’s largest reservoir and Las Vegas Nevada’s primary water source. The Central Valley’s major source of water comes from the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.
The issues of population growth, the future world shortages of food and water are not going away just because much of the worlds population chooses to ignore the facts. They actually think their food comes from the grocery store.
Technology and genetics have and will continue to improve production. Technology is making huge contributions to irrigation efficiency, and will continue to improve. This aspect requires farmers to upgrade equipment. Expensive and for some farmers a nuisance, particularly if they are happy with what they are currently doing.
Seed genetics and plant treatment technology has and will also continue to makes huge strides to add to productivity.
These will not be enough to meet damand. Athough, since 1970, productivity has stayed ahead of demand. This will change in the years to come.
We have a number of properties available for sale with water rights. Some of our properties are located in Southern Nevada. Water rights are in high demand in Southern Nevada, between Coyote Springs, Toquop, the new power plant, and Las Vegas. Water could get real short in the not to distant future. Science shows the Colorado River is way over drafted and Vegas may have a problem with water shortages. Since Nevada water rights are considered appurtenances to the land, they can be sold with the land.
Here are a few Nevada Farms and Cattle Ranches with Water Rights, and we have more:
This Nevada farm land consists of 1000 acres deeded, plus a 33,979 acres BLM range allotment, the BLM ranger told me on a tour, “this is the finest quality range he manages”. There are water rights to 13 springs, some on public lands. Two pivots irrigate 220 acres, at 5 tons per season it could produce roughly 1,100 tons of quality alfalfa per season. Current local market prices are around $130 per ton, which generates estimated gross income nearly $143,000 per season. The 2120 AUM BLM summer range allotment allows for around 250 Head. http://listings.realbird.com/VirtualTour.aspx?id=D7D5D7D4&rb-brand=1&fid=48063
This Nevada farm/ranch consists of approximately 520 acres deeded, Southern Nevada Ground water rights. The ranch is productive, raising quality alfalfa, at 5 tons per season it could produce roughly 2,500 tons of quality alfalfa per season. Current local market prices are around $130 per ton, which generates estimated gross income nearly $325,000 per season. This ranch will be transition land in lifetimes. http://www.propertypanorama.com/tour.asp?id=101804
This old homestead “estate sale” Nevada ranch has not been worked much in some years. Consisting of 266 acres, the property has an old well and I have been told functions. Possibly most important is the 821 acre feet of ground water rights. This ranch is located South of Panaca, Nevada, in Lincoln County. These Southern Nevada ground Water rights have priority dates of 1947. There are two BLM range leases, Panaca Cattle Company and BuckBoard, roughly 60AUMs. http://www.propertypanorama.com/101805
This a special Nevada ranch with water rights because of the location and lay of the land. The “Flatnose Spring/Deer Lodge Valley offers 620 acres, and approximately 3000 acre feet in certified Southern Nevada ground water rights. Plus Flatnose Spring surface water rights, the spring was measured in 2004 at 1,818 liters per minute. The ranch as a history of producing around 1500 tons per season of quality alfalfa per season. Current local market prices are around $130 per ton, which generates estimated gross income nearly $200,000 per season. The owner has been receiving two depredation Deer tags per year and sells them for $5,000 each, this year he has around 40 applicants, he is considering raising the price for the deer tags. http://www.propertypanorama.com/101808
You can own Water Rights in Nevada. The Irrigated Land in Nevada can be leased back to farmer operators and provide return on your investment.
For more information, give Chris a call 435-862-5951
Chris W. Miller
Las Vegas, NV 89123
702-733-9337 Land in Nevada
A lender recently told me, 80% of the buyers he is pre-qualifying can not get a loan.
I have a nagging fear that our real estate markets as we have known them throughout the last 70 years will not be restored until the Federation gets back to its foundation. The nation was built on principles of individual liberty, individual responsibility, and free enterprise. As a democracy we elect officials to represent us, uphold the Constitution, and follow the laws, today they appear to be doing few of these things.
The majority of the money currently being loaned as mortgages is government backed, through FHA, HUD, USDA, VA and in the secondary markets of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae. Yes a conventional bank or mortgage broker may take your loan application but virtually all the loans are being sold into these government agencies. The private secondary mortgage market has become nearly non existent at current rates. Fannie and Freddie were not designed to be slush funds for bad decisions or funded long term by tax dollars. In order for the Mortgage companies to continue to lend at current rates the US government may have to EXPLICITLY guarantee these agency (MBS) Mortgage backed securities cash flow investments.
The government regulations have gone from “making homes affordable” think: Bush administration, ACORN, and the repeal of Glass-Steagall, although it goes back much further in history. To today’s consumer protection laws, making it much more difficult to get a loan. When the government exits the mortgage business, rates will go up.
The federal reserve has spent 1.122 trillion of the 1.25 trillion given it to buy (MBS), the program is scheduled to end March 2010, along with the “Home Buyers Tax Credits”. The federal reserve can keep rates low for the banks to make huge profits on short rates but it really has limited control of the ten year and longer end of the bond markets which effect mortgage rates more directly.
2.8 million Foreclosures hit the market in 2009. Fitch ratings have warned that in the next twenty four months another one half trillion dollars in prime, Alt-A, interest only, option arms, and sub prime mortgages will adjust or recast and many of these are middle and upper middle class families. Creating unsustainable payment shock for millions more Americans and millions more foreclosures. Distress in real estate tends to lead to more distress, and finding a bottom may involve unemployment numbers.
RealtyTrac says “No End in Sight”.
This is ALL about unsustainable debt, consumer debt, state level debt, federal level debt, and out of control spending.
Back to the start, the Federation is governed by laws; states are required to balance budgets, consumers are required to make mortgage payments or suffer the consequences. Our elected officials can not save home values, they can not keep people living in more home than they can afford, they can not put people in more home than they can afford and expect them to make it, and they can not modify people into a home they could never afford in the first place. They are throwing our good money after trillions in bad money. They, the elected officials, must be held accountable for bringing our children’s nation to the brink of bankruptcy.
When the dust finally settles and the unrealized losses are all on the books, the wealth effect in dollars lost will be staggering beyond any numbers currently being discussed, the effects will last generations. These losses will show up in places like pension funds of all kinds, 401k plans, other retirement accounts, sovereign wealth funds, and many of the world’s governments. States with budget deficits and falling tax revenues will be asked to cover more and more of the federal debt burden.
None of this is good for the current home price market today or tomorrow. The median price home sold in Mesquite during the forth quarter 2009 dropped to $192,063 or $118 per square foot. The median priced condo sold for $75,000 or $70 per square foot, and the median priced town home sold for $108,000 or $78 per square foot.
Ego, greed and monetary policy have taken us down the wrong path. Government intervention and efforts to manipulate the market created the environment for the crisis to occur; now it threatens to prolong and deepen the damage. We as a country must quit spending money we do not have, buying homes we can not afford, and curb government spending programs. And until we as a nation get back to a free and open market, principles of individual liberty, individual responsibility, and free enterprise, I believe recovery is unlikely.
Real recovery can only begin with honesty at every level, at home, in business, and most importantly at the government level. In my humble opinion we have little chance of any real sustainable financial recovery until we accept these facts and principles and then, act on them.
Expect real estate values to continue to drop more in 2010 due to the massive amount of distressed inventory of properties sitting out there and coming to the market.
Chris W. Miller has 33 years in the real estate industry, was trained and worked as a financial advisor for Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and currently specializes in Irrigated Nevada land with water rights with ERA Brokers Consolidated in Mesquite Nevada. He can be reached at 702-346-7200 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Nevada Ranches and Farms, in general own their water rights. These water rights are sold as an appurtenance to the land.
Land in Nevada without water can be desolate. Most every Nevada Ranch and Farm has water rights. For more information on Nevada water rights the Nevada State Engineers office is your best bet. The State Engineers office regulates and controls water rights in Nevada.
Water rights being sold with Nevada farms and ranches may be for irrigation, livestock watering, or domestic use. It may come from live springs, artesian wells or be pumped ground water. Regardless the use or source, they must have have water rights to utilize that water. Some Nevada ranches own water rights located on public lands and have BLM grazing leases.
A single household can use a domestic well without any special rights. Nevada ranch property and farms need certified water rights.
Water in Nevada is scarce, a valuable resource to be protected and managed. Fresh water around the world is becoming a coveted commodity. Nevada’s Irrigated Farms and Ranch land with water rights provide food for the world, and jobs as well as a quality lifestyle for those who operate them.
Since the State of Nevada has more public land than any other in the lower 48, privately owned Nevada Farms and Ranches tend to be few and far between. Again land in Nevada without water tends to be rather barren.
The State of Nevada is divided into water basins, many basins are closed to any future allocations. They will not issue additional permits in these areas to use the water resources. While demand increases, supply is very limited.