dowser (Peter Macfarlane)


Comment history

Letter: Sex ed concern

Oh heck, boys will be boys and girls,..... well, let's keep 'em barefoot and pregnant!

February 8, 2015 at 8:09 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Kansas lawmakers to hold informational hearings on marriage

Who was it that said: "Nobody's life, liberty, or property is safe as long as the legislature is in session."

February 8, 2015 at 8:04 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Kansas Water Authority accepts report on proposed aqueduct

One of my colleagues once quipped: "Before mankind water used to flow downhill, now it flows toward money!" Yup, let's do it the Kansas way: ignore mother nature and full steam ahead no matter the cost or the consequences!

January 31, 2015 at 10:27 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lawmakers question Brownback's allotment cuts

It's a Pavlovian phenomenon: Most Kansas voters see the letter R after the candidate's name and they respond appropriately. They eventually get a reward - and you can guess what that is.

December 24, 2014 at 8:46 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

University leaders say liberal arts programs are struggling for recognition, respect

Tony Wagner has written books on the topic and has a lot to say about the innovators in our culture. Interestingly, they are not the engineers and scientists as one would expect, but rather the ones with degrees in liberal arts. They have the breadth of understanding and vision that is needed to make innovation possible in modern society.

December 19, 2014 at 6:34 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Brownback moving ahead on 50-year water vision

Understanding the causes of diminishing water supplies in western Kansas and the more rapid filling of reservoirs than was predicted does not require advanced degrees in rocket or any other science. The facts are indisputable. Irrigators, scientists, water managers, and policy makers have known for decades that irrigators are withdrawing water from the High Plains (Ogallala) aquifer that are 1000s to 10000s times faster than natural or induced recharge can put it back in the ground. What is lacking is the political will to stop it. As for the more rapid filling of reservoirs, that is what happens naturally when the flow of a river is stopped by a dam. Mud that was in suspension settles out and is deposited in the bottom of the reservoir. All that silt that has washed off plowed or unprotected land winds up being carried by the river in addition to what would be carried by natural processes. Again, there is a culprit here and that is less than adequate soil conservation practices by agriculture, construction, and other human activities.

December 7, 2014 at 8:44 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Proponent of Kansas Aqueduct project pushes plan before Legislature

I was being generous in my comment.

February 4, 2014 at 11:27 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Proponent of Kansas Aqueduct project pushes plan before Legislature

In matters related to irrigation from ground water in western Kansas, the Division of Water Resources, the local management districts, and the irrigators have for decades been living in a fantasy world. The right to site and drill an irrigation well and use the water from it has been based on so-called "well spacing requirements" that are predicated on the amount of recharge that the High Plains (Ogallala) aquifer receives annually on average. Now, nobody really knows how much recharge the aquifer really receives or how it is distributed. Hence, the fantasy. The amounts that are usually assumed vary from east to west following the rainfall gradient, but the assumption is usually on the order of 1 to 3 inches. Furthermore, the amount that irrigators are actually withdrawing annually has only been known through actual measurement since the 1990s. Up until that time, the State took the irrigator's word for amount, usually based on an assumed pumping rate and the number of hours of pumping.

My point is that we have all been delusional with respect to what irrigation has been doing to what is essentially a non-renewable resource. We, the taxpayers, have funded many studies of this aquifer system and the effect of irrigation it. Most if not all of these studies demonstrated the sad state of affairs with respect to the future of this resource, but alas, the warnings and the picture they paint of the aquifer's future have been largely ignored by all the parties concerned.

The concept of an aqueduct sounds simple, but the devil is in the details. The energy cost of moving that much water uphill almost 3,000 feet from the Missouri River to western Kansas would be enormous, not to mention the energy losses due to friction. The irony is that much of that water would go to corn that eventually would turn into ethanol, another waste of energy. The other major problem would be the need to prevent water loss through evaporation or seepage out of the bottom of the aqueduct. Evaporation generally increases across the state from east to west. The aqueduct would have to be completely enclosed to prevent major losses of water from it. Once the water arrives in western Kansas distribution to irrigated fields could be problematic. The water has to be delivered through lined canals, or pumped underground to recharge the aquifer, which will have its own set of unique problems. In my opinion, this is a project where we are likely to be throwing good money after bad.

February 4, 2014 at 10:06 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Appeals court limits power of Kansas 'water czar'

William, you are correct: water wars will be notable all through this century as our resources continue to dwindle and as the changing climate impacts recharge to ground-water resources and stream flows. The US Geological Survey and the Kansas Geological Survey have been documenting reductions in the available water resources since 1950s when irrigation became the norm in western Kansas and adjoining states. Unfortunately, in the 1960s and into the 1970s the Chief Engineer of the Division of Water Resources granted permits with little review because at the time, development and use of water resources for agriculture. By the mid-1970s it was becoming to obvious that High Plains (Ogallala) aquifer was being mined to depletion. By the end of the decade measures were taken by local quasi-governmental agencies and state agencies to conserve the remaining water resources in this aquifer system and to put management on a more scientific basis. This trend has continued as irrigators and other users continue to mine the aquifer. With depletion, litigation between irrigators and states will be more common than they have been in the past.

Brock, yes you are also correct, at least in an ideal world. The Chief Engineer continues to issue permits but only after the local quasi-governmental agency has approved it in most cases. However, many decisions for granting permits are based on planned depletion, which relies on estimates of available supply and the annual amount of replenishment. The available supply is easy to quantify. The difficulty is agreeing on what the rate of replenishment is. There is even some disagreement among hydrologists. As a result, the Chief engineer relies on what is referred to as the administrative rate of replenishment, which may or may not be anywhere close to what the local or regional rate of replenishment is. Funding for studies that would help the agencies better understand how the rate of replenishment varies across western Kansas would require large sums of money that nobody is willing to pay. So, the Chief Engineer has little choice in the tools he can use to help conserve supplies. Everybody agrees that withdrawals are several orders of magnitude more than replenishment. Unfortunately, if he cannot put a realistic number on the rate of replenishment he has to fall back on what could turn out to be fantasy.

Government is like everything else these days: you get what you pay for and usually less!

December 29, 2013 at 9:07 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Former KGS senior scientist censured for allegations of plagiarism

As a friend and former colleague of Marios Sophocleous, I would believe what he says before I would believe either what the KGS or the University has to say. Something is rotten and I don't think it is coming from his direction.

December 12, 2013 at 1:57 p.m. ( | suggest removal )