Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

FLOBECK :When all march north, think of heading south

Jack Flobeck Published: February 23, 2014

This is one of the primary tenants of Rothschild's law of contrary opinion.

The original Baron Rothschild made tons of money going against the tide of conventional wisdom by selling when everyone was buying, by buying when everyone was selling, by making investments in real estate, insurance, stocks and even governments - based on accurate information, not on emotional or whimsical opinions.

He instituted carrier pigeon networks as well as flashing signal towers to relay his private information all across Europe, and it was not usual for him to know the winner of a strategic battle before the generals back at army staff headquarters.

The current family is still well entrenched in business, banking, politics and power all across England, France and Germany.

When snow drifts are a foot deep in one's frozen backyard, when the media is full of reports of floods and avalanches, when the smart gossip says that we had so much snow, we needn't worry about droughts, it's time to dust off our old contrarian hat and reconsider Rothschild and his philosophy of considering the opposite of what "everyone else" thinks.

The parallel in the water business is that, if conventional wisdom or prevalent gossip predict that 2014 will be a banner year in water availability, then we might get caught marching the wrong way.

To find the inside story about our 2014 water future, the writer researched the most reliable sources.

First, we examined "The U.S. Drought Monitor," looking specifically at Colorado, California and Texas maps.

The drought jargon is represented on the maps by orange, red and black, representing severe, extreme and exceptional drought conditions.

California is almost all black, and while the floods came and went, they still have below-average reservoirs and ever-looming wildfire dangers.

Texas is red or extreme in eight major areas along with two smaller exceptional or black zones, while Colorado is overall a yellow map, or moderate drought area, with large red or severe stretches, with a big black exceptional drought, indicated for a geography that includes Lamar and Springfield in the southeast portion of the state.

This data is corroborated by the Colorado Water Conservation Board site as of February.

Abigail Ortega of CSU made a concise report to the Colorado Springs City Council on Feb. 19, showing local storage at 56 percent or 7 percent below normal.

All these reports are based upon "normal" and "average" data.

So when was it normal?

We have written much about the changing snow quality, the earlier runoffs and the later spring planting of crops.

The snow contains more debris now that when "normal" was started, and we postulate that even with more snow we will net less water.

The real gorilla in the room is the Ogallala Aquifer upon which many farmers rely.

According to continuing studies of 1,400 irrigation wells, from Amarillo to Lubbock, Texas, made by the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District, the aquifer water levels keep dropping and we can expect it to go dry in 2030.

The beetles keep killing our trees, the rivers continue to be stressed, and the Ogallala wells are endangered; so is it time to take action to keep our agriculture strong, maintain our ability to thwart wildfires and preserve our drinking water? It's up to us, and The Baron would smile.

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Readers may email Jack Flobeck at colojackf@msn.com.

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