Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Texans Store Gasoline


Haven't WE had Enough?

Texans, another "things you can do" reminder.  Today, I checked with several local gas stations in northeast Austin near where I live.  None of them had back-up generators or plans to obtain one.  So when the water runs out and the electrical power with it, few if any gas stations will be able to pump fuel.  There aren't enough short term generators on retailers inventories to supply the gas stations, and there will be fierce competition for those available. Therefore they will have to shipped from out of state, a process that will take 1-3 weeks minimum.  Within a week or two every generator in the country will be bought by Texans, and there will still be a tremendous demand.  Keep in mind there will be 26 million Texans with no water, electricity and and a dramatic shortage of gasoline.  Ironic, since Houston refines 60% of the nations gasoline.  We've got enough for 250 million people but we can't use it ourselves.  That's not a joke but laugh anyway.  What else can you do in the face of such preposterous circumstances. And our government, whom we elect and pay to serve us has not mentioned the catastrophic consequences of running out of water. And from all appearances, they have no plans to do so.  Aren't you glad we elected a governor who doesn't believe government has any business in public service.  He's already announced his plan to get rid of Medicaid.  Not to worry Rick, 80% of the population will be forced to leave, so in a couple of years you will preside over a ghost state.  That's a joke.

So, keep your car tanks full and store all the gasoline that you possibly can.  Don't forget to put preservatives in every container or it will "spoil" and be useless for your car or generator if you have had the foresight to get one before the panic.  I purchase the top of the line Honda generator a month ago.  Texans, get one while you can. Be sure and tell the sales staff why you are purchasing the generator.  If sales increase dramatically, perhaps the retail vendors will figure out what is happening and increase their stock.

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Visual Reminder
Since, Perry has declared in writing to retail customers via the water districts that "there is not water problem, and no further conservation measures will be necessary", and he rejected the seasoned advice that he didn't want to here from the Texas Water Commission, who had a long history of managing water problems in this state for over a decade, "immediate drastic cut backs be made in our usage fo power and water on June 29th when our reservoirs hit a "trigger point" low matching the record low of 1951.  Perry blocked those actions which are routinely followed by utility districts,  The last Friday it was announced that he fired the entire Commission and replaced them with allies form the real estate and financial sectors, not a single one of which has any experience in managing the complexities of water resource management.  Not a scientist on the new commission.  Just "yes" people incompetent to assess the situation and ploitically biased against against conservation of any type. 

So the die is cast; Perry will watch us run dry without even a warning to the public of the severity of the problem.  A simple calculation: water on hand divided by the usage rate, both public information indicates that our reservoirs will be bone dry by the first week in February.  Unless of course something changes.  Unlikely that our usage will change since Perry opposes it and the public simply refuses to stop stop watering their lawns (25% of our total usage).  So Travis County and other areas in south Texas will be very ugly very suddenly around Feb 1st.  Residents will have no water or power.  Gas will be unavailable because gas can't be pumped without power.  All retail, including supermarkets will be closed according to current standarts.  The EMT and medical facilities will be completely overwhelmed beyond capacity.  Evacuate a large portion of 1.7 million people? How, the freeways will become parking lots, virtually frozen.  What would DFWand Houston do with this migrants if the got there?  Those cities have more water in their reservoirs that we do, but certainly not enough for millions of people.  And shelter, recall how few Katrina victims Texas absorbed after great delay.  

Certainly, the event, running out of water will stimulate stage 2 of Kubler-Rosses universally accepted pattern of how humanity deals with loss: anger.  Food riots are certainly a possibility. Any ugly thing you can think of with probably will happen to one degree or another.  I'm sure Gov Perry will be several continents away, as whatever miracle he believed in that was going to save us did not occur.

Do what you can to prepare.  Organize anyone willing to step out of denial that a catastrophe is coming, and pray.  If you feel like you need to leave, do it soon, because the last few weeks  before the last drop of water is gone, escape will be profoundly difficult.  Simply, put, how are you going to drive out this giant state without refilling your gas tank, is wishful thinking.  And it's not as if your fuel problems end when you cross the State line, nature does not honor these imaginary lines.  New Mexico has minimal services which will be overwhelmed immediatiely.  The desert and drought continue to the Pacific Ocean.  Colorado has it's own set of environmental emergencies.  The midwest has dried up all the way to southern Minnesota.  That leaves, East through one of the poorist areas of the country, but virtually no capacity to absorb a flood of migrating Texans.  Bottom, line, you are faced with a 1000 mile journey at a snails pace , 5 mph, with the constant stress of finding food and water; and little chance of ever sleeping in a motel.  Look at the numbers, our current weather pattern which is going on 6 years with no signs of change, puts Texas with an annual rainfall similar to New Mexico, and that supports a population density at the most optimistic projections, that when applied to Texas which is twice the size, projects a sustainable population of 5 million maximum.

That means of our current 26.5 million, will have to shrink by over 20 million over a short period of time.  Once urban areas go dry this winter, the reservoir system for all practical purposes is permanently broken because it will take decades for the reservoirs to refill to a useable level.  The urban populations will dead or gone way before that.  It is ironic that the urban areas, currently with far more resources than rural areas, are vastly more vulnerable in this situation, and will have almost no choice but to migrate.  If you accept that 80% of the population must leave over a short 2 year period (and unless something miraculous happens in the next six months---how is anyone going to wait 2 years before leaving?).  But, for the sake of this theoretical model whose purpose is to expose the unanticipated risks of migrating, that add 20,000 cars to our already congested freeways.  And they will all be going one direction East or Northeast.  That folks is one Siberian sized parking lot. How will the local people deal with wrecks, brake downs, running our of gas, medical emergencies?  Simple put if you have a serious medical problem, chances are you die in your car.  The very young and very old will be very vulnerable to heat and or cold stress.  Ever tried to keep your car remotely comfortable while idling for 10 hours?  Can't be done; especially when you need to turn your engine off as much as possible to conserve fuel.  I'll stop now; but continue to think of the myriad of difficulties and how you would have to deal with them.

I think it will take an organized and spirited national effort to avoid millions of deaths.  But maybe that is what America needs right now to jump start a desperate need for unity and community. Having a clear purpose, saving people that can't help them selves, with a simple set of tasks (moving food and water around and giving it grateful people) is a vastly more fulfilling life than our usual "worries" like what color the new car should be, what TV show are we watching tonight, or what am I going to wear to work tomorrow.  We have become a nation of consumers, valuing only money and void of any fulfilling activities.  Spoiled physically and so disconnected with nature, the average citizen does not any details of where our water comes from and why it comes out of the tap.  I was shocked when I first stared talking to people here in Austin, the capital of the "the energy State" that few knew that electricity generation is dependent on vast quantities of water, or that gas wouldn't come out of the pump with electricity.  We've taken too much for granted for far too long.  Perhaps, the hidden blessing in this Climate Change driven disaster, will be that it wll shock us back into an appreciation for the necessities of life that we have taken for granted for long it has rendered us nearly helpless when stressed by weather change.  And as World Climactic Weather Changes go, this current one is just a small interdictory test.  At this point we are failing the test.  But we have choices.  We have the freedom to make them. And we have both the hard wired (genetic) spirit, toughness, and dogged determination to turn that around.  But there is no time to waste on bickering, political or otherwise.  We must immediately do what obviously needs to be done and put our differences aside.

Revision of September 19, 2012
This situation has solidified: Gov. Perry who doesn't believe in World Climactic Change had firmly decided that there will be no cut backs in use of water or power, which was recommended with urgency by the highly competent Texas Water Commission headed by Professor of Biology and Wildlife Preservation, Neil Wilkins, on June 29th, immediate and dramatic cutbacks in our use of power and water, which Perry blocked.  Wilkins a brilliant man with an impeccable pedigree and unmatched experience in water and forest management, has left for a job at a private wildlife reservation in Corpus.  Perry, replaced the entire commission with "yes men", loyal to him and all from the real estate financial sectors.  Not a one of them has any training or experience with water management.  Not a scientist among them.  So the new Texas Water Commission know only one thing about water, how to waste it.  So with our water on hand clearly defined (measured and posted daily), and our usage rate unlikely to reduce (residents and business have refused to conserve since this drought began, I divided the water on hand by the usage rate (likely to go up since our population continues to grow wildly (26,000 new residents of travis County in 2011, the hottest driest year on record), this 8th grade algebra calculation revealed that we have 5.22 months until we ARE COMPLETELY OUT OF WARER IN TRAVIS COUNTY.  Even a level 5 hurricane making a direct hit on the south gulf coast would only push this date a couple of months.  Our only hope lies in our own effort.

Morris Creedon-McVean. D.O.