The editors wrote:
Water's fairly important in a desert, and by not bothering to plan for it ahead of time, chances for a simple solution are quicly drying up.Uh, first of all, Pullman is not a desert. Whitman County produces more barley, wheat, dry peas and lentils than any other county in the United States, all of it without irrigation.
In 1953, Peveril Meigs divided desert regions on Earth into three categories according to the amount of precipitation they received. In this now widely accepted system, extremely arid lands have at least 12 consecutive months without rainfall, arid lands have less than 250 millimeters of annual rainfall, and semiarid lands have a mean annual precipitation of between 250 and 500 millimeters. Pullman's average annual rainfall is 533.654 millimeters (21.01 inches), placing us slightly above the semiarid category. Believe it or not, Pullman receives more rainfall than Sequim on the Olympic Peninsula (16 inches a year), hardly a place you would consider a "desert." Heck, even Honolulu gets about 22 inches of rainfall a year. Las Vegas is in the desert, with only 4.9 inches of rainfall a year. But I suppose if you're a young liberal from Seattle, then Pullman must seem like a "desert."
Secondly, the Watermelon editors have apparently bought into the whole water hysteria being distributed by King Solomon and the Knights of the Water Table without any independent research. The Palouse Basin Aquifer Committee concluded in its latest study:
Water level data for the period show no consistent trend, with some wells experiencing a decline in static water level, others remaining relatively stable, and yet others indicating a possible increase in static water level. Measurement of static water levels in pumping wells is problematic, and there have been additional complications associated with the instrumentation and protocols utilized to make the measurements during the period. The combination of these factors makes it difficult to provide any generalized conclusions as to the aquifer water level trends at this time.So in other words, it's hardly time to panic. WSU has plenty of time to implement its water reclamation plant, once funding can be obtained.
Lastly, I would like to point out to the "journalists" at the Watermelon that residential usage accounts for the greatest percentage of water consumption. According to PBAC, the average household uses approximately 111,500 gallons of water a year. That means the 283 more students enrolled at WSU this year will consume an additional 31.5 millions gallons of water a year from the aquifer. I'm not "versed in environmental management" either, but it seems "fairly self-evident" that 31.5 million gallons is a "significant increase." Where's the "concern" over that?