Drought - Fire - Flood Email Forum

Re: intro. to online drought, fire, and flood dialouge

Scott C. Reuman (
Tue, 24 Oct 2000 19:02:45 -0400

I'm Scott Reuman, just a general rabble rouser. Some would say "eclectic,"
some "mixed up." I'll take either as a compliment. I've got a background
in physics, biomedical engineering, business, and fine art. I currently
work as a writer, artist, woodworker and kayaker (well, I don't work as a
kayaker, but I work at it -- although I have been paid as such I don't
rank as a commercial river bum, just a bum). I was born on the water (my
parents bought a boat before house or car) and have spent many years on
rivers and watching watersheds.

It seems to me that "drought" is too much like drugs. The current war on
drugs is a supply-side battle -- stop the supply and you stop the use, so
goes the theory. But demand mostly ignores that war since there are so
many leaky (to use metaphor appropriate to this discussion) sources of
drugs. To define water drought based on supply is just as much an exercise
in futility. This requires that each user-system (human, non-human,
agriculture, recreation, etc.) define when a deficit of water interferes
with their "fun". If a lawn needs watering and the owner can not do so,
there is "drought." Worse, if a jet skier needs a body of water and none
is available, well, you can imagine the ire. Perhaps we might consider
"social" drought (demand-side by definition), independently defined by the
various users. I hesitate to suggest this because the needs of a tree, a
meadow, a gardener, and a corn farmer a vastly different. But Mom Nature
knows no difference, drought just means business as usual, even if human
records show a drop in the average precip. over X number of years.
Drought truly must be related (unfortunately) to human users (or at least
human perceptions) rather than to non-human ecosystems.

Scott C. Reuman
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