Published: Thursday, Aug. 22 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT
My. My. George Hawkins seems to have a bee in his bonnet because someone dared
to suggest that he and his fellow Utahns should find a way to use their water
resources more efficiently. And what better way to discredit someone than to
state they are from the “artsy, upper crust town of Croton-on-Hudson in
the state of New York.”After using other attempts to discredit
Mr. Olsson, associating his with the unpopular – in Utah -president, then
Mr. Hawkins makes the puzzling statement that “we desert dwellers want to
live like the elite folks back east” after he has taken such care in
badmouthing those same people.So what would give Erik Olsson
“standing?” I would suggest that his reading and contributing to
the DN means he has some attachment to Utah - maybe relatives, maybe friends,
perhaps his religious affiliation. And yes, Croton-on-Hudson is a beautiful
community blessed by the rain that falls in the Hudson River Valley. But the
desert of Utah is beautiful as well. Why doesn’t Mr. Hawkins want to
celebrate that with natural landscaping, as suggested by Erik Olsson, instead of
Here's the difference, Mr. Hawkins. He lives in an area where water is
abundant. We live in an area where it is not. If you want to live in a green
area where water is not scarce, then I suggest you move somewhere where water is
abundant. That doesn't make him an "elitist" because he chooses to
live in New York. That always seems to be a Utah thing - blame the elitists
from "back east" or all the Californians moving here. It's kind of
humorous, actually. The fact remains that Utahn use a lot of water
per capita, and if the people in Utah want the federal government to help fund
the Lake Powell pipeline, those who provide that funding should be allowed to
have an opinion. President Obama's travel is really irrelevant
to this discussion.
I would like to address a MYTH that is repeated endlessly here in Utah since
about 1850."We live in a desert." About 80
percent of the population of Utah resides in an area called the Wasatch Front.
From Nephi to Brigham City is about 140 miles. The average width is about 7
miles. The Wasatch Front is about 1,000 of Utah's 82,144 square miles.
Not even 2 percent of Utah.When the pioneers came into the valley
the natural grass was up to the boots on the horse riders. Wheat is a grass
that people eat. Wheat is dry land farmed up and down the Wasatch Front. Wheat
is not a desert crop unless you irrigate.Yes, the pioneers engaged
in substantial irrigation along the Wasatch Front. No sane Utah resident would
call Florida a desert. I home teach a man, here in Payson, that works in
Florida each winter engineering irrigation systems for vegetable farmers. The
need for irrigation does not define a desert.Wendover, Green River
and St. George are located in the desert. The shrinking farms and growing
cities of the Wasatch Front are NOT located in a desert. Popular myths die
@WilliamGronburgWhile we don't live in a desert we do live in a very
arid climate. The maximum amount of precipitation a year for a desert is 10
inches. Salt Lake City gets 16 inches per year. We are literally one step up
from a desert. There are a million people in the SL Valley alone. We have too
many people to plant Kentucky Bluegrass and water it 4 times a week. We really
need to get on top of our water problems. Utah County is already having problems
running out of landscape water. Other places in Utah will be next.
William Gronberg - with all due respect, watering - irrigating - farmland to
grow vegetables is a totally different need than watering the lawn in your front
yard. Obviously we need vegetables and the Florida climate allows for vegetable
growing all year round. But growing green grass in your front yard for the
pleasure of looking at it, or playing on it, is an unnatural thing. Erik
Olsson's yard in the Hudson Valley most likely doesn't require an
underground sprinkler system to keep it green. Mother nature takes care of
Those living in other States are so free with their advice. They probably think
that we wait with bated breath for them to help us "country bumpkins".
They tell us that Utah can't make decisions for Utah. They tell us that we
need to keep Utah locked up so that they have a playground to visit when they
leave their overcrowded cities. They tell us that they deserve our land to
become monuments and parks for their enjoyment. It's typical
liberal gibberish, i.e., do as I say and not as I do. Remember when Ted Kennedy
was opposed to power generation in his neighborhood? He didn't want his
view of the ocean to be spoiled. He cared nothing at all for the needs of the
paupers living near him. His felt that his wealth protected him from such crass
concerns, such as lighting his house.No, we don't have enough
water, but why is that a concern of someone living in New York? Doesn't he
have local problems that he could address?
Kentucky blue grass requires 24 inches of water during Utah growing session and
in that same time period we have about 3.5 inches of rain. the math is quite
simple. @mike so i would not say we are "country
bumpkins but I do think maybe it is a bit arrogant on our part to roundly
dismiss others because they do not reside here.
Holy cow, George. Because Erik Olsdon lives outside Utah he can't care
My post does not discuss the merits of Kentucky grass being grown by the
residents of the Wasatch Front. I also agree that the use of precious water to
grow food for human beings is a better use of that precious resource.I am debunking the popular myth that most Utah citizens “live in a
desert”.10 inches of moisture per year or less is a typical
definition for a desert. That definition is less than perfect.. Most of the
millions of square miles of taiga forest in Russia, Canada and Alaska receive
about 10 inches or less of moisture per year. The south pole gets much less
than 10 inches and is nothing but frozen water a mile deep. Evaporation rates
are of great significance.Yes, the Wasatch Front does have a high
evaporation rate in the summer months. But, when you can grow winter wheat and
the natural grass was up to the boots of horse riders in 1847, then the myth of
a desert is, well a myth.
@ William Gronberg: It's not a myth. Deserts aren't always sandy, hot
and bone-dry. We live in the Great Basin, which is a high altitude desert. (Try
cultivating anything here without irrigation. Take grass, for example.) The
South Pole (Antarctica) is also a desert based the definition of a "cold
arid" desert as determined by annual precipitation.
This coming from the very same people who are constantly complain about those
living everywhere else but Utah...
So an outsider should not speak out about our water use in Utah? I guess I have
no right to express concerns over water diversion in the Everglades of Florida
or oil production development obstructing water flow in the Bayou of
Louisiana?By definition we are a "semi-desert" - 10-20
inches annual precipitation. Utah valleys are also classified as "high
altitude deserts." The St George area is a true desert - 8 inches a year. We
brought an Eastern landscape mentality to an area unsuited for it. Conservation
and more desert landscaping are what we should be addressing. As for
the issue of credibility, George Hawkins lost it when he compared an Obama
vacation ($181,000 for accommodations for his family, staff and secret service
for a week stay at Martha's Vineyard) with the cost of the proposed Lake
Powell pipeline ($1.064).
Forgot to add "billion" on the Lake Powell pipeline. It should read
Yes Dave, the Great Basin is primarily “...a high altitude desert”.
However I am ONLY writing about less than 1 percent of the Great Basin. The
Wasatch Front is the only area that I am addressing and the myth that it is a
desert is my subject.As for “(Try cultivating anything here
without irrigation. Take grass, for example.)”: Winter wheat is a crop
that is grown on the Wasatch Front and Box Elder County without irrigation. I
admit that compared to Kansas and North Dakota our output is almost a joke. In
2004, Utah was #32 in the United States and with a value of about $20 million
dollars. It is my understanding that the land for the Payson LDS Temple was a
small dry land grain farm before the present construction.Native
grass was doing great in 1847. Overgrazing changed the area. Yes, almost all
grasses from eastern North America and also from Europe will require generous
watering. They generally do fine until about late April or early May.The desert myth is just a myth.
I expect Mr. Hawkins to remember this letter next time he feels moved to comment
on Florida's Stand Your Ground Law of New York City's ban on large
soft drinks or China's one-child policy. Since he does not
live there, he does not have the right to express an opinion.
Maybe Erik Olsson would like to comment on the ban of soft drinks larger than 16
oz. in New York. Surely, his wisdom could explain why the people of New York
are so incapable of choosing the size of their soft drink sizes that they need
to have a politician limit their appetites. Maybe he could also tell us why New
Yorkers elected Hillary Clinton as one of their Senators. Don't they have
anyone in New York who is capable of serving in the Senate? How about electing
a Massecutsetts citizen as a Sentator. Maybe the name, "Bobby" was just
too much for the electorate in New York to ignore? What about "Weiner".
Is he really the person that the people of New York want to represent them?New York has a host of problems. Are they so arrogant that they think
that they can dictate water policy to Utah? We know that we need more water.
Has New York offered to send us water, or to just send us unwanted and unneeded
@J thomas So J Richard's if you do not think that he should
have an opinion about Utah why would it be alright for him to have an opinion
about new york city, a place he also does not live? it was a nice slight of hand
attempt to deflect but perhaps you could address his comments rather then
dismiss him based on location. I also find it interesting that you seem to think
someone offering an opinion is the same as dictating, again another attempt at
deflection maybe? why do oyu hide behind other sing ins and make only passive
aggressive references to others post? not really building credibility.
As long as Utah remains a 'taker state' shouldn't the good
people of California and New York have some say regarding the money we give you?
My daddy used to tell me that I could make my own decisions about how I spend
my money when I was earning it myself. Why should we pay for a new water project
for you if you are not good stewards of water? What have you done for us lately?
You take our federal money but never call or write to thank us.
The water he is writing about is on Federal Lands, not State.Therefore - Anyone from these UNITED States has claim on them, and has say-so.
So J Thompson, after most of your post is filled with critisicm and pointing out
all you see as wrong with New York, then you complain about a New Yorker
commenting on Utah? Arrogant much? Whatever. Oh, by the way, there
is no soda ban in New York and Weiner will never be elected. And
another thing, the reason people comment about what happens in other states?
It's because we are Americans, and all of this country is our home. All of
it. What is it about that that conservatives find so hard to understand?
We're in this together. - So what is it, guys? Are we in a
desert? A semi-desert? Not in a desert? Who's right? Wow,
freedom fighter, lot of anger there? I rather imagine Mr. Gronberg doesn't
want to see the destruction of Utah just because he states the Wasatch Front is
technically not a desert. Hey! How do you get away with calling him
an obstinate child and Willie when my comments get booted if I look crosseyed at
someone? What's up with that?
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