Science, not politics, sets evaporation rate

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDFebruary 4, 2014 

There seems to be some confusion regarding water use from "exempt wells" within the county. One activist with the Tea Party has claimed in a letter to County Council that if you irrigate in outdoor rural areas, most of the water is recovered for reuse, not consumed.

What planet would that happen on? Here, on Earth, evapotranspiration causes about 85 percent to 90 percent of irrigation water to exit the leafy plants' stomata into the atmosphere as water vapor. That is called consumption.

It does not matter whether you're a rural farmer irrigating your half-section of cabbage, or you're an urban hipster irrigating your artisanal arugula in a 10-square-foot planter box. It's 85 percent to 90 percent consumption, in both cases.

Plants don't give a rat's patootie about ideology or lifestyle; they just do their thing.

Evapotranspiration's in charge.

Eighty-five percent to 90 percent consumptive loss. Get used to it. Plan for it. The first step toward effective action to plan our county's water security for the next century is to acknowledge the pertinent science, not to deny it.

Abe Jacobson

Bellingham

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