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Recharging the battery

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Annual cycle is here that recharges national water supply

By Kirsten Peters

It’s that time of year once again.
As a geologist, I’m not thinking of the holiday season when I note this time on the calendar.
What’s impressed me lately is the clear start of the annual cycle in which we benefit from a recharging of the nation’s water supply.
In late November, while I was digging my pickup truck out of 14 inches of snow, I had time to meditate on the importance of this time of year.
Not long after my shoveling effort, the Midwest was hit by major snowfalls. Now other parts of our geographically complex nation have had substantial rains.
Both snow and rain are different ways of spelling water, of course. Roughly 10 inches of snow are the same as an inch of rain. I say “roughly” because snow can be dry powder, in which case it doesn’t have much water content, or sloppy stuff that weighs a heck of a lot more because it’s got more water in each scoop of my shovel.
There are two basic ways that significant parts of the country will depend on this winter’s snow and rainfall well down the road.
That’s worth a moment’s consideration, because we’re just as dependent on water as we are on energy.  


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