As we weather this drought, and mourn the losses, I am mostly not complaining. We have the hang of water conservation, and I continue to be a happy Californian. I’ve lived here all my life. I am one of those people who is emotionally tied to home. I do have a strong affinity for a few other places on the planet and like to visit them regularly, but my home is California.
The Truckee River is one of the things I really miss. It is, or was a source of beauty, recreation and a living for many people and a source of life for plants and animals. I hope it comes back.
Lake Tahoe has pulled far back from its shores, but is still a beloved national treasure.
I was thinking about our water conservation efforts and the fact that we managed to meet the new quotas. I feel really good about that, and this article in the New York Times by Charles Fishman, author of “The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water,” further encouraged me. The article is titled How California Is Winning the Drought. One of the author’s points shows that my prediction that population in California might stop growing or shrink to fit the water supply does not seem to be happening:
The drought has inspired no Dust Bowl-style exodus. California’s population has grown faster even as the drought has deepened.
Instead, we are tightening our belts and innovating, and our governor is helping with that. (Remember his comment that Californians have to learn to eat more veggie burgers? I thought that was hilarious.) I think we are eating more veggie burgers (and by implication, less water-intensive beef). I know I am! We found a super yummy one from Don Lee Farms.
Governor Brown also said Californians are going to have to get over the idea that they have to have nice lawns. Um… yeah. We did this a couple years ago.
Here’s another encouraging quote from this awesome article.
Last fall, prodded by Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration, the California Legislature passed a sweeping groundwater law, taking California from having the least regulated groundwater in the country to being a model. The concept is simple: No community will be allowed to pump more water from the underground aquifers than can refill those aquifers — either naturally, or with human help.
The law is so innovative, it will eventually remake water use across the state, and if other states pay attention, across the nation. The law could inspire new techniques for getting rainwater to refill overtaxed aquifers.
We still need rain and snow, though.
California’s resilience is fragile. It won’t last another two years, it might not last another year.
Some towns’ wells have run dry, leaving residents having to get bottled water. Hopefully, El Nino will bring us water this year. We’ve seen a lot of unusual precipitation, storms dragged up here from the tropics, not by El Nino, but other factors. Unfortunately, they come with lightning and trigger wildfires, but there has been some rain.
Fingers are crossed throughout the state that storms will come this year. We and friends of ours are getting roof repairs done in anticipation!