Drought

Kathy - greenKate Wyland

.

I live in California and we’ve just had our third winter of very low snow and rainfall, meaning we are facing a serious drought. At this point we have only one year’s worth of water in our reservoirs. A pretty scary prospect.

California has a Mediterranean climate, so we get most of our precipitation in the winter. Storms dump rain on our coastal mountains and the runoff is collected in numerous reservoirs all over the state. The Sierras, which are inland on the eastern border, get both rain and snow and the snow melt provides a large part of our water. In normal years we get enough to fill our reservoirs and even send a huge amount south.

Drying stream bed

Drying stream bed

A few areas in the north have had adequate rain, but most of northern and central Cal, where San Francisco and Silicon Valley are located, has had only about one-third of normal – and this is after two consecutive winters with just as low numbers. This year the water levels are so low that most reservoirs will be closed to recreational use. No boating, fishing or swimming and lots of very unhappy holiday businesses. The ski resorts have already been hurt badly.

Southern California, i.e. Los Angeles and San Diego, get most of their water from the Colorado River in Arizona and from water transported by canal from the Sierras in the north. It has very little rainfall and is basically a desert. Not that you would know that by the lush landscaping and green lawns. Even the real deserts sport vast golf courses and massive greenery. All supported by imported water.

Desert Palm Springs lawn

Desert Palm Springs lawn

In addition to the large cities, the vast central valleys of California are among the most fertile and productive agricultural areas in the world, with an immense need for irrigation. Most of their water is also imported from the Sierras.

We’ve had periodic droughts before, but none as bad as this one. Last year, when it was obvious we were in a second year of drought, cities asked people to conserve water, and oddly in some places water usage actually went up. This winter most cities, and now the state, have instituted mandatory water restrictions and there has been some saving, but not nearly enough. People aren’t that willing to do what’s necessary — take shorter showers, water their lawns less, etc. That may change this summer as more restrictions are put in place.

Hopefully there will be some rethinking of water use in general. Replacing thirsty plants with drought-resistant ones, switching to drip irrigation rather than spraying, sweeping large areas rather than hosing with water (a Los Angeles area peculiarity) are some things that could help. Farmers might change from raising rice to less water hog crops.

At the moment in my city, we’re only allowed to water once a week for 15 minutes. It’s enough to keep the lawns alive during the winter. But it’s already getting unseasonably warm and once summer hits, I doubt the grass will survive. I’m starting to look at landscape books for alternatives. I’ll miss having a nice green lawn to look at, but I guess I’ll get used to native, drought-resistant plants.

 

.

Forewarning Cover

FOREWARNING
Healing is her life. Will it be her death?

.

Wyoming Cover - 4x6 - #2.

Wyoming Escape
Two dead bodies. One dirty cop.
Is she next?

.

Cover - Images - 2.

 Images – A Love Story
She’s learned to hide from life.
Should she hide from him?

.

Connect with Kate Wyland:
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/AuthorKateWyland
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/katewyland
Website : http://katewyland.com

.

Stream bed: photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/50838842@N06/8427237114″>Mussel stranding, Marais de Cygnes Refuge</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;
Palm Springs: photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/93561352@N00/4404138817″>podróż w czasie</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;
Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Drought

  1. We’ve had trouble with drought here in Wyoming so I know what you mean. All we can do is a rain dance.

    Like

  2. Kaye George says:

    Drought is so horrible. It started in TX in 2008 and still continues in Central TX, where we lived. We had an opportunity to move to TN 2 years ago and still haven’t gotten tired of the incessant rain. Probably never will. The natives here, who complain about the wetness, don’t know how good they have it!

    Like

    • katewyland says:

      Wow, didn’t know TX has had the problem so long. We’ve considered moving to the Seattle area in the past but weren’t too sure about all the rain. Maybe we’ll reconsider. 🙂

      Like

  3. Mike Staton says:

    Might be time to start to think about building desalination plants along the coast? Here in Vegas the drought is bad as well. Lake Meade’s water level is the lowest it’s ever been. In my walks in the neighborhood I’ve counted the number of “green yard” lawns and “desert-style”. The desert-style lawns outnumber the green ones, but there’s still quite a few greenies.

    Like

    • katewyland says:

      When I was a kid in the Los Angeles area many long years ago, there didn’t seem to be any problem with water and the lush landscaping was okay. But now with the tremendous population growth and the change in weather patterns, it appears time to rethink things and go to more desert style.
      Northern Cal gets more rain so drought resistant plants can work there.
      Not sure about the desalination. Wonder what the long-term effects might be.

      Like

  4. Doris says:

    We’ve had a seven year drought in Colorado (remember the fires) and some areas are still lacking the moisture they usually get. Where I live is high desert so water has always been an issue. Xeriscaping is very popular here and did a lot to help over the tough times. I wish you all well. It’s not easy, but you can make it through, will a lot of work and cooperation. Doris

    Like

    • katewyland says:

      I hope we can convince our homeowners’ association to approve xeriscaping. It’s frustrating to have to get permission to re-do the front landscaping. Need to come up with a plan and then submit it. Last year when I brought it up, I got a somewhat negative response. Should be different this year.

      Like

  5. Neva Bodin says:

    I grew up on a farm where water supply was always in danger of being too low, and we conserved water like crazy. It bothers me to see people let water run while brushing their teeth, getting a glass out of the cupboard and letting the water go down the drain while doing so, taking long showers, filling the tub (something I have done and think of the luxury every time since I left the farm many years ago, and still I suffer guilt), or watering their lawn and letting the overflow run down the street gutter. There are so many ways we are wasteful now, and it is coming back to bite us. When we had to use outdoor toilets and everyone drank from a bucket of water that stood on the washstand, using the same dipper, I’m betting we used 1/100 of the water we use now. That included washing dishes by hand, and heating the water instead of letting it run till it got hot. Would I want to go back? No. But I bet a lot of people will learn ways to conserve water soon.
    Sure hope the drought eases for everyone this summer.

    Like

    • katewyland says:

      When we were on our horse property (in northern CA) we had a wonderful well and didn’t need to worry about water use. Our friends across the small valley had a well that tapped into a different water table and developed water problems when additional houses were built near them. They’ve had to buy water and take camp showers for a number of years. And their lawn is long gone. I hope we all don’t end up in the same situation.
      Cross your fingers for lots of rain next winter.

      Like

  6. When I lived in Florida we had a huge drought. Seems funny, as the whole state is surrounded by water, but there were water restrictions on everything, but no one was allowed to water their lawns for a short time. It hurt the golfing business tremendously. Good post, Kate!

    Like

  7. Wranglers says:

    Exactly thr reason I don’t wamt to love in AZ. Where’s the gtren? I hope you gey a couple of really big snows. We have been dealing with floods. Most people think of C A as lush. Cher’ley

    Like

  8. Nancy Jardine says:

    That sounds pretty dire if the sources are so depleted. It would be good for the general public in all areas to do more conservation. In Scotland, we rarely have consecutive dry days never mind drought but we also need to think better about how we use our water resources and not squander them. It’s easy to say we’ve lots of rain, and it’s true, but all of our domestic water is supplied via reservoirs and treatment plants which means an expensive processing still happens.

    Like

    • katewyland says:

      The paper today said the water district wants a 30% reduction now. That will really impact things. (The most we’ve gotten so far is 13%)
      They say the new artificial grasses look pretty good…

      Like

  9. sstamm625 says:

    That is scary, Kate. We humans are too often unwilling to do what needs to be done. Looking into drought-resistant plants is a good idea. Here’s hoping for more precipitation for you for next winter.

    Like

    • katewyland says:

      In the past we’ve had dry years followed by El Nino years where it never seemed to stop raining. Be nice if that happened again, but the Weather Service is only seeing a weak El Nino forming and who knows if it will last until winter. Keep a good thought for us.

      Like

  10. S. J. Brown says:

    The up side of replacing some or all of your lawn with native, drought resistant plants is less mowing and less maintenance. If everyone did a little more it would make a huge difference overall. Hope you find some plants that will become a welcome addition to your yard.

    Like

    • katewyland says:

      There are a lot of plants to choose from. Given our climate, most everything grows here. But I really hadn’t planned on spending a bunch of money to re-do the yards. :_(
      Don’t particularly want to deal with the HOA either. But you are right about less maintenance!

      Like

  11. I’ve read about and am also concerned about the drought in CA and NV; even Wyoming, where I live, has not received much snow this year. The climate change we’re seeing is pretty scary indeed, and though I’m not a fan of snow, I recognize it’s importance to the environment and to agriculture, as is rain. I hope the spring brings more moisture to our western states, although it appears the midwest and east have gotten the better of that moisture this year.

    Like

    • katewyland says:

      The coastal areas mainly get rain in the winter. Don’t know about more inland – NV, ID and WY. Be nice if they got spring rains.
      That’s kind of funny – WY which is known for its snows hasn’t gotten much and other parts of the country have received way more than normal. We definitely are in a changing climate pattern.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s