The Tribune published an article on Saturday that announced the snowpack in the Sierras is at 20 percent of its average level for this time of year, and the current outlook for rain and snow is not promising. This is a third year of drought, but you might never know it from the continued water-use patterns that are practiced by many of us in the valley.
A drought is like the recession, but with water.
We were all complacent at the start of the great recession until it became obvious that there was a serious financial problem that many of us finally came to appreciate through layoffs and furloughs. Let’s not repeat that process with the drought. Time is on our side and we can all begin to conserve water and save what is underground for another day. What I can’t tell is how much water is left underground and how long it will last.
Perhaps the editor of this paper will take up the challenge of looking for answers to these questions and post them for us to see. Perhaps the editor will ask the heads of our water agencies, and those of the city and county for advice on what should be happening to make sure there is an adequate supply of water for all of us to use in the future. Perhaps new home construction should be curtailed until new water sources can be identified to make living here a sustainable situation.
We’ve had a great gift and good luck with our water supplies up to now, but both the level of water and quality of what is coming out of the ground are changing drastically. Let’s not rely on luck to preserve our way of life here in the valley. It may be different and it may take practice, but active water management is something that may now be required to ensure we can maintain our investments in our homes, properties and businesses, since without water, none of this will be worth a dime if the area turns to dust.
A good start to active water management would be to turn off your sprinkler controller. I turned mine off two months ago and my lawn is in the same shape as my neighbors’, some of whom water more than the allowed number of days. In fact, my lawn area is still too wet to walk on in some areas just from the morning dew. The city planting strips are also overwatered in my area and overrun into the gutter.
So dear reader, please think ahead and do all of us a favor by finding the sprinkler controller (it’s probably on one of the walls in the garage) and simply slide or turn the switch to the off position. Go ahead, it won’t hurt you a bit.