Thursday, May 7, 2015

And not a drop to drink



I received a notice from my local water board today. All residents in my area are required to reduce water use by 20 percent.

But here's the thing: the drought is old news. I've been conserving water for the past three years. I ditched the lawn and shovel-pruned the tropicals. I recycle my grey water, and shower with friends. If water levels sink from worse to worst, which it appears they will, the only further contribution I can make is to hang out at Devil's Gate and spit in the aquifer.

There was a time when the California climate was such and water flowed so plentifully, we could pretend to live in England, or on the East Coast, or in the Mid-west -- really, pretend to live anywhere but California -- and plant and grow whatever we deemed aesthetically pleasing. Or, let's be honest here, whatever the whole rest of the world considers aesthetically pleasing. Back in the not too distant day, green wasn't a state of mind or a philosophy or a mandate, green was a color, the color of our Bermuda grass and Dichondra.

It hurts to wake up and leave the dream behind.

Sure, we can still grow things, twig-like plants that know how to shrivel without dying, and practice this trick for most of their lives.

I understand we should be good sports. We should heap praise on the twigs, or say something nice, at least. Like, "Would you call that brown-brown, brownish-beige, or taupe?" or "I'll just bet there's life in there, somewhere." But the difference between what we had and what we'll have is the difference between a Dickensian prime rib Christmas dinner and a sack lunch.

Still, what are you going to do? Either accept the new California reality, or move. I'm trying the former, because I'm not ready for the latter. Not yet.

23 comments:

  1. You had me at shower with friends.

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  2. I would do it your way. I have friends in San Ramon and have heard about the drought since the beginning. The guy in California interviewed on NPR who refuses to stop watering his lawn is beyond my comprehension. Water is life. How do you choose a lawn over life? I want you and people like you to be able to stay in California....I think that means that the guy who wants a lawn may need to move elsewhere.

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  3. I hope that the water companies don't just calculate x% of each customer's current usage. I know at least one household which has been intentionally maximizing water use on the theory that even after a percentage reduction, they'd have more than enough water.

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  4. Here and we are boo-hooing because we've only had 8" of rain year to date instead of 10". Which is not to say showering with friends can't be entertaining.

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  5. Best description of native plants I've ever read, so funny. Yes, they do look just like brown sticks much of the time, which is why my gardener thought they really were brown sticks and cut them all down. I'd paid a lot of money for them at Theodore Payne.

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  6. Oh shit, my gardener did, too. Broke my heart, because the twigs would have leafed out or bloomed come October, or there abouts, maybe.

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  7. The plants that survive without extra watering do tend toward brown brown much of the time. But every once in awhile, after rains, they show some color and flower. Sometimes, like succulents, amazing flowers.

    In Austin, with prolonged drought, most effort goes toward trying to save the trees. The progression in the surrounding ranch country is from cattle to sheep to goats.

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  8. We've been conserving water for a long time, too, and I'm not sure what else we can do without buying a lot of expensive equipment we can't afford.

    A bit of rain tonight. Plus, we boiled corn on the cob. I'm letting that water cool and then I'll give it to the avocado tree.

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  9. Our area has been conserving for sometime.. in fact my records show where I've cut back between 20-30%.. I hate when every city has been lumped into one.. It would be nice for a newspaper to record each area to show the variance.. its not fair.. Better yet,Brown should caravan around to each and every city and ask for their totals. He's great at talking the talk... and that's about all.

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  10. Stay in California? Or come to Minnesota. The taxes are the same.

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  11. Who came up with imposing a minimum-percentage reduction -- the board, or was the board complying with the state? Not fair to people like you who have been conserving.

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  12. I don't think the required reductions apply directly to individuals. I think they apply to cities. How that translates to individuals, I'm not sure. My consumption was the lowest it's been in year over the last two months. Not much left to cut.

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  13. As I understand it, similar to electricity use, tiered-pricing might be applied to water, Something that surprises me, water conservation does not apply to businesses. Why not?

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    1. it seems to be politics.. the big businesses bring the city money... where i live i just got a letter in the mail from the city informing that a 237 housing project is going in along the 126.. yep ventura is building alot, so is our valley.. to me there should be stop to building.. that';s where the water usage is going to.

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    2. Yes. I can't help but think the cut-back on residential water-use is one of those ineffectual, feel-good measures. Like cloth bags at the supermarket.

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  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  15. I'm cynical on this one, Karin. Follow the money.

    Although I think it shows a lack of foresight when businesses end up rendering their customers, their source of income, unable to pay for services.

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  16. I think I might apply for low income consideration. You know the water companies are going to jack up their rates to cover losses.

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  17. I'll bet Nestle isn't agonizing over any of this, the people who don't think water is a basic human right.

    The sad thing about gardens and droughts is that watering doesn't really do the trick, the chlorine-free rain needs to fall and pull all the oxygen in with it for plants to really thrive. I've been through severe droughts in Florida and was truly alarmed by it. Several years in must be devastating to the psyche.

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  18. So far, this year Altadena has had 11 inches of rain, which is low, but not horrific. Of course, the problem is our winters are no longer cold enough for anything resembling a decent snow pack in the mountains, so much of the rain is run-off, and there's nothing in the bank for the summer.

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  19. I hope you get some rain soon, KB. Not a comfortable feeling when water starts getting low ~ putting it mildly !!

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