That’s the Sons of the Pioneers 1948 hit record of Cool, Clear Water. All of us in California have been thinking about water lately.
I had a moment of what my friend Jim Hollowaty calls synchronicity. I was thinking about my Landers days and our current drought in California. In my unusual childhood, both in rural Minnesota and in Landers, I learned how to live without running water that most of my generation took for granted. For the time being, we cannot take running water for granted in Southern California.
Looking at the map and chart below, that brownish red color stretching from the L.A. Orange County coast north through the Sierra Nevada mountains looks fairly ominous. We in the L.A. area might suffer dead lawns and shrubbery if it was limited to the coast because we never get that much water locally. But, we in coastal California get most of our water from the Sierra Nevada snow pack. if the Sierra Nevada does not have enough snow, then we are in serious trouble. It looks pretty grim on this USDA map.
The main problem in California is a feckless political class that in modern times can’t see beyond the end of their noses. Many of these people can’t see that their urban dreams are unlikely not only in a period of persistent drought but also in an earthquake prone area. We have seen population declines among some demographics in Southern California in recent years. In the future, Southern California might see a total population decline if the area reverts to desert; an earthquake prone desert at that. The drought is also spreading into Oregon, Idaho, and Washington where droughts are fairly rare.
Of course, all of life is cyclical. Five years from now we might be singing Rain, Rain, go away come again some other day.
Thanks to Ubiquitous Lazar for the Sons of the Pioneer You Tube, Drought Map and Chart courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.