Monday, March 16, 2015

Who'll start the rain?

The main way to get Californians' attention
As a steady drizzle dampens the High Desert, with springtime just days away, Central Oregonians are wondering what happened to winter.

Where is all the snow? Can the ski pass be partially refunded?

Recent California transplants must be snickering, "these winters aren't tough at all."

Well, this one certainly was not.

In fact, in more than 30 years of living here, this was by far the warmest and driest winter yet.

The data seem to back it up.

At one snowpack-monitoring site near Mt. Bachelor, a meager 6 inches was recently notched, "a record low in 60 years of record-keeping."

About half of all Oregon monitoring sites are experiencing record low snowpack.

Of course, we'll still have rain, at least in western Oregon, for the next few months and any talk of watering moratoriums should dissipate.

In Bend, we've had odd-even watering days for decades. Conservation is built into the way of life here. Plus, nothing much grows in Bend, in terms of edible crops, so there isn't much need to irrigate anything more than a Kentucky bluegrass lawn.

Someday soon, though, those lawns will have to go.

Californians are starting to get rid of their lawns as their drought puts ours to shame.

For an update on California's problems, check out this piece from the L.A. Times. Be sure and read the comments, they're entertaining.

Basically, California has about a year's worth of water left in its reservoirs.

But, while 94 percent of Californians believe that the drought is serious, according to a recent poll, only about a third think water rationing should be mandatory.

In other words, Californians expect the sun to always shine and the water to always flow. They want their cake and eat it, too. It's always been that way.

The chickens, though, are coming home to roost. Mega-droughts are forecast in this era of climate change.

Even Antarctica is melting at an alarming rate which should boost ocean levels all the way to North America.

Californians, meanwhile, must get more desalination plants up and running, ASAP. That is their only hope.

Of course, they're not going to want to pay for these expensive plants or the nuclear energy needed to move all that water over hill and dale.

Naturally, some commenters on the L.A. Times' story said it would be easy to just take water from the Columbia River. Afterall, it just dumps into the Pacific Ocean. And, they ask, what would Oregonians really want: Northwest water heading south to the Golden State or more Californians moving north to the water-logged Beaver State?

Others chastise almond growers for using so much water to produce just one nut, while the vegans chime in that the water needed to sustain the beef industry in California is a far greater culprit.

As is common on most message boards, comments get crazy in a flash. Many blamed the "illegal aliens," and, of course, "governor moonbeam."

And, water conservation in some coastal California counties has led to water rate hikes as much as 30 percent. Meanwhile, the general managers of water districts in the Bay Area make more than twice as much as the governor.

The squabbling is just beginning.

None of it, though, will make it rain in the cities or snow in the Sierras. Evidently, prayers aren't helping much either.

I'm sure a Republican will provide a solution: Cut taxes on rain clouds and the precipitation will trickle down.

No comments:

Post a Comment