The days are getting cooler and the nights are finally cold enough to put the duvet on the bed. Jackets have been dusted off and it’s time to switch from the Chacos to the Muck Boots. Now if I could just find my slippers…
We’re still waiting for rain. As the days wear on and the end of the year quickly approaches we’re being reminded that we’ve gotten less than an inch of rain so far. 2013 has only gotten 50% of what the last record driest year got. You read that correctly. We have gotten LESS than 50% of the rain that the previous driest year on record.
Our golden hills are not golden, but brown – the color of the dirt beneath what should be fields of dry golden grass. The hills are barely covered with more than a few wisps of dead grass. The parched, cracked soil beneath is clearly visible. There is a fear of heavy rains causing mudslides since there isn’t anything holding the soil together. But as it stands, heavy rain is just a pipe dream.
Surprisingly (or maybe it’s not) this is not news. The media has yet to say a word about this severe drought happening in a state that gets nearly all of it’s rain this time of year. A state that provides 80% of the country’s fruits and vegetables and nearly 100% of the country’s almond supply is looking at not having enough water is somehow not worthy of discussion. It’s being ignored even to the point where we don’t even have to ration water yet, even though many of our reservoirs are at less than 30% capacity. It is appalling.
If the rains don’t materialize this spring we may have to make some changes. There may be no garden this coming year. It’s a scary thought to have to skip growing our own food because we won’t have access to enough water. Some people have recommended dry farming, however, even dry farming relies on normal winter rains to be able to work. Rainwater collection is also clearly off the table if we don’t get any rain. Greywater is a possibility, but illegal in my area. Our well has salt water intrusion, which is more than likely even worse this year with the drought as the thousands of acres of vineyards “upstream” haven’t slowed down on their pumping of the aquifer. I’ve heard ollas may work with salty water, but I hesitate to pull more water out of the ground. Not to mention for a garden our size, they would be cost prohibitive. I’m not sure where that leaves us besides foregoing the garden until the rains return.
For now, all I can do is hope that the Rossby Waves shift and bring us some late winter and early spring storms.