Today our governor, Arnold Shwarzeneggator, declared a drought statewide. He then ordered the state Department of Water Resources to quickly transfer water to areas with the most severe water shortages. I wondered what took him so long. Isn't drought something that can be forecasted? Did he have a deal with some shady character in a battered pickup and a big bass drum that he was waiting to see if it panned out before announcing that California doesn't have enough water?
Just how much water would that be, to be enough? Schwarzeneggator urged local water districts and agencies to promote water conservation and encouraged Californians to cut water usage by as much as twenty percent. We are being urged and encouraged, but what will happen if we put the sprinkler out on the lawn in the middle of the day just for the sheer joy of running through it? I have heard that we might get a visit from the water police.
I can remember when, growing up in regularly-drought-stricken-Colorado, we were given a watering schedule. Houses with even numbers were only allowed to water on certain days, and the odd numbers had the next. We were being told when to water our lawns. People were given tickets for missing their day, and others prayed for rain on the days that they missed. It's a twisted way to go through summer, but when winter came, we all congratulated ourselves for our conservation.
This morning I put a bucket in the shower to catch the water as it warmed up. I collected almost a gallon before I hopped in. My intent is to use that water to keep the plants around my house alive. After all, it's not their fault that I decided to keep and grow them in a drought. I owe it to them to keep it alive.
My lawn isn't as lucky. The front yard is barely hanging on after last year's lack of regular watering, and the back yard supports only weeds and hearty desert vegetation. What used to be lush is now barren, and in some ways this has become our badge of honor. We gave up our lawn for the drought. My son reminds me "if it's yellow, let it mellow" to explain away his periodic forgetfulness when it comes to flushing. The best action, in this case, seems to be inaction.
I want the farmers in the Valley to get the water they need to keep their crops and our economy healthy, but I hope they don't start filling the dunk tanks at the County fairs with sand.