Epic California Drought Just One Manifestation of Weather Out of Whack
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then perhaps 200 pictures are worth a book, or at least a blog post. The Los Angeles Times has posted a dramatic “infographic” of more than 200 images of California drought maps from 2011 to 2015 that vividly depict the progression or descent of the Golden State into the worst drought of its recorded history.
Drought-parched California recently received some good news. Scientists predict that the state will enjoy significant rainfall this winter. The reason is that the Pacific Ocean near the equator is warming, creating a condition called El Niño. It offers, say the scientists, a 95 percent chance that downpours will soon descend on the Golden State.
In late June, California Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a 170-page so-called drought-relief bill that they claimed would pump more water to besieged farmers in the Central Valley without abandoning safeguards for endangered fish in the Sacramento Delta.
Very little evidence of drought is visible in my five-mile radius on the West side of Los Angeles and Santa Monica. I see no purging of grass; lawns are green and flowers copious. There’s the occasional drought-tolerant front yard covered with native plants and wood chips, but that definitely is the exception for condo and apartment buildings and the neighborhoods of multi-million dollar homes.
When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is ... stop digging!
Another month, another slew of suggestions for reducing water usage. Jerry “The Frown” Brown pumps his fist and points his finger at us for not reducing water usage enough. Yes, enough is enough, Jerry. When are you going to acknowledge enough population growth is enough?
Hope springs eternal in the human breast, as Alexander Pope so famously said. And Americans in particular subscribe to this creed of optimism. Thus when heavy rains fell on Northern California last December and more of them this month, many people hoped these downpours were a harbinger that the state’s record drought might be coming to an end.
Xeriscaping is landscaping with drought-tolerant, preferably native plants. In recent decades, its popularity has grown in the American Southwest as acute water shortages have become chronic water shortages…and as residents have sought to live in greater harmony with nature in what writer Mary Hunter Austin (1868-1934) famously called (in the title of her 1903 book)The Land of Little Rain.