Coming from Scotland, we never ever had to worry about drought conditions. It rains 300 days a year at least, sometimes more and very often 48 to 72 hours non stop. I arrived in California in 1992 and I recall phoning all of my friends on my first Christmas day, which was spent on Santa Monica beach where the temperature was over 80. My phone bill that day was over $200, money well spent I believed, bragging endlessly to those less fortunate than me, all sitting in a cold damp climate back in Glasgow Scotland. ‘If this was to be the norm’ I thought, then I was going to be a very happy person indeed. What could possibly be better than living in a climate where it hardly ever rains and where the lowest temperature in the winter is a balmy 60 degrees?? Two years after that glorious Christmas day basking in the sun, I moved north to San Jose, a short distance of 350 miles, where I expected similar climactic conditions to prevail, but was surprised that when I arrived, in January of 1995 it was raining and never really stopped until May of that same year. When I say it never really stopped, I mean that it rained and then we had perhaps two or three days in the 70’s and then it would rain again. This pattern, so I was told, was highly unusual and was created by a climactic effect called El Nino. El Nino is a disruption of the ocean-atmosphere system in the Tropical Pacific having important consequences for weather and climate around the globe and creates a sub tropical rain forest type climate that can take up to two years to dissipate. My concern that I had moved to a place where the reminders of Scotland were not just in the large mountains that surrounded San Jose, but also in the continual rainfall that mirrored my homeland, were to be short-lived. After May of 1995, I never saw rain again for about a year. I was amazed, happy, and reveling in this perfect climate where not only could I cultivate a permanent and obligatory sun tan, I could also play golf, cycle, coach outdoor sports of any kind and never fear that we would be rained off and banished to the house to watch movies or just snooze while unwanted big black clouds meandered past dropping gallons of unwanted water!
Roll forward to present day California.
It’s now 13 months since we have had any significant rainfall here. 13 months where the happiness of playing outdoors has turned to complete fear of never seeing rainfall again. It rained last week, for 5 hours, which, under the drought conditions in which we now find ourselves, was hardly a blessing and not enough water to come within 100 miles of alleviating the dire situation we are facing. There is little prospect of any more wet stuff, and this past week, Governor Brown, idiot that he is, has called a State of Emergency here in CA, asking everyone to use 10% less water until we see what the coming months rainfall will bring.
Governor Brown’s actions baffle me. NBC news showed the current situation from satellite pictures offered up by NASA. These pictures show our current water supply predicament compared to that of this time last year. They also show the snow pack levels, which are critical to our long-term water situation in that the ‘melt off’ affects our summer and Fall water levels. Small snow pack, very little water. If you look at these images, and if you talk to some of the farmers in our once fertile growing areas such as Napa, Modesto, San Joaquin Valley, we are fucked. There is little to no supply and absolutely no reserve plan. Governor Brown has it all wrong. We need rationing and we need it now.
I always believed that our next world war would be about water and its supply or lack of to those who were powerful but thirsty. This war is now upon us, certainly here in CA. Water is at a premium and if we don’t recoup our losses very quickly, we could find our state become the victim of an internal war between those who have and those who have not. We need to do something and we need to do it now. Asking all citizens of CA to volunteer to cut back their usage by 10% is a joke. How do you do this? Do you drink 10% less, wash only 90% of your car, water your lawn on one side but not the other? It’s ridiculous for the Governor to assume that all 38 million of us here in California will heed his commands. It’s naive and foolhardy to believe that even one person will listen to his plea, a plea that should be taken very seriously indeed. The Governor, in my opinion, has to grab the bull by its horns and become a water Nazi, and he has to do so right now. We would be well advised as a State to listen to the words that all of the experts are telling us. These words are, sufficed to say, scary and unbelievable, though very possible. “A 200 year drought” as one expert put it, would not be out of the question. If this happened, we are all screwed, but it might, and it might happen sooner that we believe. After all, according to climactic records, it wouldn’t be the first time and California IS a desert after all.
The Governor has to ban the use of hose pipes, garden sprinklers, and all unnecessary use of fresh water now, not tomorrow, not next week and not ‘let’s wait and see what happens. NOW! We need to conserve and we need to find a way to do it before this emergency becomes a crises that we can’t fix. This is our one natural recourse that is irreplaceable. This is the meaning of life, the elixir of all being, and where would we be without it? DEAD! Yes dead. We have no options but to plan for our future and while I realize that it won’t be easy, I am willing enough to partake in any plan that makes sense, and so should you.
While the rest of this country is being blasted by the polar vortex and temperatures well past minus 25 degrees, we sit here in CA basking in more sunshine, where, to the envy of most, it’s 80 plus. Do not kid yourselves, I know a lot of people here who are actually praying hard for rain. One of my friends, a man name Dan, posts on Facebook almost daily, that he’s doing the rain dance and we should all help him out. Dan, I hear you and I’m happy to do anything that will bring an end to this madness. We need water, and it’s not coming. Governor Brown, show us you are not the idiot I always believed you were. That failed politician who cannot find anything better to do in life. Get some cahones, some balls, and get them now. Ban us from washing cars, watering lawns and fix all the leaks we have in aging pipelines that are in desperate need of repair. The buzz word should be CONSERVE not selfie or tools or solutions. While we wait for your direction, people, take heed, spread the word and let’s see what we Californian citizens can do to make this work until one day the rain starts to fall again. 40 days and 40 nights wouldn’t be enough right now. We need more than divine intervention, but we need it as soon otherwise we will find ourselves in a position of no return and that’s a position I do not wish to see happen.
I’m off to think about washing my car. Thinking about it is better that actually doing it, but I have to begin somewhere, and I choose to begin today.