By Sue KILPATRICK
“We call upon the waters that rim the earth,
Horizon to horizon, that flow in our rivers and streams,
That fall upon our gardens and fields,
And we ask that they teach us
And show us the way.” ~ Chinook Native American blessing
Our country celebrated another birthday this week. The weather conditions were ideal for an optimal fireworks display – clear and a dark (almost no moon) sky. But earlier in the day, there had been thunderheads looming over the mountains with an advisory for flash floods and possible rain. By show time, however, the possible weather threats were replaced by a perfect summer evening. The temperatures cooled down, but you could still feel the effects of the day’s lingering heat. As I watched and experienced all the excitement of the holiday, there was a common theme (besides the obvious patriotic one) I saw played out over and over again: water!
As our neighbors packed and made their way out of town, I noticed their destinations and luggage were mostly water related. Off they went – to the beach, rivers, lakes and mountains with vehicles towing and carrying boats, jet skis, water skis and yes, even snow skis. L.A. Times featured a photo of a skier in Mammoth over the fourth of July weekend – not on water, but slopes! Snow or water – all the same, just in a different form! Perhaps unusual for July, but not unheard of. The snow pack for the Sierras is well over 200% for the season. This was also the case in the Upper Colorado Basin. Why is this of any significance to us (even if you don’t ski)? Water!
Not exactly certain as to where I was going with my “water story?” The answer arrived by mail carrier the very next day. Thank you, Crescenta Valley Water District, for the Annual Water Report.
I don’t think I have ever seen so many facts and good information in so few pages. With this and the rain/snowpack statistics of this past season, my knowledge about water in the foothills came together. I do not claim to be other than an amateur in the fields of weather and hydrology. The following is my own summarization of the water we use everyday:
1. Tap water is most likely cleaner and safer than bottled water.
2. Sixty one percent of our water comes from groundwater wells located in the Verdugo Basin and Wash.
3. The remaining 39% comes from Northern California and the Colorado River (source – the Sierras and Upper Colorado Basin).
4. Our water is tested daily for bacteria and other contaminates.
5. Pour yourself a cool glass of water, but do realize that dinosaurs may have taken the first sip of those very molecules 65 million years ago! No worries … it has been tested!
With a season total of 34.65, any rain from July 1 on will be next season’s.
Temperatures close to 100, monsoonal moisture and a chance of thundershowers dominate for now, but next week’s forecast calls for the return of night and morning low clouds. Yes … cooler weather.
Sue Kilpatrick is a Crescenta
Valley resident and Official Skywarn Spotter for the National Weather Service. Reach her at