“When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.”
~ Benjamin Franklin’s “Poor Richard’s Almanac,” 1746
One look at our once green lawn and “the worth of water” is known. As the three-year drought continues into autumn, will a wet El Nino halt its advance? The answer, at the present time, seems to be up in the air.
On Monday, Sept. 22, the autumnal equinox was promising as the weather was much cooler and fall-like. Our local Rite Aid seemed to be extremely optimistic, as an umbrella and rain gear display found its way to the front of the store. Also, Halloween is now sharing an aisle with Christmas! But we must continue to be mindful of our water usage in addition to paying close attention to information the science world has to offer.
A look around the community helped put things in perspective for me. We are all in this together and nobody should have a great looking lawn right now. Water is needed in California’s Central Valley for agriculture, not to keep La Crescenta yards lush and green. Water is needed to replenish reservoirs and aquifers, not for washing our cars. I have put together a new landscape plan – nothing too drastic, but very attainable.
• Remove all depressing brown and dead plants.
• Use precious water only on trees and more drought tolerant plants.
• Take out backyard grass and keep the front for now.
• Small thirsty shrubs can easily be replaced in the future for $5.
• Mulch bare areas and add a few big rocks, a bench or a patio or deck.
• Add drip lines to specific planted areas.
• No new plants.
I just received the September 2014 issue of the weather spotter’s newsletter “Weather or Not?” a publication of the NWS. The context is sobering, as it reads, “Statewide, total precipitation is about equal to or below the lowest three-year period since 1895.” Snowpack in the eastern and western Sierras slipped from 18% in May to zero by summer’s end. Another water source, the reservoirs are at 50% capacity. As surface water from rain, snow and reservoirs runs low or becomes nonexistent, groundwater attained by well or pump becomes vital as it supplies 60% of California’s water. Hopefully, the hot and dry conditions have left with summer.
For the time being, we can leave the heat behind as the weather shifts to a cooler pattern. A low-pressure system is expected to move in late Friday night and stick around for the weekend. Rain is not likely, but a deep marine layer may produce misty conditions along the Crescenta Valley foothills.
As for the temperatures, Saturday and Sunday are expected to be the coolest – upper 70s to mid 50’. Nights remain cool as the new week begins, although daytime will warm into the 80s. Fall has truly arrived…
Next week – El Niño update.
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.