Tag Archives: California Drought

Once Again, Millions Of Gallons, Out to Sea

Los Angeles river in Sherman Oaks. Millions of gallons of water on their way to the sea.

It’s being reported that California Governor Gavin Newsom, has ordered for water to be diverted into groundwater basins to help replenish groundwater levels. Good for the Gov. But first, a little history-

The state doesn’t have enough reservoirs. As a consequence it has suffered through repeated, prolonged periods of drought. Orchards have been ploughed under, farmers have yelled at city dwellers and city dwellers yelled back at the farmers, while water has been rationed.

My former colleague at KTLA-TV, the late Hal Fishman put out the call repeatedly in his commentaries. “The State of California” he would say, “needs to build more reservoirs.” Or he might have been calling for Los Angeles County to build more reservoirs, I can’t remember and it doesn’t really matter. The point it, he was right. He would very logically and intelligently point out that every time it rained, there were millions of gallons of fresh water flowing out into the ocean. But nobody listened, at least not to the best of my knowledge. At least not in Southern California.

Thing is, I lived there for 33 years, and watched the cycle continue. The first part of the cycle, was for state and local officials to carp on about the extended drought for years on end. And then, Viola!, it would rain! And not just a little bit. The place would damn near float away, causing everybody to forget about the drought. And so it continued. Every time it looked as though life as we knew it was over, Charlton Heston, would shake his staff at the sky and summon up the rain gods and all of us would be taking our kayaks out of storage to get to the market to stock up on bread, cheese and chardonnay. It’s just the way things were. It was the California cycle of near death by dehydration and then re-birth through some magical gift from the gods. We knew how bad things were, but we knew not to worry. The rain would come to save us. It always did. In a State where everyone is waiting for the inevitable 8.0 earthquake, the “Big One” to come and knock everything down, expecting a little help from the rain gods now and then is no big stretch.

So, here we now are, watching it all happen again, but this time, with the amount of snow in the mountains and rain in the valleys, in proportions that remind you of Zeus calling forth the Kraken, or Moses parting the Red Sea. This is almost biblical.

On the other hand, if it worked in the Bible and then in the movies, why not in the San Fernando Valley?

Not long ago, I saw a photo of what appeared to be water backing up in the Sepulveda Flood Basin. Like all the traffic on the 405 being funneled down into a single lane, all that lovely fresh water that had drained down from the mountains was backing up into the flood basin. There was just too much of it for the single concrete channel, colloquially known as the L.A. River to handle.

But never mind all that. Before long, perhaps within weeks, hydrologists will be advising Californians that the drought is by no means over. There are still too many people using a limited supply of fresh water and there just isn’t enough of it. Los Angeles residents, still won’t be able to water their lawns at will, wash their cars in their driveways or hose down their property. They’ll still have to request water in the City’s restaurants. The words of former Los Angeles Mayor Dick Riordan, continue to resonate, ‘If it’s yellow, let it mellow…..If it’s brown, flush it down!”

Even with a near-record snowpack in the Sierra above, and neighborhoods flooding out below, the drought will likely continue. It has to, you see, because groundwater levels have dropped so low for so many years, that the state has been nearly sucked dry. Making matters worse, the Colorado River is turning into a creek, and to date, no one that I know of has found any kind of permanent solution. Like building more reservoirs. Or a monster pipeline coming in from the east. More reservoirs might not be a total fix but they might be a place to start. They might even name one after Hal Fishman, may he rest in peace.

Until then, take heart, California. Governor Newsom, has ordered water to be diverted into the existing groundwater basins. He’s following in the steps of his predecessors, finding a temporary partial fix to a long-term existential problem.

Something New From California

I got out of the shower this morning and looked outside to see snow falling. According to my iPhone it was 41 degrees so it made no sense. “It could be that dew point thing,” I thought, or maybe some other term weathercasters now use that serve only to confuse and confound. Not wanting to put all my faith in the phone I next glanced at my solar-powered watch, which confirmed that it was in fact April the 22nd. Days, months and years sometimes lose all meaning in this age of Covid.

My head was filled with thoughts of climate change as I turned on the tv to watch a report from NBC about the “megadrought” in California, and how the state is turning sewage into drinking water because there are too many people and too little water. That was the state of things when we left California five years ago. Now, the drought, which had become a way of life when we were still there, has apparently turned into a “megadrought.” Oh my. Another new word from the people who gave us “Carmageddon” when they shut down the 405 Freeway. At the same time, Cali now has the lowest Conronavirus case rate in the continental U.S. Maybe it’s the water?

Nobody here in the east has any idea with regard to what’s happening way out west. As far as they’re concerned, Los Angeles is on Mars, so let them drink sewage?

We’ve got plenty of water here in Maryland. A whole big, beautiful bay-full, so drought is one of the things I no longer worry about. Californians might be envious, except for the fact that they probably know less about the Chesapeake Bay than easterners know about the San Fernando Valley. Too bad we aren’t better informed about one another, being citizens of the same country and all.

For the record, the Chesapeake, is the largest estuary in the United States. Not only do many Americans have no idea where it is, many or most probably haven’t a clue as to what it is. Hint: It is not a gynecological condition. And the San Fernando Valley, or just “The Valley,” as Angelenos call it, has a bigger population than the City of Philadelphia. So it too, is definitely noteworthy.

I’m now driving over to the hospital to get my second Covid shot, while wondering how the California PR machine will turn all that new Hollywood poo-water into something acceptable to the masses. Something they might export to unsuspecting consumers back east and maybe even to China. It might help with the trade imbalance and in doing so it would serve the Chinese right, considering some of the crap they’ve been exporting to us for the past forty years and all the tyrannical nonsense they are currently pulling in Hong Kong.

The magical reclaimed waters of California. Imagine the source. Some of the finest celebrity commodes and showers in Malibu, Beverly Hills, Brentwood and Bel Air. Available soon at better retailers everywhere.

The California Drought Is Not A 5-Year Problem

 To some but not all network reporters, please stop talking aout the “5 year drought” in California.  I lived there for more than 30 years and can attest to the fact that the drought you keep talking about has been ongoing for more than 5 years.  But don’t believe me. Believe the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which tells us, “The most populated state in the country is facing what may be its worst drought in a century of record-keeping.”
So that would be the worst drought since weather watchers started keeping records.  Maybe the worst drought in one-hundred years.  Maybe longer.
NOAA, goes on to report that “On January 20 (2014), the governor of California declared a state of emergency, urging everyone to begin conserving water. Water levels in all but a few reservoirs in the state are less than 50% of capacity, mountains are nearly bare of snow except at the highest elevations, and the fire risk is extreme. In Nevada, the situation is much the same.”  True, northern and central California got some rain in March of this year, but as was widely reported, it wasn’t enough to put a dent in the ongoing drought.