Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A rant to the guy in the white house around the corner

Yeah, you! With your lawn putting-green perfect in the dead of what should be winter, I'm talking to you!

The water sheets across your sidewalk like you're lobbying for a luxury car commercial, and rolls into the gutter, quite literally re-forming the American River down the street, wasted into the drain.

There's a drought on, guy! Or girl! Obstinacy knows know gender.

If you think I'm talking to you, it's you. If you know who I'm talking about, tell him/her!

To you this may be the last day of 2013 (well, to me too). With its dry passage, though, marks the driest year in California's recorded history. That's saying something. For all of the state's bombastic beginnings, so many things were lost — fortunates, lives, reputations, virginity — but records … records, my friend, were kept.

We're out of water. Ain't any more coming, as far as we can foretell, anyway.

The latest aerial shot shows one more sheet of Bounty®™ would sop up what's left behind Folsom Dam.

Do not — do not! — wash down your driveway with the house, guy/girl around the corner. Learn basic broom skills. Do not wash your car! Let it go awhile.

I beg you.

In fact, this calls for extreme measures from 1976-77, the last severe drought, when we all lived by by the motto: "If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down."


It just struck me: Jerry Brown was governor then too! He's waiting to declare this drought official, but I don't know why. The second coming of Linda Ronstadt, maybe.

Water districts aren't waiting. Folsom water users must cut back 20 percent, which doesn't seem enough. We're in serious parch. The whole state must reacquaint itself with the fact we're a Mediterranean climate.

Here's news: The geologic record indicates that across the last two millennia California has endured droughts of between 50 and 80 years. And Jerry Brown was governor then too.

Many central and southern California communities forbid new housing developments from planting lawns, encouraging native plants and xeriscaping instead. Time for it to go viral.

We are not Oregon or Washington, for good or ill.

What's worse, this drought is harshing my swimming mellow.

After days of this arrow pierced through my temples (no physician's assistant is gonna tell me it's probably just flu), I shambled down to Lake Natoma, my old haunt, to see swim friends Doug and David have fun in my absence, slicing through the cold dark water. And plenty of it: The water was at its usual level.

Come tomorrow, though, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is set to reduce what little it's letting out of Folsom Lake, which flows immediately into our lovely little Lake Natoma. I'm anxious for the result. Or lack.

Help out an old, slow swimmer. Check your sprinkler system (you look like you've got a lawn guy: Have him do it) and cut back to once a week. You're watering every day: Why? Maybe you're more oblivious than obstinate, and you don't get up early enough to see your shiny sidewalk. Wake up!

Maybe some good will come of this, like statewide xeriscaping. After the double whammy of drought and Proposition 13 in 1976-77, Californians drained their swimming pools and skateboarding took rise, never to fade again.

Just don't tell me what a nice sunny day it is.

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