P80905It is a way of life in much of California. Many of us grew up with it, or at least believing in it. Many of us never heard the end of it. That is how it lost its meaning.
Drought is a weather condition. It might last one year or a few. Drought can even continue for several years. For us, it entails less than normal rainfall through winter, only because winter is when rain is supposed to fall here.
As a weather condition, drought is not permanent. There have been a many during the past few centuries of recorded history here, and a few of those have been in just the last half century that I can remember. They happen frequently enough that I can not remember the exact years that were drought years, although I can remember a significant drought in the middle of the 1970s. No drought lasts forever.
If drought lasts forever, or at least as long as anyone can remember, then it is not a weather condition, so is therefore not really a drought. It is ‘climate’.
The climate of much of California is naturally arid. San Jose and the entire Santa Clara Valley have a ‘chaparral’ climate, which is classified as ‘semi-arid’. Some areas near the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains get only about a foot of rainfall annually. Los Angles and the region around it in Southern California have a ‘desert’ climate, which is ‘arid’. Parts of the Mojave Desert get less annual rainfall than other climates get from a single storm.
Although droughts happen here, the limited availability of water is due to the natural climate, not weather. Those who came to California a long time ago knew how to use what was available. The problem now is that there are simply too many people wanting too much of a naturally limited supply of water. Way too many expect way too much.

18 thoughts on “Horridculture – Drought

  1. On occasion, nothing like what you experience in California, we have drought conditions here in Maine. This summer has not been quite as bad a the last two. Thankfully. We have an excellent well and we have come to depend on it to keep the nursery watered through the season…drought or no drought. The interesting observation has been how people react to a lack of rainfall. Most people in rural areas have wells, unless you live in a town ( like Belfast), and are very thoughtful about their water supply. Others continue to waste and tax their water supply beyond its limits. Can’t really muckle on to the idea of conservation within their own home. It will be interesting to see how this plays out as we ( possibly) experience drought conditions here in the northeast.

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  2. Sadly, there are a smaller handful of people who use up far more than they should, and they aren’t residents or even farmers. It is just downright foolish to allow so much of what is a limited resource be bottled up and sold worldwide for profit by corporations like Nestle, or to have so much be tainted and lost in the fracking process. It’s just nonsensical. Droughts we can weather (pun intended), it’s the lack of long term planning that we can’t.

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    1. Even in the landscape industry, where we should know better, we waste vast volumes of water! No one seems to care. Those who tend to their own gardens will let their lawns die while neighbors with gardeners use so much water that it kills trees!


  3. You are right, if people want to live in a dry climate, they must realize there will be lack of water. I live in a place that was built on swampy land and we went through a drought and had to ration water, so you never know. Last year nature reminded us that we do indeed live in a swamp, after enduring the highest rainfall in US history.

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    1. People are just so disconnected from the natural world. Old architecture and landscapes were designed for the respective climates. Nowadays, the homes and gardens here are just like those in southern Arizona or coastal Washington.

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  4. Droughts also aren’t unusual in Texas. The one in 2011 led to a forest fire that burned 90% of the so-called lost pines just east of Bastrop in my general part of the state.

    I’m optimistic that eventually scientists will develop inexpensive ways to desalinate ocean water.

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    1. People will just use more water. Los Angeles only grew to be the most populous city in the West by taking water from others and making it available to those in Los Angles. They keep wanting more.


      1. Within reason. Putting too much water out there still changes the environment. People are aware that all the infrastructure and pavement and such of big cities changes the environment; but do not often consider that the big and overly irrigated landscapes of exotic plants affects the environment as well. Places like Los Angeles and San Jose are more than the big ‘concrete jungles’ that treehuggers describe them as. Both areas are much more densely forested than the regions are naturally. Los Angeles was a relatively desolate desert. San Jose was just a chaparral with a few scattered oaks. Desalination is very helpful in Santa Barbara County, but still does not justify waste.


      2. Exactly. I happen to like lawn in the right situation. It is nice for homes where children or dogs live. However, it is way to common in a region where it should be used in moderation.


    1. There are more than a million people just in San Jose, and few of them have been there long enough to be aware of how the climate operates. Furthermore, they do not care. They just want to use as much water as they please. If there is not enough water to go around, the climate gets blamed.

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