|Images by Bill Slavin|
Our rain gauge shows four inches of water since last Sunday. After five years of drought, we have rain.The creek in our neighborhood, fed by water coming from the hills around Mt. Diablo, wanders behind the houses across the street. This year we can hear its roar from our house. Slides and fallen trees result from the heavy downpours that saturate the ground. We have the deluge of rain that was promised last year. The Sierra Nevada snowpack measures over 435 inches in many areas. (The average is 450 inches for the entire year.) We enjoy winter sports again.
California cycles between drought years and rainy years. It is so easy to relax and return to old bad habits. I find myself leaving the water on too long already and I have to remind myself to conserve even with the rain. If you are like me and grew up in California listening to the stories about the Owens Valley (watch the movie Chinatown), the first Gov. Brown's Peripheral Canal, the continual tension between North and South about water rights, and the struggles between farmers, city dwellers, and the fish and animals that also live in California, you know that we are all intertwined, dependent on each other. That's easy when we have abundance. Then it is easy to share. Water makes us feel clean and when it runs out of a faucet, easy to waste. Some people want to lift our current stiff restrictions on water use. Instead, we need to step back and work together to change our mindset permanently to use only the water we need.