Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Remember when it used to rain?

Rain gauge totals for Ventura County since October 2013. 

I think the title of this post says it all when discussing the current state of the Tri-County area and the drought which has got us by the short hairs. Our local civic leaders are not openly acknowledging this crisis as yet, or asking for greater public conservation of such a scarce resource, even though the most dim-witted butterfly could understand that we haven't had any rain this season (indeed, herbicides and climate change have decreased the monarch butterfly population by as much as 50% in recent years). California in general has been in a drought for the last three years and the trend is unlikely to forseeably change based on projections by NOAA. Surface temperature fluctuations in the Southern Pacific Ocean dictate El Nino/La Nina conditions. Those conditions in turn, affect the jet stream, and where resultant Eastern Pacific zones of high pressure will occur and for how long. This whole fall and winter season Southern California (and the State in general) have been plunked under one enormous and persistent high pressure system. This is bad news for those of us that visit the Southern Los Padres National Desert and rely on those diminishing water sources to stay alive.

To illustrate our predicament I have put some alarming water resource tables on this post. This is current and historical data for Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties that should instill a healthy fear in those of us who like to use the local woods. Last summer I wrote a post which included water data (to the degree possible) of all SLPNF drainages and springs which we hikers rely on. Many of you contributed to that writing and the overall message, when all was said and done, was pretty depressing. Things were already bone dry a year ago, much more so now. I invite you to spend a few minutes studying these charts. It's scary. As with any post here, you can click on any image to enlarge it.

To those of you that still argue that 95% of climate scientists are dead wrong (the folks with years of post-graduate education and research to back their findings), or have bought the oil companies' propaganda lie that our gleaming plastic, hydrocarbon fueled wonderland is completely unrelated to the phenomena of climate change, I invite you to watch Collapse, with Michael Ruppert. As with all things in life, take his words with a grain of salt (he is not perfectly right about everything, but it is also a good idea to judge the man by the quality of his enemies). He does present a cogent argument for those of you with your brain in "On" mode. Those of you who understand that the western U.S. is drying up and have concerns about the greater water supply and what you're doing to it, I suggest seeing Last Call at the Oasis, which is viewable in it's entirety on NetFlix. If you find yourself further intrigued by humanity's model for self-destruction, Zeitgeist may provoke some soul searching. Note that, with these recommendations, some may wish to label me a conspiracy/black helicopter type. I am not. I am simply a free-thinking, knowledge hungry human being who recognizes that every life system on our planet is under stress, and our species' entire model of living is unsustainable.


  1. P.S.: To add a little perspective regarding the Sierra snowpack one only has to check out Mammoth Mountain's snow report. By this point in the 2012-13 season Mammoth had received 240 inches of snow. This year...48 inches.

  2. David,
    I like you, find it perplexing that local agencies and representatives have thus far refrained from publicly acknowledging the seriousness of our present drought cycle. I can recall times in recent history where conditions were far better and conservation was at the forefront of headlines.
    You have posted present tables and statistics, the data speaks for itself; conditions are dismal right now. Only the stoutest streams and springs in the SLP are holding out. Vegetation and wildlife alike are clinging to whatever moisture they can find; a prospect that becomes more difficult each and every day.
    Having spent the last 14 years as a water utility worker, I have come to realize how fragile the local water supply truly is.You have included statistics for Cachuma, Jameson, and Gibraltor (40%-28%-6% respectively) I would like to add the current capacity of Lake Casitas (my present employer) The lake currently stands at 60% capacity; the equivalent of 153,537 acre feet of water. At first glance this might appear to be a healthy volume (at least relative to other local reservoirs) But there is a silent killer that has surfaced this past year; local groundwater basins have been depleted and a multitude of wells have either lost yield, or altogether dried up. Net Result? These users have now turned to the Casitas surface water for supply and greatly accelerated the drawdown on the reservoir. Add in the natural evaporation from the dry/windy weather pattern, and you have the recipe for an empty lake.

    Sustainability? The time to act is now......................


  3. Mendocino County drought:
    Monterey County drought :
    Regional drought monitor:
    Here is a good video piece on the none to small impact the lack of water will have in Cali's $31 Billion Ag industry ;

  4. Colorado drought.

  5. Thanks for that, Mike, Daniel. Scary stuff but I'm more and more convinced that this will be that long term drought conditions are our new reality. -DS