They still need to make the same amount of money

Did you know?

Humanity has known for several days—alright, several millenia—that water is necessary for survival. Then we learned how to save water for future needs, such as showers, cooking, brushing our little teethies. Then we learned how to transport it to areas that didn’t have much of it, like deserts, like, uh, Southern California, like Los Angeles and San Diego. The average rainfall for San Diego currently is 10.15 inches. Heck, I have been in many thunderstorms and hurricanes in Texas that dropped 10.15 inches of rain in 24 hours!

I’m not a big fan of rain, but I am a big fan of water since I like to take showers, cook, and brush my little teethies, not to mention garden. We know that because of the Mediterranean climate that San Diego has, all we need to do is provide water and virtually anything will grow here. There even are two redwood forests here in San Diego County—one at the San Diego Zoo and one at Safari Park—which survive simply because they get the water they need.

Although there are lakes in San Diego County, there is not a single man-made lake. All of them are artificial lakes, also known as reservoirs. Here is a picture of the Sweetwater Reservoir on April 3, 2010:

Sweetwater Reservoir near San Diego, April 3, 2010

On November 12, 2008, it was announced that capacity was down to 23%, the “lowest level in years.”
February 10, 2013, it was 48.7%.
March 2, 2015, 13%.
January 19, 2017, 12%.
February 9, 2017, 20.4%. So the very wet January has helped tremendously.

California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in 2014 due to the drought, directing water agencies to cut urban water use by 25% of 2013 levels. Good thing I cooperated by taking just one shower a week (not really). The public was so good at cutting water use that the water agencies raised our rates. After all, they still need to make the same amount of money, or more, yes?

San Diego has declared that the drought here is over because of the rain we have gotten, the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and the level of the Colorado River. San Diego gets 60% of its water from the Colorado River, 20% from the snowpack, and 20% from its local reservoirs.

The water coming to San Diego from the Colorado River comes via the San Diego Aquaduct, a series of pipelines and canals stretching 225 miles. The water coming from the Sierra Nevada snowpack comes via the California Aqueduct. When I was chasing trains on February 5, I was going over one of our Southern California concrete rivers when I noticed that it was 100% full, almost overflowing. Then I saw a sign telling me that it was the California Aquaduct, so I kept my eye on it and turned off the freeway and the next safe area to take this picture:

California Aqueduct

Now I have to get out and about to see if I can get some pictures of the San Diego Aquaduct.

This post approved byThis post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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7 thoughts on “They still need to make the same amount of money

  1. acflory

    OMG – you have your water flowing in open aqueducts???? How much is lost from evaporation alone? And contamination? From animal poo? Dead things?
    Forgive me but I’m shocked. Here in Australia we’ve had to conserve water for much longer and those aqueducts seem unbelievably wasteful. I know pipelines are expensive but long term they would save so much water. 😦

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      1. acflory

        I suspect this is perhaps the first time the people in charge have had to come to terms with a water scarcity. Hopefully covering over those aqueducts will become a big enough priority that they allocate money for it.

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        1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

          Nah. California has been going through droughts for eternity. Droughts last 2-6 years and then everything returns to normal for 6-10 years, and then the cycle repeats itself, in perpetuity.

          I got to San Diego on April 27, 1993. On April 30, the weatherman (still a man, no women back then) announced that for the third consecutive month San Diego did not have even a trace of rain. I said to myself, “I could live here.” The lack of rain reached something like 183 days and a drought lasted for a couple of years. I think I’ve been through four droughts in my 24 years here. This last one was the most severe though. They are likely to get even more severe, not because of the lack of rain but because the population continues to explode. More people on the same amount of water isn’t going to cut it.

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          1. acflory

            183 /days/????? Wow, and I thought we had it bad. Only our inland, semi-arid areas get so little rain, especially all in a row. So San Diego is almost completely irrigated?
            Have they thought of desalination plants?
            We had one built here in Victoria after the last drought [11 years and it ended with a bushfire that killed almost 200 people]. Ironically, by the time they finished building it, the drought was well and truly over. Now we pay not to use it. Still, as crazy as it sounds, it’s nice to know it’s there if/when another extended drought rolls along.

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            1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

              They finally built a desalinization plant up in Carlsbad. It just celebrated its first birthday. It claims to be the nation’s largest and most technologically advanced seawater desalination plant. During its first year it produced enough water from the Pacific Ocean to meet about 10 percent of the region’s demand.

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