Sometimes the war drums of the drought campaign ring hollow in River City.
I am 100% for saving water (see how I ripped out my back lawn and replaced it with decomposed granite). But Redding is not in the desert.
We have water.
Marc Beauchamp, columnist for our local paper, recently ran an email he’d gotten as an opinion piece in his blog. I don’t know who wrote it. But the author articulated some points about Redding and our relationship to water (and our present drought) that I believe are worth sharing. My sentiments echoed.
“As an adjunct to this line of thinking let me offer this. The truth is that the city of Redding has plenty of water. We sit at the confluence of five or six of the most important rivers/streams in California.
“In addition, Redding receives more direct rainfall than Seattle, a little known fact that should win a wager at any respectable cocktail lounge south of here.
“This terrible drought notwithstanding, we are awash in water even at this time. The rainfall that we receive in addition to riparian rights and precedent use would dictate so.
“After all, downstream urban use and AG interests came along much later than Redding. Redding has water and this fact is due to our geographical positioning.
“On the other side of this argument is that our geographic positioning lashes us with a very hot summer season and our community suffers for this. I believe that our inability to attract high quality corporate investment and thereby all the attendant benefits (wealthy middle classes, high quality shopping, quality higher education, quality cultural events etc.) is due to the Death Valley summer conditions that we endure.
“San Diego, La Jolla, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Santa Barbara, Palo Alto and any number of coastal cities enjoy the benefit of their geographical positioning as well.
“They have moderate temperatures year round and the wealthy choose to live there. They receive these benefits but do not want to accept the negative side of their geographic positioning which is that there is now insufficient water for all of them to live there, much less continue developing.
“Since we suffer the inconvenience of our location we, at the very least, should receive the benefits of our location.
“When it is unbearably hot here we do not ask the residents of Los Angeles to pay our air conditioning bill.
“When they do not have sufficient water they should have no moral or legal claim to the water that we might use on our landscaping or any other use that we might have for our water, certainly not without compensation.
Let Redding offer to those south of us this proposition. We have plenty of water and you can locate your family here and your businesses here and be assured that you will have sufficient water.
“We here in Redding should be watering our lawns, building water features in our landscaping and let the Market figure out where is a good place to live and have sustenance.
“Los Angelinos taking a 2 minute shower twice a week while we run through the sprinklers on our lawns would do more for the promotion of Stillwater Park than a phalanx of overpaid “Marketing Directors”.
“Hope this view might provide a perspective for dialogue between the haves and the have nots.”
There was more to the piece, but that’s the section that struck a chord with me. Here’s a link to the full article.
Redding has been asked to cut water use by 36%. Complying seems more an act of artificial solidarity than anything of real hydrologic value. Seeing now all the dead landscaping showing up around here isn’t helping Redding, and it isn’t really helping the rest of the state much either.