Wednesday, January 29, 2014


We had a little drizzle this morning, just about enough to dampen the sidewalks. It wasn't much, but it was certainly welcome. Weeks ago, it was evident that less rain would be arriving this winter than the normal amount. The reaction to this has been measured, a polite way of saying that it has been very slow. We have had suggestions for a voluntary 20% cut in water use, but little else. I believe that it would have been better to impose mandatory cutbacks and more specific directions. The watering of lawns could have been forbidden, or at least restricted to one or two days a week. I expect more restrictive steps to be implemented soon. On January 27, the San Francisco Chronicle printed my letter urging this About 30 years ago, when I was specializing in professional liability insurance for architects and engineers, I attended an annual conference of what was then known as the California Council of Civil Engineers and Land Surveyors (CCCELS). I heard a very interesting presentation and discussion on the use of secondary water lines. At least one community, probably in Southern California, had developed a secondary water system, with the pipes painted blue, to distinguish them from the domestic water supply, using highly treated potable water. The less highly-treated water was used for irrigation, saving money and making it possible to keep the lawns green during a dry season. Of course, it took some capital outlay to set up this system, but the payback was worth it. Ideas to prepare for drought seem to have no traction during times of "normal" weather. As our population increases marginally, and demand for water grows, it is time that we took some serious action to mitigate the effects of a prolonged drought. If this does not happen in the remaining years of my lifetime, it will become an unwelcome burden to our grandchildren.

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