Sad Effects of Worst Drought

[This is a message I sent to our Mayor of Chico and the other City Councilors.  It was my submission as part of the City’s Goal Setting meeting on Monday, January 6, 2014.]

(click on image to view larger)

Dear Mayor and City Councilors,

I’m writing to you because I’m greatly concerned about the severe drought that’s occurring.  Do we have a drought plan?  Shouldn’t we start conserving the water we have?  Other towns in the state have already made it mandatory that their citizens conserve water, for example, by only watering lawns on certain days.

I didn’t fully comprehend how bad the drought is until last Sunday when I visited Paradise Lake.  I know Paradise Lake isn’t a direct Chico water source but its current condition is symptomatic of the present volume of available water storage throughout Northern California. Seeing it this year in comparison to prior years measured the severity of the drought for me. If Paradise Lake is this low now what will it be like in August or September?  If our state is experiencing fires this December (as in the Big Sur fire) and this January (as in the Campbell fire) what will the fire danger be like in August or September?

On February 13, 2011 Lin and I went up to Lake Paradise for our usual hike along the lake’s perimeter. When I took this photo (the first one below), the setting sun lit up the trees and shrubs along the water’s edge.  I titled this photo “Lakeside.”

The second photo is what I saw this year, on January 5th, 2014. The lake level is so far down it’s hardly recognizable as the same site. The subsequent photos show how much the lake has shrunk at other sites.

The last two photos are of our yard.  Last fall we decided to get rid of our lawn and just plant plants.

"Lakeside"  2/13/14

“Lakeside” 2/13/14

"Lakeside" comparison, same spot, 1/5/14

“Lakeside” comparison, same spot, 1/5/14

Paradise Lake #1

Paradise Lake #1

Paradise Lake #2

Paradise Lake #2

Paradise Lake #3

Paradise Lake #3

With grass

Our yard with grass


Our yard without grass, west section

Without grass, east section

Our yard without grass, east section