1,000 Gallons: How Green Was My Water
In the January 18th post, I wrote that I hoped to fill up a tank with rain water. Mission accomplished. We received about six inches of rain in the past six days. This is a big deal because our average yearly rain total is 13 inches.
I recalculated the size of the tank, discovering that it holds over a thousand gallons. A thousand gallons of free water! Yeeee Haaaa! If you saw our water bill, you'd understand why I'm excited.
Of course I realize this is a little futile. A thousand gallons is not a lot of water. It will saturate the driest parts of the garden and postpone turning the sprinklers back on only for a couple extra weeks. What we could really use is a huge underground cistern, saving up rain water during the rainy season from October through April and using it when water rates jump in summertime.
If you think a little longer, you realize what we really need is a garden consisting of a small drip-irrigated vegetable patch, some succulents like Agaves and Aloes, a few native Coast Live Oak trees that can live on winter rain alone, and nothing else.
This is because a huge underground cistern might cost (at minimum) ten thousand dollars, all spent to save (at most), a thousand dollars on the yearly water bill. Payback would take a good long while. It might come to that, though, if I want to keep the roses.
No matter what the State of California tells you, there's plenty of water in the Sierras. The problem is getting it from there to here. There's also plenty of rain water wasted in Southern California. Hundreds upon hundreds of billions of gallons of water fell from the sky during the past six days, and most of it is already back in the ocean.
Local reservoirs to store water above ground and settlement basins to refill the local aquifers could vastly reduce the need to import water from the Sierras. However, new reservoirs require money and location, political will and rational thought, which California lacks these days. So, it comes back to individual effort. My individual effort is a thousand gallons the past six days. It's something. It will go into the soil instead of right back into the ocean. It's not water from the for-profit water corporation now free to pour all the money it likes into influencing elections. It's water that's free, from the sky.