Written By Robin Shepherd
“We never know the worth of water ‘til the well is dry.”
Thomas Fuller (1608-1661)
Water, agua, H 2 0. . .
No matter how you say it, water is the elixir of life.
e humans are about 60 percent water by weight. Doctors tell us to
drink eight glasses of water a day to be healthy. We need even more
water to bathe, cook, clean, irrigate, transport cargo, and keep our
farms, offices, and factories running smoothly.
It’s easy to see why we take water for granted. We just turn on the tap and
out comes safe, clean water.
Over 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water. Sounds like a lot,
but only 2 percent is freshwater, and most of that is locked up in ice caps and
glaciers. With more than 7 billion people, we’re a thirsty planet.
We can’t control Mother Nature, but we can be wise stewards of the natural
resources she provides. Join
TODAY as we explore water in this second
installment in our series on infrastructure.
OUR GOLDEN STATE
Zoom in to California, and we find that
water is a scarce resource even in good
years. The drought from 2012 through
2016 was the driest four-year stretch
since the state began tracking this data
120 years ago. As we rang in the new
year, Mother Nature drenched Northern
California with record-breaking snow
and rain. We were confronted with the
vulnerabilities of our water infrastruc-
ture as dams, rivers and creeks swelled
to overflowing, and flooding led to the
evacuation of people from their homes.
With winter’s storms behind us, one
thing is clear. We Californians need to
develop our “water wisdom.” It’s going
to take a lot more than shorter show-
ers in summer and stacking sandbags
in winter to solve the water challenges
ahead. We’ve got to improve our water
infrastructure and water management
practices, and there’s no time to waste.
As recently as last year, South County
was in the “exceptional drought”
category. By mid-January of 2017, the
U.S. Drought Monitor reported that 42
percent of California was no longer in
a drought based on rainfall, snowpack,
reservoir levels, soil moisture, ground-
water, and other factors. Here we are in
May and groundwater levels are at or
near pre-drought levels. Truth be told,
we will need more wet winters to benefit
from Mother Nature’s natural replenish-
ment of our groundwater supplies.