The CA drought is officially over in many areas. In fact, there is too much water falling from the sky right now. I’m nostalgic for the dry, sunny days, or even for the fluffy white wintry skiing snow I see falling on my Boston-area friends.
It’s also harder to find geocaches every day in the rain–and impossible to do so without getting wet. Everything is green, gray, and brown here in the Golden State.
I chose this subject for the Mundane Monday Challenge because I want to go a little deeper and find beauty in these flooded, muddy landscapes with their bedraggled vegetation and brownish water.
This evening my son and I were standing outside of a church in Saratoga, waiting to go into a rehearsal. We huddled under an overhang. Another parent walked up, waiting too for the previous rehearsal to end. To make small talk, I said “wild weather we’re having.” He looked around at the pelting rain and wind, and said darkly “the dinosaur water is all gone. This won’t help.”
Dinosaur water. I must have looked puzzled, because, if anything, I associate dinosaurs with oil and other carboniferous resources. “The water we drilled and took out of the ground,” he added. “This won’t put it back.”
The analogy to oil holds there too, but I wondered then, when I got home, how long it actually might take to recharge the aquifers. The San Joaquin Valley is sinking due to overpumped groundwater. According to the San Jose Mercury News, it could take up to 50 years for the groundwater to recharge from its current state, even if everyone stopped pumping immediately. Not quite the millions of years it takes for dinosaurs to turn into oil, but still uncomfortably long in human terms.
Here is something cool, though: aquifer recharge experiments. Wineries and growers of other crops are flooding their fields to get water back in the ground where it is safer from evaporation than it would be in a reservoir. Surprisingly, this doesn’t harm the crops.
The Santa Clara Valley water district maintains percolation ponds, that collect floodwater and direct it back underground. We may be seeing many more of these types of solutions–and flooded lands–in the future!