Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Water

Christmas Day and it is nice enough to hang out clothes to dry.

After the obligatory Oyster Stew and Dungeness Crab last night, we awoke to the usual activities: starting the fire, making the coffee, feeding the dogs and bunnies and chickens. And then presents!

The girls made a haul: snowboards and parkas and snowpants and boots and knick knacks and more clothes and a Monopoly game and all  the other implements of a consumerist Christmas. Openings done. Off we go for a Christmas Walk.

This winter has been dry thus far. The Sierra have had no snow. Daytime temperatures have been in the sixties. In California, people start getting nervous when the rains don't arrive on time. Feeding and watering nearly 38 million people requires a whole lot of water. Agriculture is the number one use of water. As such, every river except one has a whole series of water storage dams which have enabled the human population to get so large. The salmon are the ones who have paid the price of all this over-development. Since the creation of all the dams beginning in the 30's, the once abundant, unique four-times-a-year salmon runs can now be numbered in the low thousands. Once they were millions. Human population growth always has a cost.

North of here, the Klamath River might just get the distinction of becoming the first free flowing river reclaimed from the dams. Of course, this will cost several million dollars and most of the residents of North Eastern California are opposed to it. I think the salmon should be allowed at least one more free flowing river. Idealistically, at least half the rivers of California should be free flowing to the sea. That's only fair.

The future? There are opportunities to remove some dams on some of the tributaries of the Sacramento River. Mostly this remains an environmentalist's dream---but maybe someday, somehow, the people will place the salmon's needs equal to other creature's. Probably this is a pipe dream; the farmer's are opposed to losing any water storage.

But one thing that could really help the salmon population is to decrease the water flow to Southern California during drought years. Getting those pumps to stop pummeling salmon fry into paste is a huge political problem though. The regulatory agencies are always besmirched by those who need the water for crops and swimming pools. And the salmon always lose.

Our water comes from a well that provides (thus far) clear, cold and tasty water.

Thoughts while walking.

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