Monday, August 25, 2008

Portrait Of A Drought ....

This is Molly and Sam exploring on the dock about 2 weeks ago. At the time I was going to write a post about how bad the "drought" is getting, but never got to it. We've actually been in a drought for a number of years now though certain officials seem to be in denial about it. Last year the South Fork Rivanna River Reservoir, the same body of water in the photo above never got this low. Water restrictions were put in place in midsummer last year and were lifted later on when rain became more abundant. Over the course of the winter there seemed to be abundant rain and when monthly totals were added up in the spring, the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority declared the drought over. What they forgot about is that the ground water has run very low since the worst summer of drought in 2002. Their logic seems to be if the rain fall totals add up to normal amounts for the year, then we are not in drought. It doesn't seem to matter that trees and shrubs all over the county are dying. It doesn't seem to matter that the water level in this reservoir that supplies water to the city of Charlottesville is well on it's way to the level it was in 2002 when we were in severe drought and water restrictions were in place.

This is what the dock area looks like today. The water is now 10 to 12 feet away from the dock. Scattered showers are in the forecast for the rest of week, but so far there has been not one drop of rain.

The trees you see across the river are turning brown. They are not orange or red. These trees are shutting down their systems because they can not pull up any water from the ground. Leaves are falling at an alarming rate. The Garden is dying back very early this year. I still have a bit of water left in the rain water tank but it will soon be gone. We save water from washing dishes to water as many plants as possible. We don't flush every time we use the bathroom, going by the rule: If it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down." The grass has not been mowed for almost a month now and is brown and crackly when you walk on it.

I took this photo on August 26th, 2006. Not much has changed has it?

This is what the river looks like when the water levels are normal, taken in November of 2006. So tell me, do you think this might be a drought or is it not a drought as claimed by the RWSA? There are currently no water restrictions in place. I am lucky. I have a well that is quite deep and hasn't failed me yet. I'm thankful I do not live in the city and have to pay for the water I use. I would have to depend upon the "authorities" to keep my water running and they don't seem to see a need to conserve water at this point.

We are entering a new age of global climate change. We can no longer depend on the seasonal weather patterns we have in the past. I believe we need to be conserving water every day, no matter how abundant rainfall is.

This is what the beginning of a real problem looks like. Why can't the authorities see it??

3 comments:

marja-leena said...

Sure looks like drought! We still have a lot of deniers out there...

Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

You're completely right. We have new patterns forming, and we can't see those patterns clearly yet, so conservation at all times is key.

Lucy said...

Our visit to Australia last year certainly brought it home to us what it's like living wiht water shortage. We're still quite profligate with it here really, it's hard not to be when our summers have been washed out with rain. But that's part of the change too of course.