cheap timberland boots for men uk Are we headed toward a drought ‘Day Zero’
Another week has arrivedwith no rain in the forecast. Another month has passed with rainfall well below average. Another set of measurements in the Sierra Nevada show a dismal snowpack.
If you wonder where all this may be heading, consider Cape Town. Officials in the South African city of 4 million people predict residents’ taps will actually run dry on May 11 without more rain. They even have a name for it “Day Zero.”
The reason? Three years of drought, including the two driest years on record for Cape Town, caused by stubborn high pressure systems that push rainstorms away. Sound familiar? A recurring high pressure system over the West is keeping us dry this winter.
The day before the devastating Thomas Fire began Dec. 4, we editorialized that the “drought never really ended in our county, despite last winter’s rains and the lifting of use restrictions in areas relying on water from up north.”
Considering the bleak rainfall numbers since then, it’s time to sound the drought alarm again and urge water conservation, fire safety and emergency preparedness, along with more forward planning by government officials to prepare for another dry year and perhaps many more.
We’ve had only one significant storm this winter, the one that caused the fatal Montecito mudslides Jan. 9. The Camarillo Airport recorded only 1 inch of rain in January 29 percent of normal. February is traditionally our wettest month of the year, with about 4 inches of rain on average. So far this month,
we’ve received nothing, and the forecast shows us dry through at least Sunday.
As of Monday, Lake Casitas, which supplies water to Ventura and the Ojai Valley, was only at 35 percent of capacity. The Sierra snowpack, which helps supply the state water that other Ventura County cities use, was less than a third of normal last week. Drought Monitor maps released last week put Ventura, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties in “severe drought” status.
In Cape Town, the city is restricting water use to no more than 13 gallons a day per person and rushing to build desalination, aquifer and water recycling projects. Several Ventura County cities are mulling desalination and other water facilities, and we encourage them to increase their sense of urgency before it is too late.