It's Finally Raining in California!


When I went to a propagation conference a couple years ago in Modesto,CA,a state geologist was there and his main idea was to build more storage areas to capture the excess rainfall,before going to the sea. Brady


If we were to store all “excess” water headed for the ocean then marine ecosystems (including fisheries) will die. This is already a plight in the Pacific NW.

Further, water that makes its way into storm drains is considered sewage. Voters aren’t yet able to stomach the idea of toilet to tap. Instead, some communities are building desalination plants. Some smart planners though have kept the option open of converting modern desalination plants to sewage water recovery.


Perhaps the best outcome of the drought has been growing adoption of toilet to tap (or groundwater replenishment in cleaner terms). Orange County cleans 100 million gallons of wastewater per day with a current expansion going to 130 million gallons per day (they are looking to do more, but don’t believe they have enough wastewater to go much higher from OC alone and have actually considered importing it from other areas). Unfortunately, a lack of public understanding means that water, cleaned beyond the water quality already in North OC aquifer, has to be pumped to the aquifer and later removed and cleaned again for public use. But it’s still far cheaper than desalination and prevents a great deal of partially cleaned sewage from going into the ocean.

I toured the Fountain Valley facility back in December – pretty interesting process pushing water through filter after filter after filter. The administrator there says they’ve been giving multiple tours every week to groups across California and around the world. LA is expected to spend well over $1bn in the next few years on a similar system.



Ok, Richard, I don’t want to “parse” words nor do I want to start figuring out what the meaning of “is” is.

But, I said “excess” water. The water that is in excess of what is normal or needed or required. The extra water, the lack of which, will not kill the marine ecosystem. Just like the billions of gallons of water they had to dump out of the Orville dam which is not going into storm sewers or the 500 cubic feet per second (3740 gallons) that they have to release from Lake Tahoe to keep it from overflowing. ( See quote below). This comes to 323.13 MILLION gallons a day or 9.694 BILLION gallons in one month. This is the excess that is not going into the storm sewers that I am talking about recapturing.
"We feel really good right now," said U.S. District Court Water Master Chad Blanchard. " We’re releasing 500 cubic feet of water per second, and trying to manage the elevation. The elevation has been flat for a couple weeks, but we don’t want to get too high because we have two-and-a-quarter feet of room. But we could still have as much as four to five feet of water to come into the lake in next five months. It’s a balancing act. We have to fill, but we don’t want to overfill. And the forecasts we get are just forecasts. They’re not perfect."



One complication, IMO, is treating all water as coming from the same source, both drinking and agricultural. While that has been and is how the typical backyard gardener deals with it (except perhaps for any roof water they store), it need not be how it’s done in larger ag, or even for homeowners.

In other states (and maybe CA too IDK), there are water ditches and reservoirs which hold irrigation water exclusively. Which eases the issues of storing and re-using waste water. But the biggest potential savings is storing water in the land itself rather than building storage facilities and infrastructure. This is something which can be implemented in people’s backyards (if zoning and rules allow which isn’t always the case), and in larger ag as well (but it is a much longer/bigger project there).


Very good friend and client sent me this picture yesterday. So very sad, many hundred acres of his prunes are 8 foot under water for the second time this year! This hasn’t happened since 96 or 97 when all of yuba city flooded. He says they’ll be fine but only tops of trees bloomed. May get a few jumbos but really sad. I took some other pictures a week ago while touring his orchards. At that time the water was not overflowing the feather river. He has 3 other orchards that are not underwater and Doing great, peaches, walnuts,pecans, and more prunes.


Here is a few more pics from last week. Notice the blooms in treetops. Also that silver thing is a dead fish. Many dead fish in his orchard that day.


Actually, the output from our water sources into the ocean has been close to nil in the last decade and the effects on the marine ecosystem are noticeable.

Where will it eventually go?

The Truckee River (sole outlet of Lake Tahoe) flows into Nevada. It feeds some modest size reservoirs in California before entering Nevada and any overflow from California is captured in Pyramid Lake.


Good to hear that Lake Tahoe overflow is not going to waste.



Bad News: We had a frost this morning, and I don’t know which trees were affected by the frost. I’ll have to check them this afternoon once I get off from work.


What a difference in the high desert. Here hundreds of miles north in NorCal we didn’t go below 51f!


In CA elevation has extreme effects on climate. Low elevations have very long growing seasons even as far north as Redding. Move up in elevation a few hundred ft in terrain with great air drainage and climate can be frost free. That would be areas like the avacado groves in Socal. A little higher on flat areas like the high desert and freezes this late are common. Move up to 4500ft, like Tehachapi, and the growing season is shorter than at the same elevation in west Texas. That’s where I’m at and freezes into April are common here.


Yeah, crazy. Even where I’am ranges from 9A - !0A within 10 Sq miles…


Great News, everyone! I had no crop loss due to this morning’s frost.

I’m at about 2,845 feet in elevation.


Yup. I lived in Garner Valley, which is a beautiful valley just a little below Idyllwild. About 4,000-5,000 ft. elevation. We had snow on the last day of school one year when we lived up there. June 22nd.


Garner Valley, that is one of my dream-home areas, the oak and chaparral foothills of coastal S. CA with a bit more moisture than south of L.A… Too bad my tastes in weather and ecosystems are so common. Good thing I developed a taste for the less popular NE, where I could afford a 3 acre mini-farm less than an hour from NYC, surrounded by thousands of acres of undeveloped land (NYC water-shed and NYS and county park land).


Except that it is not in the coastal foothills. :grinning:


Garner Valley is actually full of Jeffery pines, which are very closely related to Ponderosa pines. In fact almost indistinguishable, except the bark of the Jeffery pine smells like vanilla (the easiest way to distinguish between the two cultivars). So, due to the pines and topography, most of the old TV sohw, “Bonanaza” was filmed there. Also, tons of car commercials are filmed in the middle of the valley, on Hwy 74, because of the beautiful panoramic mountain valley view, and that 74 is long, straight and flat. The highway is called the “Pines to the Palms” highway, in fact. The climate is actually considered “Alpine Desert”. Very dry up there. As with most S. California climates, we got most of our precipitation in the winter, in the form of rain or snow. Very rarely a summer thunderstorm (which is of course, horrifyingly scary, due to the chance of a lightening strike fire.) Our property backed the Pacific Crest Trail, so we could go out our back gate with our horses, and just go. It was a really idyllic place to live. Downside: Not near ANYTHING, including schools, stores, conveniences. And, in case of an emergency (like wildfire), it could be difficult to get out of the valley. We did have 3 roads out: the north way out to Hemet on the 74 (or through Idyllwild on 243, and down the backside to Banning/Beaumount, hell of a long drive), the southwest way, out on 371 through Anza and down to Temecula, or the hair-raising southeast way, out to Palm Desert with a steep, scary descent on 74, navigating a series of panoramic switchbacks. That was the way I drove to work, down at Eisenhower Medical Center. Thankfully, I only was working part time, and 12 hour shifts, or I couldn’t have done it. but, I always worried about trying to evacuate in the event of a wildfire.We easily could have had one or more escape routes blocked by fire.


My brain did a short circuit. I was thinking of a community NE of Santa Barbara. I remember Idylwild now and have never even been there! I wrote Garner Valley when I was thinking of Idylwild mistakenly as an entirely different place. The fourth quarter is getting interesting. When I start screwing up spray mixtures I have to retire.


Goleta, maybe??

Patty S.