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1978 - St. Francis Dam site becomes a State Landmark [story]


Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Sunday, Feb 2, 2014

Darryl ManzerI’m back. Back in California and swearing not ever to go to Kentucky or Tennessee in the middle of winter again. It was just plain cold. I was becoming pretty adapted to getting up in the morning and connecting the water supply I had disconnected the night before so it wouldn’t freeze.

We are truly blessed here in the Golden State. As I crossed the line from Nevada, I rejoiced at the many gifts the Creator has given this state. He gave us Yosemite, and we gave it Governor Moonbeam – twice. I think our efforts are lacking in most respects.

Sure, California has problems. If the drought continues, we will have to use our swimming pool water to flush our toilets. And our cars will just have to be dirty.

I solved the dirty car problem. I own a Jeep. A Jeep is supposed to be dirty. Dust and mud and grime all over. On my Jeep – which I call “Miss Betty Boop” – all of the dust, mud and grime came from being towed behind “Billy Bob,” my RV. But hey, it does look authentic.

Remember some of the rules for California drought conditions. I really like the one that says you should shower with a friend to conserve water.

I lived in Northern California – yes, I admit the error of my ways – in the mid-1970s during a previous drought. Moonbeam was the “gov” then, too. Those of us who got our water from the northern rivers had to conserve water. We could only water our yards every other day in the evening. They were very strict about that rationing. Some folks got fined for tiny amounts of water running off the yard and into the street.

I remember a drive south to see some folks here in the SCV and others in that lesser valley to our south. Just before we got to the south end of the Central Valley, we saw many hundreds of acres of fields flooded with OUR water. The anger we felt could have powered our vehicle up that grade to Gorman if it could have been put into the gas tank.

In Newhall there were homes that had automatic watering systems that were on EVERY day during the daylight hours, and water was running down the street. That was our water. Water from the north.

I wonder what would happen if we stopped watering all of the trees in Santa Clarita that have been planted since the last major drought of the 1970s. What about all of the golf courses and home lawns and school playing fields and all of those other green places? Will the folks in Bridgeport give up the lakes and ponds to keep the lawns and trees growing?

Some time ago, we forgot we live in an arid place. We decided to import water and plant trees and lawns and water-guzzling landscaping because we could get all the water we need from “up north.”

So I read this week that the great state of California is turning off the supply. In reality, the state can’t give what it doesn’t have.

Maybe all of those pools can be connected for the world’s largest skateboard park? If we have to use the water for flushing, they will dry up soon, too.

This time I doubt if we see the south end of the Central Valley with acres flooded during a drought. And we won’t see water running down the street anywhere in the state … unless it’s raining. The state will become more and more “golden” as each lawn dies and turns a deep, rich, golden yellow.

Hopefully we will dodge the bullet with fires, too. That is what a drought usually brings us – fires. Big fires.

So you have to conserve water. Ask yourself this: Can I save 10 gallons a day? 20? More? Maybe we should shower with friends. Maybe we should limit the number of loads of laundry we do each day.

We can carry this theme to a normal and illogical conclusion. Here ‘goes:

1. Shower with friends.

2. Go nude whenever possible so you don’t dirty your clothes; thus you won’t have to wash them.

3. Replace all of the lawns with tons of rock and gravel. Works in Tucson, right? Embrace the thought of returning the desert to what it once was.

4. Drive a dirty car to prove you support water conservation in California.

5. Perform a rain dance or wash all of the windows in your home. (We know that is as good as any rain dance.)

6. Tell the folks up north to give us more water or we’re all moving up there.

If items 1 through 5 won’t help, item 6 will at least get us the water we want. It worked before, I think.

 

Darryl Manzer grew up in the Pico Canyon oil town of Mentryville in the 1960s and attended Hart High School. After a career in the U.S. Navy he returned to live in the Santa Clarita Valley. He can be reached at dmanzer@scvhistory.com and his commentaries, published on Tuesdays and Sundays, are archived at DManzer.com. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].

 

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1 Comment

  1. Dennis O' says:

    Well, I’m looking at the snow pack on the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges and I believe that you’re going to have to write WA off as a possble source of water this year. We have a little drought of our own going on at the moment.

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