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Stories from the valley

160 percent of a good thing is a great thing!

Contributed by Tim Johnson

The last storm brought just over three inches of rain, enough to fill the stock pond on the ranch far earlier than in years past. Our total rainfall here in Placerville is now 160 percent of normal and a full inch above last year at this time. It is a great thing!

Farmers and ranchers can pretty well tell how the wet season is going by observations like these – when the stock pond fills, how full the ditches are running and where you get stuck in the mud.

Landscape Scene with Cows

This time of year, we also start to seeing the grass emerging. The cattle are busily munching on the green shoots and the wild turkeys are doing the same. Here in the Sierra foothills all the signs point to a wet year.

The news tells us that it has rained enough in the Sacramento Valley to ‘erase’ the drought. Ostensibly that enough rain has fallen to make up for the rain we lost over the past few years. The lakes are filling and the ground is wet all the way down.

At the same time, it’s nearly impossible to avoid stories about the ongoing drought. The continued cries of dry assault the sensibilities. Rather than hold on to last year’s problems, a better solution is to plan better for the next drought whether it comes in a year or in ten.

Lets build more storage, as promised in Prop 1.  Here in the north that means Sites Reservoir. It is an off-stream reservoir that could be gently sipping the high turbid water that is flowing down the Sacramento River and saving it for the summer for fish, farms and people.

Lanscape Scene

Lets recharge more ground water now that we are having high water in the rivers. We could easily be diverting flooding creeks to our most porous soils to be pumped at a later date.

Better yet, lets take the energy we are expending on hand wringing and be joyful for the abundance of a good thing made that much sweeter after years of want.

Raindrop Photo courtesy of Rita Taylor