Hope for the best, prepare for the worst
Living here, it’s sometimes easy to forget that we’re in a severe drought. We’re surrounded by ripening vineyards, and this time of year the hills are always brown anyway. But last month we went camping in the Trinity Alps, and it was shocking to see how low Lake Shasta is, at only 28 percent capacity. Mount Shasta is almost completely brown from bottom to top. Closer to home, Lake Mendocino is at about 30 percent capacity, and Lake Sonoma is around 63 percent. We all need to be aware of how dry it is around here. Fifty years ago this month, a wildfire consumed much of the Mayacamas from Glen Ellen to Sonoma, and in this issue historian Arthur Dawson recounts the tale of a similar fire back in 1923. (See “Local History Lesson,” page 8.)
The City of Santa Rosa has instated 20 percent mandatory water conservation. That means irrigating only between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., no washing down your patio or driveway, and water “on request only” at restaurants. For those of us with our own wells, we should be self-interested enough in maintaining our water supplies to do the same. Some things you can do include replacing lawn with drought-tolerant landscaping, installing low-flow toilets and using flow restrictors on taps, harvesting rainwater (if we ever get any), and turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth. We realize that a lot of you already do these things, so in addition, remember that bumper sticker from the 1970s – “Save Water – Shower with a Friend.”
This is a busy time of year around here. We’re in the middle of harvest, which means extra winery tourists. The Wine Country Film Festival runs Sept. 17 to 22, and it is well-worth attending. The B.R. Cohn Music Festival is Sept. 20 and 21, and rumor has it that there are still some tickets available. Sept. 20 is also the date of Kenwood Jazz Blues & BBQ (see page 5 next door for details.) There’s a Farm Sustainability Festival at Jack London State Park on Oct. 5 which looks pretty interesting, and the Glen Ellen Village Fair is slated for Oct. 12, so mark your calendar.
And in the mean time, pray for rain!