Some rain fell in Southern California the last few weeks.
We had three storms and a few showers, totaling in the range of three inches; here at TreePeople we logged 3.75 inches.
That means 64,000 gallons of fresh rainwater flowed into our cistern.
Although last year was the third year of a state-wide drought in California, with a stage 3 drought emergency declared in Los Angeles, the little rain that did fall in Los Angeles actually filled our irrigation cistern by February, which allowed us to water five acres of newly-planted trees and shrubs. As Jim Hardie, our Park Manager says, it's a "wonderful system," and it carried us all the way from March through October without requiring us to call on the city water grid for irrigation at all.
We are now in an El Nino condition, according to the climatologists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which usually brings more rain than average to our region. But JPL's lead forecaster, Bill Patzert, recently warned that we shouldn't expect it to solve our drought problems.
"Wet or dry, we will still be rationing water next summer," he told The Orange County Register. "The drought is deep and there is no one big, wet winter fix.”
The California Department of Water Resources recently announced that they expect to deliver only 5% of the usual amount of water to southern California via their canals.
Hearing of drought and water stress troubles me to no end, because the same solution that works for us at TreePeople could work throughout Southern California.