SAN DIEGO, CA. The weather reports for the next few days and week are ominous: wind, rain, hail, and even snow in the local mountains. In other words, a harsh winter storm. There are predictions of from 1 to 3 inches of rain at the coast over the next half week or so, as the rain is supposed to get torrential next Monday through Wednesday.
So what does that mean for us in San Diego? Remember, we still live in a desert.
Actually, it doesn’t mean much for most of us, living here as we do in paradise. No one, not our local governmental leaders, not our mayor, our city councilmember, not our civic, religious, or community leaders, have prepared us for what to do. But that is going to change.
It’s about to rain buckets, so, I say, get out the buckets, the barrels, get out anything you can to capture rain water in. Why?
Except for what falls directly over our few reservoirs, San Diego and the rest of Southern California – also in the desert – does not capture any rainwater when it pours. 99.9% of the Great Victoria Waterfall that is about to burst over our collective noggins in the next few days will end up in the ocean. Some, yes, will be absorbed by the land. But, by far, most of the H2O, will simply become run-off and spill into the few streams and rivers that end up in our bays and the Pacific.
We refuse to capture our rainwater and we live in a desert. Amazing.
Beginning this storm, let’s do it differently, and get out the buckets, the barrels, and storage containers. We can then use the captured water for our plants, gardening, landscaping, golf courses, parks, wash down our vehicles. From now on, we must capture the rainwater.
Not being a rocket scientist, I came upon this idea after the last big storm, a couple of weeks ago. It rained buckets then, too. I have a rain gauge affixed to my backyard fence. After that wet 48 hours, it measured 2 and 1/4 inches. That’s a lot.
Then I discovered, that inadvertently, an empty plastic storage container – you know, the kind they sell at the big stores right after Christmas so you can store all the stuff you just got – which had a cut through the lid, had filled up with rainwater. Wow. An entire container with, relatively fresh, clean water. I then used it to water my garden beds, flowers, and cacti in the backyard. The lid had kept out all the insects and dirt.
I was speaking to a good friend who just returned from a visit to the Virgin Islands. If you’ve never been there, you may not know that, essentially, they’re desert islands, with very little water. You know what they do? Every house has rain gutters. When it rains there, it pours, but it only rains heavily during just 3 months of the year. So, they collect and capture their rainwater. The rain gutters run through filters and then into cisterns that safely house the water. Most of the cisterns are below the ground. But they capture their rainwater. You know why? Because they live on desert islands.
We live in a desert. Capture the rainwater.