Not so Subtle Differences

I mentioned earlier that there are many differences between life in Moline and life in Oakland. One major difference is water. California is in the arid half of the US and Illinois is in the wet half. There may be shortages of things like fantastic bread or great ethnic restaurants in the midwest, but there is no shortage of water. It rains (or snows) here in Moline all year long. Generally the climate in Oakland is dry in the summer and wet in the winter. Unless there’s a drought, in which case, Oakland (and most of the West) is dry all year.

The Associated Press recently reported that the California Department of Water Resources is planning to deliver only 5% of the water requested by its various contractors. The state is facing a fourth year of drought, and there just isn’t enough water. We had low-flow shower heads on our showers in Moline—having grown up in California, I just couldn’t stand to pour so much clean water down the drain, even if we had plenty. The shower head in our apartment is not a low flow device, so I’m planning to replace it as soon as I get back.

Much has been said nationally about California’s economic woes. I’m not as sure about a national awareness about the water situation. Continued drought could slow the economic recovery out west. California industry and agriculture is heavily dependent on water. Without sufficient natural resources to satisfy industrial demand, the state’s economy may continue to falter. On the domestic level, Americans are accustomed to believing that turning on the tap in the kitchen guarantees a steady stream of clean, refreshing water. I wonder if our water needs and expectations can be met with the 5% that the Department of Water Resources is planning to deliver.

Thursday December 3, 2009 — Mark —