Water Stops Flowing
California is in its third year of lower-than-expected snowpack and rain totals. Please notice I did not say 'lower than normal', as California has been in what seems to be a historically wetter than normal cycle for the last 50 years. One of the first non-Spanish settlers in this area was John Marsh, who reported on the weather around 1850 as being 'so dry that many of the cattle have died of thirst' when the springs dried up.
Discounting the Coastal Range and the Sierra Nevada mountains, California is mostly semi-arid land only reclaimed through amazing irrigation improvements, innovations and modern dams. Speaking of dams, there has not been a dam built in this state since the 1970s, yet the population and need for water have both steadily grown. This brings me to reviewing some information about knowing your surroundings that I first posted last year.
You can live for 3 minutes without air, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food.Since running out of air is not likely, the second part of the quote is what needs to be a priority for me now. From last year:
"If you don't know the land in the area you live in now, look for a Forest Service map, Regional Parks or USGS topographical map. With a good map and Google Earth, the obvious lakes, ponds, streams and pools are fairly easy to plot. But there's one thing left to do - you still need to verify if there is public access to these waterways, or if stealthy means need to be used. Natural sources need to be checked for year-round reliability and the only way to do that is use your Mk. One, Mod. One eyeball.
I was able to find the spring that fed the creek that used to flow through this neighborhood by following the concrete channel to the local park and then looking for the storm drain that catches the flow. I'm about half a mile from a reliable year-round source of water, not counting swimming pools. With what I mapped in my old area, I've got 2 springs, 3 creeks, and several ponds and reservoirs within 5 miles."Last weekend I went to re-survey the springs and related ponds in my area, and I was not happy with what I found:
- Flows that should have been steady and pretty fast were about what I saw last year in the middle of summer.
- One spring that feeds "Concealed Lake" is way under the flow I'd seen in past years. This is a source of water in my Worst Case plans, even with it being on the fringe of my supply area.
- There are still 3 more spots much closer that need to be revisited, but with all of them on well-posted property, a bit more care needs to be taken to get in and out safely.
- As all of these sites back up to state or regional park land, there is 'plausible deniability' as to being a lost hiker looking to get off the hills and to town. The bad thing is, this can only be done once.
So wherever you are:
- Confirm your water sources for year round supply.
- Have a backup plan if something fails.
- Don't forget to have a plan in the first place!
As always, if you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!
NOTE: All items tested were purchased by me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.