The fast-moving storms that moved through Central California on Wednesday night and Friday morning dumped one to two inches of rain in the foothills and one to two feet of snow in the higher elevations. It was the season’s first system that resembled a bona fide winter storm.
The .63 inches that was recorded in Three Rivers during the 24 hours from Wednesday to Thursday (Feb. 26-27) brought the season total to 3.93 inches. The previous lowest March 1 total in the last 10 years occurred in 2009 and that was 5.97 inches.
In the last cycle of major drought, the season totals were 8.50 inches in 1976-77; 10.22 inches in 1971-72; and 11.75 inches in 1975-76.
If you did a rain dance or prayed for the wet stuff, keep it up; more is needed. More especially in the form of snowfall that will help sustain the current acreage that Valley farmers have in production.
The recent storms replenished the groundwater a bit in Three Rivers and that bodes well, especially for the more than a dozen water associations, some that depend on historic (old) wells and river water.
It also means that sprinklers can be shut off for a few days and that saves untold gallons. The typical household uses more than 50 percent of its water outside.
Contrast that with the requirements of agriculture. Cattle outfits are now just getting a scattering of grass in the pasture so they’ve been on supplemental feed for the entire season.
Beef might be what’s for dinner but it’s already costing the consumer more. Depending on what the farmer is farming, an acre of crops needs two to seven times more water than an acre of houses.
The monthly Town Hall meeting at the Three Rivers Memorial Building, scheduled for Monday, March 3, will discuss local drought-related water topics from several sectors.
On Tuesday, March 4, at St. Anthony Retreat, a representative of the Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency will discuss the new regulatory policies of the California Department of Public Health that will assume control of Tulare County’s community water systems (more than 14 users) effective July 1, 2014.
Both meetings are open to the public. For Town Hall information: 561-3204. For the St. Anthony Retreat meeting: 561-4595.