Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
For my birthday on Friday, we drove up to Lake Tahoe from our new digs in Cool — it’s just an hour on I-80 — and hiked into the Desolation Wilderness. Though that may sound depressing, especially for a middle-aged birthday boy, the DW is stunningly beautiful. It’s a different-looking, rugged terrain full of pines and raw granite, and the aromas out there are better than any drug I know of. We had to turn back when we came to an impassable creek rushing with cold snowmelt. That was okay with us. We ate lunch in a quiet pine grove and listened to the wind.
The troubling thing is that in early May, Tahoe should have looked more like the photo above than the photo below. There was hardly any snow on the peaks, and we came away with the sense that these are fraught times. A Timothy Egan op-ed in the Times today gets into the nitty gritty of it. Not good news.
Just the other day I learned too that our new neighborhood is served by a one-source water district, and that source is at 60% of capacity. Normally it would be overflowing now and sending the ice-cold water downstream. Instead it’s shrinking, both by unchecked usage and by evaporation. There’s no snow pack to fill it back up.
Once in a while we get these doomy wake-up calls. We have to slap ourselves and understand that this isn’t a drill. It’s real. California could run out of water. I can’t even imagine the consequences, and yet there are an awful lot of green lawns still around, a lot of gleaming cars, and a lot of perfectly groomed golf courses.
Our trip to Tahoe drove home that these really are “drying times.” And that us humans have a hard time facing facts. I’m not sure Egan’s ingenuity solution is going to cut it — at least not in time to avoid a California-sized disaster.