When the snowpack surveyors recently traveled to their usual spot to stick a pole through the snow, there was no white stuff to measure. None.
State officials renewed calls for voluntary water conservation to head off rationing after the annual May 1 survey found the Sierra snowpack at just 29 percent of normal statewide, the lowest since 1988.
Frank Gehrke and Dave Hart of the state Department of Water Resources didn't even bother to take their measuring devices out of their vehicle before they hiked out into a barren field near Highway 50 at Phillips Station, a roadside stop established in 1859 at the 6,800-foot level. [May snow reading just 29% of normal, San Francisco Chronicle 5/2/07]
If that isn't depressing enough, the population explosion barrels along as if there were no such thing as a limit to natural resources. It's like when you spend all your money, you are broke until more cash comes in from somewhere. Water is similar.
California is now home to nearly 38 million residents, all of whom consume lots of water, even the ones that don't shower daily.
The Department of Finance's demographics unit said California had nearly 37.7 million residents as of on Jan. 1, up by about 470,000 since the start of 2006. One of every eight Americans now lives in the state. [...]
But California's growth rate has been slowing since the start of the decade, when its population grew by nearly 2 percent. Last year, the state's population grew by almost 1.3 percent, senior demographer Linda Gage said. [California population nears 38 million, LA tops 4 million, San Francisco Chronicle 5/01/07]
It's small relief that California has creeped back from the earlier precipice of an annual growth rate of over 2 percent, which works out to a total population doubling time of just 35 years.
Fewer people want to live here because the quality of life is dropping like a rock. Worse traffic, crummy schools, more crowding and noise. It is a petrie dish of the diversity, er balkanization against which Teddy Roosevelt warned. Even some Mexicans find Red State America more to their liking, because of less crime and better opportunities than in Mexifornia.
Back to water, check out my favorite Yosemite cam to see that snow is limited to the mountain peaks and how little there is of it.