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The “D-Word” Parches The Numbers

Drought comes to The Numbers.

If you’ve ever been without water for any length of time you know what lengths people will go to get it. That’s why it’s so hard to see so much of it wasted.

As a life-long Bear Flagger – and having wrung out a crusty old t-shirt for water after nearly four days without it – I appreciate what drought means to this state and to my neighbors. I’ve pulled up my lawns, put in a water reclamation system, tried to lead when it came to showing others about the uses of grey water, endured the scorn and endlessly open taps in hope of driving home the message – we won’t always have it.

We’re spoiled. For years, we’ve had the best water you can have and plenty of it. A recent chance conversation with the crew at Patxi’s restaurant in Lafayette reminded us just how good we have it when bar talk spun around to the merits or our drinking water, which the well-travelled workers at Patxi’s said was the best in the country – along with Manhattan’s, of all places.

“People here don’t know what they have,” one guy said. “I lived in L.A. for awhile and you can set the water down there on fire.”


It can be tough for us water worshippers to see it discarded so casually. We’ve caught ourselves washing dishes with a pitcher in the sink to catch the excess and trying to place said basin under the stream of the casually jettisoned contents of a teenager’s water glass. Funny how certain things stay with you. But there it is.

Right: Headline From The Drought of 1977

And now we’re back to the Days of 1977, when we took “military” showers and tried not to step in the bucket we kept for grey water, when trips to the bathroom were things you had to pre-plan and execute with care. When there were bricks in the toilet tank.

We’ve made a little progress on keeping our water since then, with lo-flow restrictors and more efficient plumbing, but it will be interesting to see how The Numbers reacts to this latest water crisis. It has been our experience that some folks take it seriously and do what they can to conserve while still others are content to open the spigots in the mistaken belief that it will be here and available to us forever.

Where do you come down on the topic and what, if any, steps have you taken to prepare for this day?

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