We understand the necessity for caution, but it’s unfortunate we can’t simply celebrate a great water year.

“California cities and farms can expect ample water supplies this summer,” said Department of Water Resources Director Karla Nemeth in a recent story. “But it’s critical that it’s put to use replenishing groundwater basins and storage reservoirs for the next inevitable drought.”

There you go. Build us up, then throw in the “next inevitable drought” as a warning ... don’t overwater your lawn, don’t take long showers, don’t let the water run while you brush your teeth, don’t waste a drop. Because there will, inevitably, be a drought.

Remember the pictures from previous years, when the state did their monthly snow surveys east of here? The pictures where they were walking on bare ground? Compare those photos to this year’s last snow survey, where the crew was treading over several feet of snow ... enough that, as long as high elevation temperatures don’t get too warm for too long, there should be plenty of water trickling into the water systems through the summer.

Californians are likely to get it. It was just a couple of years ago that districts were challenged to reduce consumption. We all watched usage. We had restrictions on watering. Water utility employees patrolled neighborhoods. We had news stories about how much water the rich and famous used for their estates; and how much water it took to grow one single almond ... 

Various entities prepared for battle – irrigators vs. environmentalists vs. consumers, etc.

Drought will return to California ... it always does sooner or later. And with global warming, it’s a greater concern and a greater and greater challenge.

But this year? The water is good. Go ahead. Have a deep breath and a tall, cool glass of water.

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Unfortunately, there’s another stark reality that goes with having a good water year. They’re sometimes followed by bad fire seasons. And lord, we’ve had enough of that.

We get happy over rains late into the spring and then enjoy the countryside – green and lush. Extra lush.

And then, a couple of months later, after some wind and hot temperatures, the lush, wild grasses turn into tinder.

This year, especially, it seems. It was a good water year. So property owners are urged to cut down and take care of growths of fire fuels. 

“Anything we can do to reduce the fuel load to lessen the intensity of potential fire is really important,” said Linda Fire Chief Rich Webb in a recent story. His department actively involves itself in weed (grass) abatement.

Notices are sent out to property owners with excessive fuels; they have till mid-June to cut back tall grasses. After that, contractors do it and owners are billed.

Why wait? We’ve already had high temperatures and wind and the threat of lightning. Start making arrangements to mitigate the fire fuels. And for the rest of us? Let’s remember to be careful out there in the wildlands this year.

Our View editorials represent the opinion of the Appeal-Democrat and its editorial board and are edited by the publisher and/or editor. Members of the editorial board include: Publisher Glenn Stifflemire and Editor Steve Miller.

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