This Drought Is Hitting Home Literally for Me
This drought is deadly serious. Beyond the news? Climate change? It will impact us here in a more personal way. My wife is an exotic Orchid grower. Her collection is well above 1000 plants. To accommodate all this over many years we have added two 10x10 greenhouses and a 20 x 10 shade house to the backyard and ended the lawn back there. We also want to grow more vegetables and fruit. Beats inflation, and fresher is better right? But all that needs water.
The restrictions look to be so severe we will have to give up much more than the lawn if we are not careful. So to avoid a big cull or the inability to grow some of our own food at the same time we have to be smart about this.
These orchids do not grow in the ground, they grow in the notches of trees in the wild. What that means is they are potted with bits of bark, not soil. Or they are mounted on branch wood. So the normal watering method is sort of a rinse and repeat deal. A lot of the the water tends to pour back into the ground. It’s not fresh, but it’s hardly “Greywater” like from the laundry. What to call it? Let’s call it “Greenwater”.
So what we will do (among other things) is build a catchbasin system to capture the Greenwater from under the orchids. To prevent the spread of tiny critters or viruses among rare orchids, the water needs to go elsewhere. That’s the engineering part. How to efficiently catch and move that water. Plus to be honest, our budget for this is humble. I can’t just hire plumbers and engineers. So the answer(s) will be homegrown for better or worse. A microstudy of drought and horticulture.
(CNN)Against the backdrop of the water crisis in the Colorado River Basin, where the country’s largest reservoirs are plunging at an alarming rate, California’s two largest reservoirs — Shasta Lake and Lake Oroville — are facing a similar struggle.
Years of low rainfall and snowpack and more intense heat waves have fed directly to the state’s multiyear, unrelenting drought conditions, rapidly draining statewide reservoirs. And according to this week’s report from the US Drought Monitor, the two major reservoirs are at “critically low levels” at the point of the year when they should be the highest.
This week, Shasta Lake is only at 40% of its total capacity, the lowest it has ever been at the start of May since record-keeping began in 1977. Meanwhile, further south, Lake Oroville is at 55% of its capacity, which is 70% of where it should be around this time on average.