The way we manage water has largely been focused on quantity and quality. This has led to a scarcity mentality where we are faced with there not being “enough” water immediately available. When we step back and look at the way water moves throughout the planet-in large and small water cycles- we can begin to see that all the water there is, is still there.
While we can't control the weather, we can and do have dramatic impacts on our climate and environment. New science is showing that it is possible to attract water back into our landscapes and get ahead of catastrophic wildfires. When it comes to managing our lands and mitigating the impacts of weather, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
There is a new season in the west: fire season! We have always had wild fire in our landscapes but fires are now coming much earlier, burning hotter and often leaving catastrophic impacts. Like all living systems, it's not just one thing, but an interconnected and compounding set of environmental and social issues that are causing these fires to be so much worse than they were.
Snowpack was good in winter 2019/2020 so why did our rivers get low so early? The snow melted early and extraordinarily quickly this spring. This along with a combination of effects from a rapidly changing climate are colliding to cause dramatic shifts in how water interacts with our landscape.
Water is life. It is what makes life possible on Earth and here in the west we are very vulnerable to how much water we get or don't get. Our area is in what scientists call a “megadrought”; a period of drought that extends for over a decade. And this one is the longest on record.