Expert Contribution

Was the Drought Ever Over?

Statistically, February was the driest month for rainfall since 1864. Yes, read that again, 1864! And, so far, early March has had no measurable rain as of this writing. There have been some forecasts for rain in the middle of March, but will that be enough? As you know, most of our water source comes from the snowpack in the Sierra Mountains as it melts into the watershed and into our water reservoirs. While most reservoirs indicate near capacity, the amount of water content in the limited snowpack is sending ripples of concern throughout many water districts in Northern California. This lack of rain has happened much too soon after a prolonged drought of many years, and gives wonder to surmise if our drought was ever over.

There are many counties in central California where “pre-drought” conditions have already been declared. In other surrounding sections of California, a “Dry Area” condition has been declared in which Contra Costa County is one of those counties affected by the limited rainfall. 

Well, what does that mean? Looking at the State Drought Portal, these are the mandated conditions if located in a D1 declared drought area, in which Blackhawk is located. 

D1- Moderate Drought

  1. Some damage to crops and pastures
  2. Some Water Shortages and allocation to neighborhoods
  3. Voluntary water-use restrictions requested 

Does this mean we are back to the severe drought restrictions of 2015-2016? No, but we are in between the severe and the no drought. Here are some considerations you might embrace in getting ready for Spring while keeping water savings in mind:

  1. Replacing your lawn areas with a high-quality artificial lawn. While it might seem expensive initially, the cost of watering a real grass lawn might exceed the cost of replacement over a year or two. Plus, you no longer need a weekly gardening service, hence an additional savings.
  2. Look over your landscaping and look at drought tolerant plants that could replace your current shrubs and plants.
  3. Review your automatic sprinkler system to determine the most water saving settings. Look at the timing and length of settings for each station. If you replace your rear lawn you can eliminate all of those settings entirely!
  4. Eliminate any excessive water use, ie: washing your driveway, washing your car, power washing pathways, etc.

Any or all of the above suggestions could help in sustaining our natural resource and provide the necessary water to our community. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me. I will happily come to your home to review your current outside water usage and see where you can help. Thank you, Linda Kralik, 925.998.9446


By Linda Kralik, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services/ Drysdale Properties, Resident since 1984