It’s hard to believe that we are just now starting what is traditionally our ‘fire season’ here in San Marcos. After what we experienced with the fires in May, it is easy to think, ‘We are done’…’We had our disaster’…’We are safe’.
But are we? Will we experience more Santa Ana conditions in the coming weeks? Probably. Will we experience more wildfire threats? Maybe.
It feels like this entire year has been ‘fire season’ here in California. For most of California, 2013 was the driest year in recorded history. And, 2014 isn’t looking much better – so far.
If you’ve lived here any length of time, you’ve experienced drought conditions before, but it seems that conditions like these haven’t been seen before in California’s recorded history – which is a bit unnerving, especially at this time of year.
Water. It is one of our most precious resources. And yet, it is so easy to take for granted because it shows up every time you turn on the faucet.
But, let’s be honest. How many times have you not realized a sprinkler head was broken and wondered how long it had been watering your neighbor’s car or the sidewalk? How many times have you left the water running waiting for it to warm up? How much does your water bill increase at this time of year just to keep your landscape looking decent?
The cool thing about water is that it connects all of us. As a community, it truly is one of our most shared resources. We all pay for it. We all use it. We all benefit from it.
And, if our access to it shrinks, it shrinks for all of us.
In August, Vallecitos Water District Board of Directors unanimously voted to move to a Level 2 Drought Alert. This means mandatory water-use restrictions for all Vallecitos customers for the foreseeable future. This will help San Diego County keep as much water as possible in storage for 2015.
What does that mean for you and me as residents?
Well, first of all, it means we all work together to raise water awareness – to value our water just a little bit more. It also means we start to spread the word to others and to report water waste when necessary. And, it means it’s time for each of us to get a little smarter about conservation.
The good news is that we have access to many conservation programs and resources here in San Marcos, so it’s easy to get educated and to have an impact.
The Cocos Fire helped all of us see what ‘proactive preparedness’ can mean in a natural disaster. We witnessed a well-executed plan and became much more aware of what goes on behind-the-scenes here in our community.
At the community Thank You event hosted by the City of San Marcos after the Cocos Fire, it was fascinating to hear how resources were gathered and distributed – especially water – and how the response to the fires began long before the first flame even sparked.
As soon as the Santa Ana conditions were forecasted, Vallecitos Water District began to fill all of their tanks and reservoirs to capacity. It’s one of many precautionary procedures that goes on behind-the-scenes that most of us take for granted.
What we as residents learned from the fires was: the importance of creating a defensible space around our homes, having an evacuation plan, and why we should listen to authorities during a disaster and get out of their way so they can implement their defense without obstacles.
The question is – will we do the same when it comes to water?
It’s such a simple task to preserve water, if we all just do a little bit. If we each comply with the mandatory restrictions, if we help report water waste, and if we get a little smarter about sustainability – we just might get to witness a well-executed response to a serious threat in our water supply. And, we just might be one of a few cities in California to rise to the top as an inspiration to the rest of the state in how a community can come together to preserve and to SHARE resources.
Are you in?
Let’s make San Marcos not only home to an amazing school district and vast array of educational resources, not just a City with a fantastic fire and safety response system, but also a proactive, well-informed population that cares not only for today, but for the future. To be recognized as a diverse community willing to work together to protect our most valued resources, improve our sustainability, and leave a positive footprint for the next generation.
A lot of it has already started – all you have to do is jump in!