My home town of Los Altos, California, received only a trace of rain (.05 inches) in October, as California’s 4-year-old drought continues. We’ve received only 4.32 inches of rain in 2015, and most (2.45 inches) of that fell in one month. Our rainfall since January 2013 has been very sporadic, a problem because people, agriculture and wildlife need consistent water. Urban water users continue to conserve water.
The featured image above shows the red berries of the toyon, heteromeles arbutifolia, a California native plant. We use this drought-tolerant, evergreen shrub as a screen near a coast live oak. Planted 9 years ago, they’re 7′ tall and 4-6′ wide.
Our rainfall has been sketchy. In the 34 months since January 2013, more rain fell in three months (13.74 inches) than in the remaining 27 months (9.26 inches). One month (December 2014) had 8.53 inches of rain, more than a third of all the rainfall during the past 34 months. Our significant rain occurs when an atmospheric river of moisture flows over California, but this hasn’t happened much. This high variation of rainfall tends to produce droughts and floods. But people, agriculture, flora, and fauna need consistent water.
The past three months have had above-normal daytime temperatures. The trend of above-normal overnight temperatures continued, and October’s average low temperature was 11 degrees above normal, equal to the difference last December. The Pacific Ocean off California has record warm temperatures.
Urban Water Conservation Continues
Our local water consumers continue to conserve more water (37.6% for June-September 2015) than required (32% for our area) to meet the governor’s state-wide 25% conservation mandate. State urban water customers used 26% less water than in 2014.