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Thoughts on droughts
January 15, 2014, 05:00 AM By Dorothy Dimitre

“My biggest problem is what to do about all the things I can’t do anything about.” — Ashleigh Brilliant.

Reviewing the news on TV and in newspapers can provoke many comments and questions. On Jan. 9, this newspaper announced on the front page: “Driest year on record”! It’s not like we haven’t known for some time that the amount of precipitation in our rain gauges has been extremely scarce. And yet, up until now there has been very little concern expressed by those in charge of our California water supply. Seems like everyone we talk to lately wonders why there hasn’t been a plan for saving water put into effect. Plenty of graphs and charts appear in the newspaper and on TV that compare the rain amount of the last calendar year to other years and weathermen on TV lament more and more dry days ahead, yet I haven’t seen or heard anyone with authority requesting or requiring us to conserve water.

The first thing I saw in a newspaper about the possibility of water rationing was on Jan. 5 in an article about how Santa Cruz is preparing to take action. Then came the probe of the snow in the mountains to measure its depth and its water content. The results were abysmal — just 20 percent of average for this time of year. Yet we are all still sitting here waiting for the skies to open up and send us water.

When we look around and see the extremely dry hills, the withered plants, the drying streams and the unprecedented low water in reservoirs and even hear about wildfires in January, you’d think that those in charge of our water supply would have long ago put regulations in place to curb excess water usage — not just voluntary, as some suggest, but mandatory.

But not to worry! Help is here! The Jan. 8 Daily Journal told us: “Catholic bishops pray to relieve dry California.” We are informed that “The California Conference of Catholic Bishops asked people of all faiths to join in prayers for rain as reservoirs in the state dipped to historic lows after one of the driest calendar years on record.” Bishop Jaime Soto suggested a prayer for God to “open the heavens and let His mercy rain down upon our fields and mountains.” And, by golly, if we get some rain in the near future, they’ll believe God heard their pleas! And what will we be told if this doesn’t happen? That God is punishing us for our sins?

What is so disconcerting is that they think they are so holy and actually believe that there is some accommodating spirit up there listening. And if, by some quirk of fate, “the heavens should open up and pour down rain on the fields and mountains,” they’ll believe that they were successful in communicating with God and creating a miracle. A message to the bishops: It will take much more than faith to solve the problem. Preventive measures need to be taken — better late than never.

If I believed that praying would do the trick, I’d pray that the bishops would see the light and promote birth control so that the world could become less stressed by overpopulation and declining natural resources. Obviously, it doesn’t bother them that those who are not able to provide adequately for their children often add to a population that is poorly educated, on welfare, and often in trouble with the law. I’d pray that those guys who sit there in their ecclesiastical robes with their minds fixated on the very distant past and pontificate about such things like the horrors of birth control with apparently no concern for future consequences, would get their minds out of the stratosphere and come down to earth (Is it possible that the new pope may be able to bring about a bit of reason in this regard?).

Maybe it’s time that those bishops who live in their own fantasy world are seen for what they are — pious religious icons who hide behind their cloistered existence and feel they have fulfilled a religious duty by urging us to pray for rain. Maybe you’re thinking I should be humble and understanding of the bishops and their followers. Maybe you’ll email me and deride me for telling it like it is. Maybe I should pay more attention to Ashleigh Brilliant who also penned, “There’s little in this world that I can change, and, of that, very little wants to be changed.” Maybe it will rain again sometime.

Since 1984, Dorothy Dimitre has written more than 700 columns for various local newspapers. Her email address is



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