New methods emerging for water management in California

by Elsa Cailleach

Some of you might have noticed it’s been rainy outside lately – alot! Amazingly, the long-desired string of atmospheric rivers is now plaguing the previously drought-ridden state with more water than anyone knows what to do with! This blog reports on some interesting new methods of water capture and management emerging in California this spring. 

First, some reservoir managers are apparently investing in large amounts of buckets to capture as much of the rainfall as possible. The buckets are stored anywhere the water and buckets will fit. Places such as home offices, meeting rooms, attics – you name it! This way, when the summer heats up and water starts evaporating, managers can simply start refilling reservoirs with the buckets. The idea seems to be gaining traction statewide – all buckets available on Amazon are being quickly gobbled up by California water managers to satisfy intense demand. 

Managers have also been eying something a bit more ‘icy’ at higher elevations. Record snowfall is causing the extremely rare occurrence of a cool-freeze off that kick-started the process of new glacier creation in the Sierra Mountains. The new ice pack will be perfect for enhancing water security in a state so frequently impacted by drought. It will simultaneously allow for novel glacier farming businesses, which may vault California to become the third largest economy in the world!

Locations of new glaciers forming to be used for glacial farming.

The idea came about when a hungry manager, late for their lunch, overheard a colleague talking about desertification but instead heard dessertfication and could only envision the Sierras covered in delicious ice cream. This caused the managers to freeze and shift their frosty gazes to the mountains to think about how to best use all this snow to our advantage. After some cold hard calculations, glacial farming was created.

So what precisely is glacial farming? Amazingly enough, it begins with a snowbank seed and grows into snowballs, which from there creates large beds of glaciers ripe for the taking. Once there is enough glacier available to farm, managers can come and fill up their tanks with the glacial ice. The long drive away from the mountain allows the ice to melt naturally, so there is plenty of fresh, cool water for when they arrive at their destination. Literally, causing our problems to melt away for the foreseeable future. 

Not everyone was on board with this new form of glacial farming, and generally had an icy attitude towards it. Decision makers held a regular series of Microsoft Teams meetings on how best to market glacial farming successfully to skeptical naysayers, but wound up with an avalanche of ideas. Riffing off the successful Smokey the Bear campaign of the 1980s, one water district ultimately enlisted the help of Frosty the Snowman as a mascot to help break the ice with the message that ice is core to the water future of California.

We are now entering the age of ice farming.

“Elsa Cailleach” is a water manager and glacier farmer from Temecula.

More snow being created to continue creating glaciers.

Further reading:

This drought is dead – long live the drought

Exotic animals deployed as Delta ‘weed whackers’

Parr for the course – holistic fish conservation

Water managers drop the ball on Hetch Hetchy

About Andrew Rypel

Andrew L. Rypel is a Professor and the Peter B. Moyle and California Trout Chair of coldwater fish ecology at the University of California, Davis. He is a faculty member in the Department of Wildlife, Fish & Conservation Biology and Director of the Center for Watershed Sciences.
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4 Responses to New methods emerging for water management in California

  1. Paul Robins says:

    Surely Dr. Victor Fries has been consulted on this? I’d hate to see this information fall into the wrong hands.

  2. Jeff says:

    You should publish this in California Ag Today. I’m sure there are fish in that pond that would take this bait hook, line and bucket.

  3. Linda says:

    It took me a little while…., but thanks for the post on this sunny first of the month day.

  4. Celeste Cantú says:

    This is the best one yet. I can’t wait until next year.

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