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By Paul Bendix

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About this blog: A 32-year resident of Menlo Park, I regularly make my way around downtown in a wheelchair. This gives me an unusual perspective on a town in which I have spent almost half of my life. I was educated at UC Berkeley, and permanentl...  (More)

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Facing the Big Dry

Uploaded: Feb 9, 2014
I can see it coming and already resent it. Brown lawns. Saving rinse water in the shower. Wildfires in the news. Desert plants in the garden. Flushing the toilet less. Drought.

The spring rains provide a pleasant distraction, but a quick glance at the statewide reservoir levels tell the real story. It's going to be a long, hot summer. We are all going to change our suburban lifestyles, to varying degrees.

Apartment living probably makes this easier. For one thing, my lawn is tiny. As for arable land, consisting of two raised beds, I already have a plan. No spinach, which needs considerable water. Forget the lettuce too. But there's no giving up tomatoes, is there? That's why a neighborhood bucket brigade is already in place. I'll plant the tomatoes. People in adjoining apartments will schlep wastewater out to the raised beds. We have a plan.

We will all share the tomatoes, of course. And, who knows what else we may decide to share? If nothing else, the experience should take us beyond nodding acquaintance. After all, I have known some of my neighbors for years. Others I barely know at all. But there is strength in numbers, and whether it's drought or earthquake, being prepared means being prepared to cooperate.

As for the drought itself, although I may resent it, the whole experience seems destined to bring me down to earth. The dry earth. A reminder to one urban soul that water doesn't magically come out of a tap. And speaking of magic, drought is bound to inspire my high-tech neighbors to innovate.

In other words, I will grumble but get through it. I wonder how others in the area plan to approach the worst California drought on record.




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