A Quick Opinion: It wasn’t a bad rainfall year, but we could use a lot more

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A Winters Express opinion column

By Charley Wallace
Publisher Emeritus

Winters’ average rainfall is close to 21 inches per year. Our rainfall year is from July 1 through June 30 each year. According to Joe the Weatherman, we had 18.51 inches of rain last year. Most of our rain came early and I had high hopes that we could break 30 inches, but no such luck.

Lake Berryessa is holding its own and has enough water to last for a couple of years. Hopefully we will get a couple of above average years, a few good downpours and fill up our lake. Folsom Lake has above average capacity for this time of the year and the state is planning on selling some of the extra water to Southern California. This is at the same time they are telling everyone to conserve water and let their lawns turn brown. I guess people in Southern California need water, too. I just hope that they are paying full price for the water.

I’ve mentioned it before but half of our water ends up in the ocean, 40 percent is used in agriculture and 10 percent is used by people, mostly to water their lawns. We can conserve all we want but we can’t solve the drought problem by ourselves. Farmers have done a great job of growing more crops on more acres while using less water. The word “drip” comes to mind.

I like contests and have been running a rainfall contest for many years. Taylor has been good enough to continue to put up the $100 prize, $125 if they are a subscriber. Some years I don’t get many entries, but last year I had enough to make me happy. I’ll admit the Barth family, added to the pile.

The low pick was 11.56 inches and I’ll withhold Herb’s name to protect him from his neighbors on Putah Creek Road. The high pick was an optimistic farmer named Tirzah Barth, 37.34 inches. I’ve noticed that most farmers that enter the contest guess high.

Stan, Tobin and Todd Barth, 19.2, 19.91 and 21.6 were closer to our average rainfall, but who know how much falls north of Esparto. There were lots of guesses in the 19 to 20 inch range. Peter Hagy was close with 19.3 as was Larry Dickson at 19.37.

There were two winners this year with John “Cedar” Seeger and Leslie Barth both writing down 18.25 inches. They will split the $125 first prize and I’m still working on getting a bottle of wine or a gift card for the runners up, Stan, Larry and Peter. Maybe one of the wine sommeliers or a local restaurant manager reads my column.

I’m not sure when this year’s rainfall contest will start, usually after the first measurable rain. I just have to get Taylor to reach into his wallet, again. Give it a try, you have nothing to lose but your pride and everything to gain.
Getting people to pay attention to our rainfall might even help everyone plan for the future if the drought continues.

Have a good week.

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