Opinion: Thumbs up, thumbs down: January 22, 2014
It's time to start saving water
The numbers are historic. Record-setting. Terrifying.
Gov. Jerry Brown finally confirmed it: We're in a drought. But we didn't need the governor to tell us that. (We do need the additional funds and programs that official declaration enabled.)
In the past several issues of the Sun-Herald, reporter Brian Pearson has examined the impact of the lack of rainfall on various aspects of life in Colusa County: to cattle ranchers, to fire services, to agriculture, and in his issue, to the economy. We would love, for this week, to be the Colusa County Rain-Herald, but it is not to be. Seven-day forecasts call for sun, sun and more sun.
We've been through droughts before, of course. But this one seems different, doesn't it? Perhaps it's because weather patterns have become so much more extreme in the past few years. Hurricanes are stronger, floods are deeper, fires are larger and hotter — droughts are longer and drier. This might well be the new normal. Perhaps it's not likely that our annual rainfall will be equal to that of, say, the Sahara, but then again, who can say?
All of which is a long way of saying that we need to conserve water. It's not a new concept to Northern Californians, but with the sun blazing endlessly overhead, we need to be more aware of it. Do you need to wash your car this week, or can it wait? Does the lawn really need another drenching? Can you get a few more dishes into that sink?
Look, these are all trace amounts, individually. But they add up to a mindset, an awareness. Of all of the most precious commodities on Earth, none is more precious than water.
Especially when you don't have any.
Program lets new homeowners work off their mortgage
There are not so many things in life as satisfying as the purchase of a new home, especially the first one.
For far too many of us, though, that purchase is out of reach.
Enter the Community Housing Improvement Program.
As reported by Pearson in the Jan. 15 edition, participants in CHIP (not to be confused with "CHiPs," which reference we make just so you can hear that unforgettable theme as you read) put in the majority of labor to build their new homes — and as a reward, their labor becomes their down payments.
The program allows very low-income residents to have a chance to own their homes. Even better, it allows participants and their families to work together on each others' homes. Make a new place to live and new friends, all at the same time.
The program, based out of Chico, has helped more than 1,700 build new homes, said Jill Quezada, director of homeownership and counseling services for CHIP.
And it is always looking for more people to help.