Most of my days start the evening prior. After the sun has slipped below the ridge I venture back out into the garden and set the water for the morning. I turn on the pump by the pond and then go around turning on and off valves, moving sprinklers about, and set pressures on the drip tapes I want to come on in the morning. The sprinklers around the farmhouse come on each morning at 5am long before I even begin to think about getting out of bed. The sprinkler control box turns the pump on and water starts to flow to all of the irrigation system including the garden. And thus everything I set up last night is on and watering. Pretty boring stuff, huh?
Boring sure but vital. I’m always thinking about water -always. Constantly gauging the moisture of the soils in the different beds and the different areas of the gardens. I don’t think I ever stop thinking about it. And then there is the irrigation system itself. There is always a leak to fix, a broken pressure gauge, a split fitting, a new filter to add, a drip line to run to a new bed. And that is if the water is even flowing on to the property. First thing I do each morning is check the flow into the pond – do we have water today? If not I have to jump in the truck and go check all the various splitter boxes and headgates for clogs, unwarranted diversions, or unexplained dryness. What happened to the water??? Sh_t!
Water. Can’t grow food without it.
I used to be a biologist, an ecologist, an environmentalist, a 20 year old know-it-all intellectual idiot, a flyfisherman. I still fish. I used to get pissed off at all the irrigation water pulled out of the streams leaving them dry and dead. I still do but I see the other sides of it now as well. We still pull too much water out of the streams. We could use it all so much more efficiently and leave some for the fish, the birds, the insects, the rivers.
2o years ago before everything was connected via the Internet I worked on a baseline study of the health of the Dolores River. Our second trip of our second summer of looking at the river we caught two Colorado Squawfish ( now called the Pikeminnow) two miles up into the Dolores from the Colorado River. It was end of the day, getting dark, when Bill called our boss in Logan Utah to tell him the news. We went back to camp and slept. Very early the next morning we broke camp and drove over to Dove Creek and stopped in a diner for breakfast before first light. We sat down next to a table of local farmers. Guess what they were talking about – the Squawfish we caught the night before. The Pikeminnow is an endangered species and if it had ventured back into the Dolores then these farmers would very possibly loose their water to ensure in-stream flows to protect the fish. They were not happy at the prospect. I sat at the next table on another side of the world and listened to them voice their concern for their livelihood while we ate. I got up from that table a much wiser kid.
A neighbor of mine is the water commissioner. He described his job as trying to prevent people from killing each other over water.
Would I give up my water to save a native fish???? I don’t know.
What I do know is that it is all about water.