Monday, August 31, 2009
Fire and water in California
California’s on fire. Not all of California. Just the mountains in and around Los Angeles. Actually, during my recent visit there the entire region seemed primed for spontaneous combustion. By noon everyday of the trip, temperatures had cracked the century mark. Smoke rising from the parched, scrubby mountains and the haze it spread over the region contributed to the picture of a region badly in need of a steady 3-day drizzle.
Fittingly, I was visiting the Rain Bird Corp. headquarters to help judge the company’s Intelligent Use of Water Film Competition. Seven of us viewed more than 40 submissions. Each short film (the longest was 10 minutes) delivered a water conservation message. The films were vastly different in tone and voice — from the profound, to the cleverly creative to the “what were they thinking?” variety. The day flew by, and we picked the finalists who will be feted at a special ceremony by the international irrigation product supplier at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, Sept. 23.
Rain Bird’s headquarters are in Azusa, a community of 45,000 at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains. The first of the several recent wildfires started on the mountain just above the company’s headquarters. I didn't read it as a sign from Above or anything but the fire erupted the day following our IUOW judging.
The next several days I traveled the busy freeways and met with the owners and managers of landscape companies in the valley communities east of Los Angeles. To the person they predict yet-higher water/energy costs and, if the state’s withering 2-year drought doesn’t end soon, tighter landscape water use restrictions. The availability of water for landscape irrigation ranks only behind the state of the general economy as the biggest challenge facing the state’s Green Industry, they say.
Will water take on that same measure of significance for the Green Industry across the rest of the nation, as well?
Hey, California, for better or worse, is our nation's pacesetter state. What first happens there often migrates to the rest of the country. Read what water means for the Green Industry in California and possibly for your region in a special report in the October issue of Landscape Management. — Ron Hall