Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Carrying a tough message

What happens when you, the messenger, are tasked with delivering a message that no one can grasp? It's a message that instantly creates doubt and suspicion.

Stick to your message, right?

Kudos to scientists and others who kept insisting that California is not out of a drought, not just yet.

When the "left coast" was battered by storms in October, November and December and the snowpack - California's natural water reservoir - was 200 percent of normal, everyone figured the drought was over. Man-made reservoirs were filling, some were overflowing.

With these visual images, it was hard to tell the public that...well...we're not out of the woods, yet.

If you have lived in California for a few decades, you know the weather can change. As a skier, I have experienced many seasons when the skiing was great in December and..then...bam, it was lousy for the rest of winter. Sigh. I'm watching the snow slowly recede from the San Gabriel Mountains.

State water officials are cautious ones. And, in a message they repeat often, one period of heavy rain does not mean an end to the drought.

So, as state officials prepare to sample our snowpack Friday, their cautionary tale about a "change in the weather" could mean we still have limited water supplies may just prove to be true.

When "critics" clamored for a declaration that California's drought was over, state officials and scientists instead were bold - they stuck to the message.

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