Columns » Ranger Rich

Colorado Springs' shadow of drought

Ranger Rich



I am standing over my desk, looking down at a map from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. The middle, from South Dakota to Texas and west to parts of Colorado, is covered in bright red blotches, indicating:

a) Those areas are in extreme or exceptional drought, forcing cities and towns, including our village, to implement strict water-use regulations.

b) America's heartland is still embarrassed after voting for Mitt Romney.

c) I gave an honest answer to my wife's question about whether her new jeans make her butt look big ("Not any more than usual, my honey muffin!"), took a heavy and unexpected blow to the nose from a lemonade pitcher as a reward for being so stupid, and am now bleeding profusely.

d) Mayor Steve Bach is an arrogant dimwit who is ruining our village.

The correct answer, of course, is A. (D is unrelated in any way to the drought/map question, but I enjoyed writing it.)

Anyway, today we will talk about the drought and this year's water restrictions for our town and how the Broadmoor, where Mayor Bach likes to play golf, will continue to flood its courses and have a rice-growing contest.

Actually, after a controversy during our drought a decade ago, when the Broadmoor used millions of gallons of drinking-quality water in a secret deal with the city, it now uses only non-potable water for its courses — and, we hope, for Mayor Bach's drinks.

Here's the latest from scientists and climatologists of the NOAA and National Weather Service: "Persistence is expected for much of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona due to low snow-water equivalent values (around 75% of normal) and below average streamflows forecast for the spring and early summer."

Translation: Our long drought is likely to continue barring the intervention of Jesus himself, who is, sadly, tied up with more important things such as trying to get the new, rich, anorexic-looking Sarah Palin to eat a sandwich.

Here you may be wondering, "So, Ray, how do these science and weather people come up with this information?" From the NOAA and NWS report:

"Tools used in the U.S. Drought Outlook (USDO) included the official CPC temperature and precipitation outlooks for April 2013 and April through June 2013 ... models such as the 5-day and experimental 7-day WPC precipitation totals ... the NAEFS precipitation outlooks, the soil moisture tools based on the Constructed Analog on Soil (CAS) moisture ..."

As I understand it, when all that fails, the head climatologist, Roger, sticks a finger into the fur of Luke the NOAA Science Squirrel to determine its thickness and thus the chances of cold and rainy weather.

What's it all mean here in Possum Hollow? Well, as of this past Monday, residential customers with even-numbered addresses may water only on Wednesdays and Sundays. Odd-numbered addresses get Tuesdays and Saturdays.

How about car washing? Well, you can do it in your driveway on your designated watering days and also on Saturday and Sunday, but you are required to use a bucket and have a shut-off nozzle on your hose.

However, as older people such as Mayor Bach have likely already discovered, sometimes the shut-off nozzle on your hose doesn't work like it used to.

Rich Tosches ( also writes a Sunday column in the Denver Post.

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