Los Padres


Words: Garrett Leight
Photos: Ethan Lovell

When we packed the Winnebago and headed to the Sespe River in Los Padres National Forest for some good old fashion rock jumping, I had no idea that I’d end up writing a story about California’s water drought. What once was a magical hike through running water streams that led to a glorious watering hole with ten, twenty, and even fifty foot jumps has been reduced to a possibly amoeba infested three foot deep kiddie pool. I was hoping I was going to relive one of the greatest days of my life from the summer of 2010, but a lot can happen in six years.

The drought is real. This was my first encounter with its reality. At least one that ruined my day. And although the California water drought has been well documented, I don’t think enough Californians take it seriously. Sure there are regulations on water pressure and it’s created a general awareness, but the majority of us don’t really care. I’ve been guilty on many occasions. That attitude tends to be part of the Los Angeles ethos. There’s nothing we take for granted more than nature. So more important than my failed attempt at partnering with Coldsmoke apparel for a nice little summer day in the sun with friends, I think it’s more valuable to provide some important information to help better understand and improve California’s water situation. Hopefully I can be part of the solution, and not the problem.


● California’s current drought is the driest period in the state’s 163 years of recorded rainfall history.

● The drought currently encompasses over 98% of the state of California, with more than 44% in “exceptional”

● In some areas of the Central Valley, the land is sinking by one foot or more per year.

● Some parts of the Sierra Nevada that typically have around 66” of snowpack right now are barren.

● This year’s wildfire season will extend for the entire year.

● California grows 43% of the nation’s fruits, nuts, and vegetables and more than 90% of its almonds,
grapes, and broccoli.

● The drought is expected to cost $2.2 billion with over 17,000 jobs lost.

● It will take about 11 trillion gallons of water — around 1.5 times the largest US reservoir — to recover from California’s continuing drought.


● Why do you need bottled water? Don’t do it. Get a Brita.

● It won't kill you to do the dishes in lukewarm water; pretend you're glamping.

● Toss excess water on your lawn. Even if it’s an ice cube. Or don’t have a lawn.

● Run your dishwasher only when it’s full. We know you wait for your maid to do it anyway.

● Same thing goes for washing clothes. You don’t need to wear that one shirt that bad.

● Turn the shower on when you’re ready to get in the shower, and only then.

● If you need more than three minutes in the shower, you’re kind of a jerk at this point.

● Don't let the water run while you're shaving, even though beards are still in style.

● Don't flush the toilet just to throw away stuff like tissues. Not a hard one.

● Don't wash your car in the driveway. Nothing wrong with a dirty car. Wash it once every three months.