A few days ago, a friend and I, just for fun, tried to coin a new bit of slang. He came up with the term “bloshing,” but after a quick check in at the Urban Dictionary, it turned out bloshing is already a term: it means a long, rambly blog post covering a variety of topics. Well, I don’t want to risk becoming a blosher myself, but I do find myself now thinking about slang and terminology in general.
Bottled Water – OK, we’re pretty sure you know what bottled water is. But did you know that the majority of the nation’s bottled water comes from California, and the drought hasn’t slowed their production? Next time you’re feeling thirsty, just turn the tap.
Mono Basin – This ancient formation was created when a caldera, or giant volcano, erupted long ago right outside of what’s now Yosemite National Park. As the lowest elevation around, the Mono Basin served as a terminus to all the streams created by seasonal snowmelt – which means the water of Mono Lake is particularly salty and alkali thanks to the minerals and sediment that comes rolling in.
Owens Valley – You’ve heard about Owens Lake, but there’s more to Owens than the lake. Once a thriving farming community, now Owens Valley is very dry. After all, the LADWP owns most of the land here, and they’re pumping it for all it’s worth.
Sierra Nevadas – These are the mountains that run the length of the state of California. Almost all of the state’s water comes from snowmelt on this chain – not only for the LA Aqueduct on the eastern side, but also for the California Aqueduct on the western side of the same mountains. We’d better keep hoping for snow on these puppies if we want to continue to have anything to drink.
Terminal Lake – Owens Lake (RIP) and Mono Lake share several similarities. They’re both terminal lakes, meaning once water reaches them, it doesn’t flow anywhere else. This, in turn, means that they collect large amounts of sediment, salt, and minerals from the rivers that flow into them, and that evaporation is necessary to keep the water level and chemical balance regulated. If you cut off some of their inflow (say, by diverting the streams that feed them), these lakes will face ecological disaster as nothing can balance out the evaporation that occurs, especially in particularly hot years like these last few.
Water Table – No, it’s not an alternate name for the nightstand where you keep a glass of water while you’re sleeping. If you start digging, anywhere on earth, eventually, if you go deep enough, you’ll hit water. In some places, you’d only have to go a few feet, while in other places you might have to drop miles before you hit the precious commodity. This level at which you hit water is known as the water table, and knowing the depth of your water table is necessary to know how deep to dig a well, how much damage would be done when pumping groundwater, or which plants and which root systems will flourish or fail in times of drought.
Anything we’ve missed? Are you feeling lost by our technical verbiage? If there are any more phrases you think need covered, share them in the comments.