Thursday, September 3, 2015

Draw Down: Lake Tulloch and Water as Subject Matter

Draw Down
12" x 16" acrylic and painted paper on wc paper
The title of the piece is taken from a term that is relatively new to me. "Drawdown" or "draw down" refers to several things but in the case above, it references the lowering of a body of water. Lake Tulloch , which is located southeast from where I live, is one of several reservoirs situated on the Stanislaus River. The water in the reservoir is owned by two different irrigation districts and serves the needs of people who have contracted for irrigation water. Additionally, the districts have to comply with federal laws regarding fish and other wildlife. It's quite complex as far as I can tell but the draw down occurs every year and serves to replenish water downstream and to fulfill contractual obligations. The wrinkle of course is that the reservoir is also a water supply for residents in and around Lake Tulloch. There are at least three different agencies with a hand in the reservoir's operation. 

What does this all have to do with the above piece of art? There has been a controversy surrounding the draw down date this year because of the drought. There has been talk of the date being earlier than expected in order to cool the water for the fish. The big concern though is that the lake would be drawn down below the intake pipe for the water supply. Our local water district is taking steps to possibly relocate those pipes but that doesn't happen overnight. It may not even be necessary. It's a pickle is all I can say. For my piece though I pictured before and after levels of water, as if that could be visible in a side-slice or section. I also pictured some gray/blue color possibly denoting pipes and some of the red/orange to represent the color of dirt around here. 

Anyway, the term and concept of manipulating water levels is fascinating to me. Honestly, I knew nothing about our water supply system here in the Western US until quite recently. Talk about complicated. Even learning the language of water distribution has been difficult. I used to live in an incredibly populated area in CA. We turned on the water and didn't give it a second thought. I had no idea that the water we so freely enjoyed came from the area in which I now live. In point of fact, it comes from much higher up, in the Sierras but is stored in a reservoir not more than 10 miles away from my current home. 

Everything connected with water allocation and distribution seems to be of interest to me, including the history of how water itself has shaped our life here in the west. The subject has been fueling my work this year in one way or another. It's really not anything I could have predicted.

OK, happy Thursday to anyone reading. Hope the week is going well.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting. One can really sense the impact this situation and subsequent information about it has influenced your art and thinking. Your passion comes through in your words and in the things you create.


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