As the drought continues, Idyllwild will suffer increasingly severe water shortages. The many policies regarding water conservation are sound and should be continued: eliminating outdoor landscape watering, and low-water-use toilets, showers, appliances etc. But we need to address increasing our available supply. In any winter storm, most of the water drains out of our community down Strawberry Creek. Since most of our water comes from wells, it is essential that we try to capture and hold more of our rain water.

Some ideas are: Remove the berms that have developed along Fern Valley Road, John Muir Road, South Circle Drive, Highway 243 and elsewhere in the up-slope area of Idyllwild; let the storm water drain off the roads into the forest.

Today, too much water dumps directly into Strawberry Creek. The downtown area needs attention. Think how much water drains off the Village Center parking lot and is wasted; it should be caught and allowed to soak into the ground.

Many cities in Riverside County have strict rules regarding parking lots and even drainage from roofs to capture the storm water and hold it on the property to seep into the ground, keeping it out of the storm-drain system.

The water flow in small seasonal and occasional (when a storm hits) streams could be restricted. It would be easy to create small dam retention areas with a scoop or two of rocks or a few logs. Anything that can slow the water flow will help.

Open meadow areas such as the one near Fern Valley Road and South Circle Drive could be purchased by the water districts and developed into soak ponds — nothing deep or dangerous but enough to hold the water until it soaks into the ground. There are likely many such plots of land that could serve this way.

Individual residential driveways should be modified to direct as much as possible into the open forest. Where possible, gavel or porous paving should be used (required). Drain water from house roofs needs to be directly away from the streets.

Perhaps abandoned septic tanks and leach fields could be adapted to accept and hold storm water.

Byron Edwards