Water use needs better tracking

The state of California earns a great big doas-I-say-not-as-I-do-brickbat for shoddy tracking of water consumption during a major drought. State agencies should be leading the effort to comply with Gov. Jerry Brown’s request for an across-the-board 20 percent decrease in water use. Yet an Associated Press survey found that only four of 11 state agencies it contacted were able to provide water consumption figures for last year, even though they were ordered in 2012 to catalog site-by-site water use in 2013.

To give credit where it’s due, state agencies are making efforts to conserve, ranging from the obvious — allowing the lawn in front of the state Capitol to wither — to the not-so-obvious — requiring state prison inmates to take shorter showers. Yet without baseline information, how in the world will state officials know if they’re saving enough? If the state wants to shame homeowners for washing down driveways, it should first implement its own solid water conservation plan, and that starts with figuring out how much water it’s been using, rather than haphazardly trying to cut here and there in the hope it will magically add up to 20 percent.

Unbelieveable beginning for baby

A welcome-to-the-world bouquet of — what else? — baby’s breath goes out to little David, whose unexpectedly quick arrival necessitated a roadside delivery Monday morning. The baby’s parents, Josue Garcia and Maria Esther Cardenas, were en route from their home in Cambria to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center when they got stuck in traffic on Highway 1. By then, Cardenas’ contractions were coming quickly and a short time after the couple pulled over, she gave birth in the car, with Garcia there to catch baby. Emergency workers — who had been summoned by a passing motorist who stopped to help — arrived about 10 minutes after the birth. Mother and baby were doing fine when The Tribune caught up with them the following day. As for dad, he had this say: “No lo puedo creer — I can’t believe it.”

Preserve receives a wonderful gift

A $3 million bequest to the Friends of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve is a wonderful gift from the late Barbara J. Harootunian, a part-time Cambria resident who enjoyed walking the trails on the 430-acre preserve. Most of the bequest — 85 percent — will go into an endowment to be used for programs and services; the remaining 15 percent will be available for operations and planning.

What a great way to help preserve a stunningly beautiful piece of coastline for future generations. In honor of Barbara J. Harootunian, we leave a big bouquet of wildflowers at the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve.

Artist gets the balance right

We toss a well-balanced bouquet to Kathy Clarke, who has parlayed a talent for stacking stones — creating remarkable sculptures in the process — into a spot at an international competition. Clarke will participate in this year’s Balanced Art World International festival in Ottawa, Canada — one of 14 balance artists in the world invited to take part.

Rock balancing appears to be catching on; we’ve been seeing more and more rock towers, or cairns, around the county lately. What an amazing pastime — it requires no special equipment or expenditures; can be done just about anywhere; and puts ordinary rocks in a whole new light. Kudos to Kathy for sharing her talent.