Residents of East Porterville,
Running Out of Drinking Water
Few events in a drought are as frightening and helpless as a town beginning to run out of drinking water.
But as California's severe, long-term drought worsens, that's exactly what's happening in East Porterville, a town north of Bakersfield in Tulare County. According to the Porterville Recorder, 182 of 1,400 or so homes in the area have reported no water or some kind of water issue.
Government officials and community groups told the Associated Press it's because most of these homes have individual wells that supply their drinking water, and those wells are drying up because of the drought. Since then, residents have mostly been relying on a county-supplied, 5,000-gallon water tank for their drinking water, the report adds, but that was only designed to be a temporary fix.
"I grew up here, I've never seen this many people out of water," said Supervisor Mike Ennis in a Fresno Bee report.
Residents whose wells haven't run dry have been asked by authorities to limit water usage for fears there might not be much left, and the Fresno Bee report also said emergency crews have been going door-to-door to make water deliveries, 12 gallons at a time.
This is all occurring in a county named the state's "Welfare Capital" by the Los Angeles Times in 2011. Many of the area's residents are poor, which makes it all but impossible for them to spend upwards of $15,000 to drill a new hole for their wells, Think Progress reports.
The solution is likely to come in the form of federal grants to help residents pay for water purchases, the AP also reported. Because so much of East Porterville is living in poverty, and because water contamination has been a problem in the past, a $1 million grant has been approved to provide free bottled water to children, reports OurValleyVoice.com.
But it doesn't solve all of East Porterville's water woes, and if California doesn't get much-needed rainfall soon, other towns could be running dry, too.
All of California remains in a drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. As of last week's survey, 58 percent of the state is in exceptional drought, the worst level of drought on the U.S. Drought Monitor's scale.
MORE ON WEATHER.COM: The Effect of California's Drought on Waterways
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