Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Californians Living Without Water


Last updated 9/5/2015 at 12:19pm

Kristine Whitman

Signs posted at Torrey Pines Beach restroom sinks. No water running in the State Beach restrooms.

Several communities in California are currently living without running water. In the Central Valley, in Tulare County, there are approximately 5,433 people who don't have running water for essential duties, like showering or flushing the toilet. The problem is harsher for East Porterville, a small farming community and one of the poorest in the state. As of Aug. 31, 298 employees in Tulare County have been laid off or given less work hours due to the Drought.

Many homes in the county have private wells and are not connected to a public water system. With the extreme Drought, farmers are pumping more water and are drying up the wells. Those with money can afford to dig deeper for water, but those living below the property line are left biting their nails. The county's Environmental Health has approved over 3,978 drilling permits for wells, with an increase of 78 from last year.

Some have been living without water for over a year. Residents are showering in portable showers, set up by the county, in front of a church. There are also toilets and sinks available. The county is also working on installing 2,500-gallon water storage tanks outside homes with dry wells, but it is a long process and only 170 homes have tanks installed. The county has received 1,714 drought-related calls for assistance. As of Aug. 30, FoodLink distributed 171,125 drought-related food relief packages. The county has been providing 1,164 homes with free bottled water, through the Bottled Drinking Water Program. The bottles are delivered every two weeks, providing half a gallon of water a day per resident. There are three large non-potable water tanks for residents to fill their water containers for their daily use.

Tulare County has set aside $19 million for emergency drinking water, and community leaders are working to connect the homes to the municipal water supply.


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