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California Drought: Wells Literally Running Dry In One Central Valley Community

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(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

RebeccaCorral20100909_KCBS_0583r Rebecca Corral
Like most journalists in Northern California, Rebecca Corral has been...
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EAST PORTERVILLE (KCBS)— The effects of the drought continue to be felt by Californians as lakes and rivers dry up statewide. For residents of the Central Valley community of East Porterville, many of whom use private wells as their source of water, the situation is decidedly dire.

It’s the worst-case drought scenario. When you turn on the faucet, nothing comes out.

“In this particular community, the wells are running dry,” said Denise England, a senior administrative analyst with the Tulare County Water Resources Department.

She said the wells are 50 years or older, and that they’re very shallow.

California Drought: Wells Literally Running Dry In One Central Valley Community

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“They’re at about 30 feet. There’s a river that runs nearby that typically recharges these wells, but because of lack of snowfall, lack of rain; that river is effectively dry,” England said.

Wealthier residents are okay, because they’ve drilled much deeper wells in the past decade. It’s the lower-income residents like minimum-wage employees and even farmers who she said barely make enough to scrape by.

“They don’t have the money sitting around. A new well in that area would probably be between $20,000 and $30,000. They’re not able to get a loan because of their income.”

The county has delivered bottled water to some homes recently, but there’s only enough for drinking. One solution is a community-wide well, but for now there’s no county money for that and the state hasn’t yet responded to calls for help.

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