California Water Shortage: 17 Communities in Danger of Running Dry

Thursday, 30 Jan 2014 10:27 AM

By Michael Mullins

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A California water shortage is impacting residents across the state particularly those in rural areas where at least 17 communities are at risk of running out of water within four months.

The fast approaching drought is a result of wells running dry in some areas, while other communities are seeing their reservoirs running nearly empty, the Associated Press reported.

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According to the San Jose Mercury News, among the cities affected by the water shortage are Healdsburg and Cloverdale in Sonoma County as well as smaller communities across the coastal county of Santa Cruz that are dependent on the tiny Lompico County Water District.

The list of vulnerable communities was compiled by the state health department based on a survey last week of the more than 3,000 water agencies in California.

"As the drought goes on, there will be more that probably show up on the list," Dave Mazzera, acting drinking-water division chief for the state Department of Public Health, told the San Jose Mercury News earlier in the week.

"This is a statewide drought. This is a serious drought," Bill Croyle, director of the state Drought Task Force, added on Thursday. "It's all hands on deck."

According to Mazzera, discussions are underway among state officials as to how the government can ensure that an adequate supply of water is guaranteed to all communities across the state, such as by increasing funding for drilling projects to create more wells and possibly adding more water connection systems to provide water to rural community reservoirs.

Access to water supplies is the apparent reason for the shortage in the Lompico County Water District.

"We have been unable to take water out of the creek since August and well production is down, and we didn't have that much water to begin with," Lois Henry, a Lompico water board member told the San Jose Mercury News, adding that the upgrades would cost in the area of $3 million.

California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency on Jan. 17 due to the ever dwindling water shortage across the state.

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama called Brown for a drought update, and reportedly assured the governor that the federal government, through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Agriculture Department, will continue to support the Golden State's effort in preventing further water shortages.

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