California drought. What do you do when the well runs dry?

almanzas The Almanza’s well in rural Tulare County ran dry because of the California drought and consequent overpumping of groundwater. They are retired, living on Social Security. Drilling a deeper well would cost $15,000. Maddeningly, they make too little to get a loan and too much to get a grant. Agencies do want to help. However, drought-relief money from California bonds can’t be used for private wells. Every few days one of their sons fills up plastic trash cans with water, trucks it out to their house, and pours it in a big vat by their door. They use buckets to bring in water for toilets and washing.

Bottom line, the Almanzas are falling through a crack in a system that threatens to leave them dry in the sweltering San Joaquin Valley summer. “We have relatives who want us to move in with them,” Carmen said. “But we don’t want to leave. We love it here. We raised our children here. We don’t want a handout, just a little help.”

They are not alone. Well are running dry everywhere in the California Central Valley, and summer hasn’t even started.

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