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San Joaquin Valley Residents Without Drinking Water

Aug. 26, 2014 (EIRNS)—Hundreds of rural San Joaquin Valley residents no longer can get drinking water from their home faucets, because California’s extreme drought has dried up their individual wells, the Associated Press reports, citing government officials and community groups.

The Tulare County Office of Emergency Services had 12-gallon-per person rations of bottled water delivered on this past Friday in East Porterville, where at least 182 of the 1,400 households have reported having not enough water or none, according to the Porterville Recorder. Many people in the unincorporated area about 52 miles north of Bakersfield also have been relying on a county-supplied 5,000-gallon water tank filled with non-potable water for bathing and flushing toilets, The Recorder said.

Emergency services manager Andrew Lockman, said the supplies of bottled water that were distributed by firefighters, the Red Cross, and volunteer groups Aug. 22 cost the county $30,000, and were designed to last about three weeks. Some residents have been reluctant to speak up about being waterless, because they are afraid their landlords will evict them or social workers will take their children away, The Recorder reported.

"We want to make it abundantly clear we are not going to make this harder for anyone," Lockman stressed. "These lists aren’t going anywhere. (Child Welfare Services) isn’t getting a list. They [CWS] made it abundantly clear they are not going to remove children because of no water. We just want to help the people."

More than 98% of California is now under a "severe" drought, the third-worst category; 82% is under "extreme" drought, and half of that area under the driest, "exceptional" category.