For the most part, California’s record–breaking drought has had the most effect on poor communities in the Central Valley, where agriculture is the backbone of the economy. Although, for some towns, not having a steady job has been the least of their worries. Some communities have completely run out of well water, and have had to rely on the Red Cross to ship in bottled water.
But now the drought is starting to hurt communities that weren’t on anyone’s radar. In fact, water shortages are starting to creep into California’s middle-class suburbs. Such is this case with the unincorporated town of Mountain House in San Joaquin County, who quite unexpectedly lost the rights to their sole source of water this week.
“We’re out there looking for water supplies as we speak,” said Mountain House general manager Ed Pattison. “We have storage tanks, but those are basically just to ensure the correct pressurization of the distribution system. No more than 2 days are in those storage tanks.”
The community’s sole source of water, the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District, was one of 114 senior water rights holders cut off by a curtailment notice from the state on Friday.
That means Mountain House leaders must find someone to sell them water, hopefully, the GM says, to have enough until the end of the year.
“We don’t want this town to become a ghost town, it was a beautiful master-planned community,” he said.
Many of California’s water districts are actually planning to sue the state for cutting off their water rights, many of which are over a century old, as is the case with the Byron Bethany Irrigation District who Mountain House had been previously buying its water from. But at the end of the day, water rights don’t mean squat when there is no water.
Now the officials of this town are scrambling to find water, and may have to have it trucked in at great expense. They can’t seem to find any takers from any of the other water districts nearby.
It’s somewhat shocking to think that this kind of community would be faced with this situation. It wasn’t surprising when isolated rural communities relying on well water went dry, but when a town that is fully connected to the water grid doesn’t know how or where it will get its H2O from, you know that the drought has reached a new milestone. The California dream has been drying up one small town at a time, and soon suburbs and cities will no longer be exempt.
Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple, where this article first appeared. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger .