Entire California City Without Running Water – In Heat Wave – Press Telegram

By MELISSAMON TALVO | Cal Matters

This is the situation of the recent water crisis in California. Droughts sent temperatures in the central valley to triple digits, destroying the only functioning well in rural areas of Tebiston in early June, leaving more than 700 residents out of the water.

Frank Galavis, director of the Tebiston Community Services District, said in an interview with Fresnoby that “it’s a daily thing” for the people of Tebiston.

Residents of Tebiston depend on a limited amount of bottled water for essentials such as hydration, cooking, bathing and flushing. Some residents, like Galavis, travel to nearby towns to shower or do laundry with family and friends.

Galavis Virtual Drought Conference Hosted by Senator Melissa Hurtado, Democrat of Sanger. The district found sand in the pump, which resulted in an outage.

In response to a well outage, the district is providing bottled water and a case of a 5-gallon jug to residents. The tanker hauls water from Porterville, 23 miles away, and fills Teviston’s two water storage tanks.

“It’s barely enough, and in some cases not enough,” Galavis said. “Some families are bigger than others.

Tebiston is an unincorporated community in Tulare County, just off Highway 99 between Pixley and Earlimart. The first resident of the community Black immigrants mainly from Cottonbelt and Dustbelt.. Today, the majority of its inhabitants are Latino farm workers.

Galavis, who is waiting for the parts needed to fix the pump, said tap water could take weeks to return to Tebiston’s home.

However, repairing the pump may not solve the problem. Mr Galavis said he was concerned the wells were depleted.

Water scarcity is nothing new

Residents experienced a similar shortage when the community was the only well collapsed in November 2017.. Like many rural communities in the Central Valley, Tebiston did not have enough reinforcements.

Four years later, that is not yet the case.

“I learned that the last drought did not coordinate the local and state response to the drought. The needy family did not know who to call and the state struggled to provide assistance. “It was,” Eric Olerana, a policy advocate at the Community Water Center, said in an email to Bee. “We don’t want the emergency to continue, so we ask the state to prepare for the drought this time around.”

In 2017, Teviston received state funding for an emergency response and partnered with nearby Pixley for water. One solution offered by Galaviz includes incorporating Teviston and Pixley to access the water system.

There is a bill going through the state legislature – Senate Bill 403 – This allows the National Water Commission to integrate communities at risk of losing access to clean and safe drinking water, in particular disadvantaged communities that depend on wells at risk.

The agency is currently building a new, modern well at Tebiston, Well 4, and Galavis expects it to be completed by 2022 or 2023. “We need a state water commission to facilitate the financing of the well. 4, ”he says. Said at the meeting.

Thousands of wells in the San Joaquin Valley are at risk of being depleted this summer. Disproportionately affects Latinos who are likely to depend on private wells.. In addition, a recent analysis of the state’s drought shows that Low-income Latinos hit hardest by latest droughtEspecially in rural communities of agricultural workers.

Disadvantaged communities are the hardest hit

Senator Melissa Ultado is in favor of the SB200 of July 8, 2019, a bill to create a fund to provide drinking water to the state.

“California in the Central Valley region faces inequalities in water, energy and health,” Hartado said after a virtual conference call. The leaders of Avenal and Lamont also discussed their challenges regarding water scarcity, dilapidated water infrastructure and the need for financing.

Scott Taylor, general manager of the Lamont Utilities District, said the 20,000 Kern County community (mostly Latino farm workers) has seven wells. Five of them are infected with Carcinogenic 123-Trichloropropane (TCP), and one does not work. Taylor said he needed better infrastructure for the dilapidated wells in order to serve the “severely disadvantaged residents” of Lamont.

Public funds are available to improve drinking water infrastructure. The National Water Resources Management Commission will spend up to $ 130 million per year until 2030 to “address water shortages and provide solutions to water supply systems, especially those serving communities disadvantaged ”. I can. Safe and Affordable Financing Program (SAFER) for Equity and Resilience, According to the council’s website.

“State partner agencies such as the State Water Resources Management Commission stand ready to help local agencies and counties respond to these emergencies, as does Teviston through assistance programs. existing. We are working on a long term solution for the community, ”said Deputy Officer Darin Porhemus. In an emailed statement to The Bee, director of the council’s drinking water division.

California drinking water crisis

“How local agencies and counties are managing future emergency responses to emergency drinking water crises, and how to enable state resources to be taken care of online, while meeting urgent needs . We have to be ready now to decide which resources to use, ”explains Polhemus.

Galavis and Taylor both said they encountered a bureaucratic delay when working with the National Water Commission. “The truth is, not only does the water not flow, but the money doesn’t flow,” Taylor said. “Especially for small institutions like me, like other institutions, money is not water.”

May, Governor Gavin Newsom has proposed $ 5.1 billion for drought preparedness, infrastructure and response.. $ 1.3 billion of this money will go to drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, especially for small, low-income communities. According to Orellana, the governor’s proposed investment is “a major step towards resolving the $ 4 billion or more needed over the next five years alone to tackle a failing and threatened water supply system across California. “. ..

The money does not immediately arrive for rural residents and the waters of the Central Valley.

“In the Central Valley, we know how difficult it is to cope with temperatures above 100 degrees Celsius due to lack of water, and many of these families also face power outages and wetland coolers. Hurtado said. “Sometimes we feel like we can’t listen. We are not asked.

This article is part of California Division, A collaboration between newsrooms investigating income inequality and financial survival in California.

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