LAKE AMADOR (CBS13) — Some communities in California at risk of running out of drinking water during the drought are in less danger after taking precautions.

The California Department of Public Health identified 17 at-risk communities in January, and since then, state officials have been working with them.

Lake Amador is less than half full. Earlier this year, neighbors were worried they would run out of water, but local leaders worked to make sure that wouldn’t happen.

Irrigation officials are buying water from a nearby district, because Lake Amador is at its lowest levels since 1977.

Each day the water level sank, so did the spirits of the Lake Amador Lodge owners.

“When it’s your life and this is my life, you bet it makes you nervous,” said co-owner Laurie Lockhart.

Neighbors and farmers pleaded for something to be done before the lake went dry.

“It feeds the whole Jackson Valley,” said Lee Lockhart. “There is a very large irrigation district as a lot of farmers rely on this water as well.”

The Jackson Valley Irrigation District was one of more than a dozen districts in the state that was in danger of running out of water.

Neighbors and farmers in Amador County avoided that fate by doing two things: First, they conserved.

“The board had to implement drought policy and cut farmers back to roughly 50 percent of what they normally use,” said Steven Fredrick with the Jackson Valley Irrigation District.”

Second, they’re buying water with a $500,000 federal grant.

“We have a very tight budget, we have a very small staff and $500,000 is a considerable amount for this district,” he said.

The moves by the irrigation district will get the rural region through the fall, but locals know it will be tough to make it through another dry year.

“You do your rain dance, say your prayers and you hope for the best,” said Laurie Lockhart.

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