EAST PORTERVILLE (CBS13) — Hundreds of people in a California town have no water after wells ran dry during the state’s drought.
The small town of East Porterville in Tulare County has about 7,300 residents, and at least 300 homes have been without water for weeks.
“We can’t shower. We’re wearing dirty clothes. My kids had to wear dirty clothes to school this morning,” said Elizabeth Baker. “I had to go across the street last night to get water for my kids from the fire department.”
The county set up a 5,000-gallon water tank for residents to help with flushing toilets and irrigation, but now drinking water is the problem. They had to distribute more than 15,000 gallons of drinking water last week.
There are fears the problem could be even worse as people believe some people aren’t reporting their wells have gone dry out of fear their landlords will evict them, or their children will be taken away. In fact, the county didn’t know how dire the problem was until they were tipped off by a nonprofit group.
Donna Johnson has been delivering water to those in need for months. She’s even taken out a loan to pay for the water.
“It just became like a job. I’m delivering water, and I guess my head went get up and do this,” she said. “Sometimes i go home and cry because some of the situations are so sad right now.”
The county handed out 12 gallons of water per person in need, which is considered a three-week supply. It hopes the state reimburses the $30,000 they’ve spent on water.