STANISLAUS COUNTY (CBS13) — Nancy Bakker and her husband never thought retiring in rural Stanislaus County would turn their golden years into a drought-filled nightmare.
The couple experienced a month without water after the well on their property suddenly went dry.
“We had to beg for water,” Nancy said. “There was absolutely no water at all. It had run dry.”
The couple lives on a fixed income and couldn’t afford to pay for a new well and pump that would allow them to dig deeper for water.
“The main thing was water for the toilets,” Nancy said. “That’s a big issue. We’d go to different places—some friends would bring water.”
Neighbors suspect the double whammy of a dry winter and a rash of new orchards in need of water contributed to the sudden shortage.
There’s also a large, powerful pump that a neighboring farmer recently installed that pulls groundwater for crop irrigation.
Neighbors says no one from the state or county regulates how much water one person can take before sucking others dry.
After a month without water, good samaritans caught wind of the water war and quickly helped the couple come up with more than $10,000 for a new, deeper well.
“We figured we couldn’t afford the well,” Nancy said. “A kind family came forward and helped us with it, and we are forever grateful.
The couple hopes lawmakers will take notice and make a move to protect homeowners.