When the Tap Runs Dry
(originally published 1/26/2015)
Sometimes your life can change with a clunk! Last spring, Donna Johnson, 72, of East Porterville, a small community at the eastern edge of the Central Valley, ran out of water. She hoped it was a problem with the pump or something a few feet of digging would fix, “it’s a hard issue to admit to yourself that your well has gone dry” Donna told me. She brought out someone to look at the well, but when the pipes went down and Donna heard that clunk, she knew the awful truth.
Shortly after that, Donna attended a city hall meeting where she found out that she was not alone, other wells were running dry. Groundwater depletion has become a major issue in the San Joaquin Valley as a three year severe drought has dried up lakes and rivers, and farmers who have not received any of their normal water allotment, have been forced to drill down into the groundwater to keep their crops alive. The issuance of water well drilling permits in Kern County is at a record high and in some areas the ground has actually sunk ten or more feet as a result of the dried up aquifer...
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