With the state in its driest year on record, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) today announced that it has identified and offered support to 17 rural communities with vulnerable drinking water systems due to drought conditions.
The effort follows Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.'s emergency drought declaration earlier this month.
“As the severe drought continues, we’re working with impacted communities to identify alternative water sources and additional resources,” CDPH Director Dr. Ron Chapman said.
The 17 rural drinking water systems identified serve communities that range in size from 39 to approximately 11,000 Californians. There are approximately 3,000 community water systems (systems that have at least 15 service connections) that provide water in California.
Today’s announcement follows the Governor’s drought state of emergency, which directed CDPH’s Drinking Water Program to identify communities that may run out of drinking water and “provide technical and financial assistance to help these communities address drinking water shortages” and “identify emergency interconnections that exist among the state’s public water systems that can help these threatened communities.”
CDPH will work with the impacted systems to ensure that they have implemented required conservation measures (this could include no outside watering or rationing in addition to proper noticing of system customers of the required conservation measures); identify any possible additional sources (nearby water systems or hauled water); and provide guidance on the possible construction of additional wells to meet the system’s needs.
CDPH’s Drinking Water Program has identified to date the following drinking water systems at greatest risk:
- Shaver Lake Heights Mutual Water Company (Fresno County)
- Sierra Cedars Community Services District (Fresno County)
- Bass Lake Water Company (Madera County)
- Whispering Pines Apts (Mariposa County)
- Boulder Canyon Water Association (Kern County)
- Cypress Canyon Water System (Kern County)
- Lake Of The Woods Mutual Water Company (Kern County)
- Camp Condor (Kern County)
- Jackson Valley Irrigation District (Amador County)
- City of Willits (Mendocino County)
- Redwood Valley Community Water District (Mendocino County)
- Brooktrail Township Community Services District (Mendocino County)
- Washington Ridge Conservation Camp (Nevada County)
- Ophir Gardens (Placer County)
- Lompico County Water District (Santa Cruz County)
- City of Cloverdale (Sonoma County)
- Healdsburg (Sonoma County)
This list was developed by surveying the state’s community water systems and may change as solutions for these systems are implemented and additional vulnerable systems are identified. The 17 identified may face severe water shortages in the next 60 to 100 days. The CDPH Drinking Water Program has 23 district offices throughout the state that closely monitor the needs of drinking water systems. CDPH staff works with these systems and local officials to determine access and need. The state will continue to assess California’s drinking water systems to identify and support those potentially at risk.
In addition to today’s announcement and the Governor’s drought State of Emergency, earlier this week, the California Natural Resources Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency and the California Department of Food and Agriculture released the California Water Action Plan, which will guide state efforts to enhance water supply reliability, restore damaged and destroyed ecosystems and improve the resilience of our infrastructure. Governor Brown has called on all Californians to reduce their water usage by 20 percent and last week, the Save Our Water campaign announced four new public service announcements that encourage residents to conserve. Last December, the Governor formed a Drought Task Force to review expected water allocations and California’s preparedness for water scarcity. In May 2013, Governor Brown issued an Executive Order to direct state water officials to expedite the review and processing of voluntary transfers of water and water rights.