STAFF REPORTS

Residents of the San Joaquin Valley who have been affected by the impacts of the drought have immediate resources available to help maintain their access to drinking water.

A group of organizations in the San Joaquin Valley coordinated by the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley Water Workgroup have developed an outreach plan and a list of resources available to private well owners or small communities that have lost or are concerned about losing access to drinking water due to groundwater levels.

“As a domestic well resident for 17 years, I have experienced head on the cruel obstacles that drought causes for low income families,” said Sandra Chavez, a Porterville resident and member of the AGUA Coalition and SAFER Advisory Group. “In the spring of 2014, the domestic well that provides water for my family of 12 went dry. We struggled for eight months without running water. We scavenged around looking for resources and looking for help from friends and family.” 

  The resources include bottled water, water tanks, water assessment testing, and water quailty testing.

“The past five years, California has been rocked with devastation due to natural disasters, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Tami McVay, assistant program director of partner services at Self-Help Enterprises. “Our state funds for disaster response are limited. It is vital to our economy and utterly important that private well owners have their wells inspected to ensure sustainability. For every dollar spent on preparedness, four dollars is saved in response. Self-Help Enterprises is taking a proactive approach toward drought resiliency and climate change.”   

Merced County District 5 Supervisor Scott Silveira is the Chair of the Water workgroup.

“Water is an essential resource in the San Joaquin Valley and no resident should be without access to drinking water,” Silveira said. “Self-Help Enterprises is providing vital services and emergency assistance during this drought, and the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley and the Valley Counties are committed to ensuring that everybody is aware of these available resources.” 

“With climate change intensifying the impacts and frequency of droughts in California, collaboration and coordination are vital components to improving the state’s water resiliency,” said Vice Chair of the California State Water Resources Control Board Dorene D’Adamo. “The State Water Board has expanded financial assistance to support local efforts, and we are grateful for Self-Help Enterprises, the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley, and other on-the-ground partners who are working to ensure all Californians have access to safe drinking water, not only during drought emergencies, but also long-term.”

Anyone concerned about their well should visit www.mywellwentdry.org for a list of resources by county or call Self-Help Enterprise at (559) 802-1285.