Drinking WaterDrought

Fresno County towns with no drinking water drown in debt while residents wait for new well

 •  by Jesse Vad, SJV Water reporting intern
Children stand in front of boxes of fresh drinking water provided to the Fresno County communities of Cantua Creek and El Porvenir. The western Fresno towns have suffered water contamination in their wells for years, prompting the state Water Resources Control Board to begin a bottled water delivery program. The state is helping to dig a new well that residents hope will bring clean water to their homes. CREDIT: Eric Zamora, the Fresno Bee.

This story was produced with funding and support from Fresnoland, for the Fresno Bee. Republishing is encouraged 48 hours after initial posting.

The longer it takes for two new wells to be dug in Cantua Creek and El Porvenir in western Fresno County, the deeper in debt the towns are mired.

Now, with the drought, those well projects are in a race against dropping groundwater levels as farmers, cut off from surface water supplies, are leaning more heavily on the aquifer.

The well projects started in 2018 and aren’t scheduled to be completed until sometime next year.

“We have 11 more long months to get there,” said Brian Pacheco, a Fresno County supervisor whose district includes the two disadvantaged, mostly Latino farmworker towns of about 440 people combined.

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Jesse Vad, SJV Water reporting intern

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