Drinking WaterDroughtGroundwater

State still hasn’t fixed Porterville drinking water crisis from the last drought. Will residents go dry again?

 •  by Jesse Vad, SJV Water reporting intern
Guillermina Andrade (left) and Vicente Tapia fill five 55-gallon barrels twice a week from a water depot outside the Porterville, California, fire station in this 2015 photo. Their well, along with hundreds of others, went dry in 2014 during California's last drought. COURTESTY of Circle of Blue

The epicenter of dry wells during California’s last devastating drought was undoubtedly Porterville. The small Tulare County town saw wells go dry enmasse in its unincorporated east side. It became a national headline as the media descended.

Amid the glare of tv cameras, the state pledged to help and agreed to build three new wells.

Five years have gone by, the state is in the grip of another drought and Porterville is walking a tightrope as the state connected more than 755 new homes to the city’s water system but only built one new well.

“We wish those three wells were done,” said John Lollis, City Manager of Porterville. “It would make this summer much more bearable.”

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Jesse Vad, SJV Water reporting intern

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