Dozens of California communities risk running out of water amid prolonged drought
08/04/2021 // Ethan Huff // Views

Multiple towns in California, stricken by relentless drought conditions and government mismanagement of scarce resources, are just about out of water as they scramble for solutions.

City leaders in Fort Bragg, located on the Mendocino Coast, are rushing to install a new emergency desalination plant. In Healdsburg, government officials have banned lawn watering. In Hornbrook, the faucets have already run dry and people are having to drive 15 minutes away just to wash their clothes or take a shower.

Things are dire, in other words – with no end in sight. And all the while, California water management bureaucrats are draining the state's reservoirs into the ocean to supposedly protect an "endangered" delta smelt.

This perfect storm of no rain, horrible politicians, and water-hungry crops and consumers threatens to leave parts of the Golden State dry as a bone. Think new dust bowl, except this time on the West Coast.

According to reports, it is not just small towns and rural hamlets that are struggling to find precious moisture. Larger towns with their own reservoirs and water departments are also in trouble as water systems run dry.

"As the state struggles with its worst drought since at least 1977, no one has a complete list of which of the state's 7,500 public water systems are facing the most severe shortages," reports The Mercury News.

How did California so horribly mismanage its water supplies?

The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) in Sacramento announced back in May that things would get worse by the "end of August" – and here we are with critical water supply systems throughout California running dry (at the beginning of August).


"This is going to be a long, hot, dry summer," warned Dan Newton, assistant deputy director of the board's Division of Drinking Water. "Throw fires in on top of that with stressed water systems and it is going to be really difficult for some systems to survive."

The SWRCB says that at least 81 water systems serving around 132,559 people are now at risk. And many more could join them if things do not turn around somehow, and soon.

Newton says his board is planning to implement stricter measures to conserve dwindling water supplies and hopefully avoid a catastrophe. The state will probably not stop dumping freshwater into the ocean for the delta smelt, of course, but residents will be expected to let their lawns dry and wear dirty clothes – things like that.

In some areas, it is possible for emergency wells to be drilled to bring up water deep below in the water table. The problem is that California has only designated about $10 million for such projects, which is not enough to help every community in need.

Sadly, many local residents in affected communities have no idea that there are even any water problems – or that they are as severe as they appear to be. California clearly should have invested a whole lot more many decades ago into better water infrastructure, but that ship has sailed and now the chickens are coming home to roost.

"It's extremely serious," warns Fort Bragg Mayor Bernie Norvell. "I've lived here all my life, 51 years, and I haven't seen anything like this. We're hoping we can limp along until this thing gets here," he added about water trucks that the city has ordered to bring in emergency water.

"Restaurants need to be using paper plates," demands Megan Caron, a local vintage shop owner who also says that hotels should not be allowing guests to run spas or take baths. "People shouldn't be watering lawns. It's alarming."

The latest news about California's water shortage problems can be found at

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