ORLAND, Calif. — For almost a year, residents in Glenn County have been adapting to being without water while other residents are just now experiencing their wells going drying.
Long time Glenn County resident, Kelly O'Brien, was one of the first to have her well go dry. She was able to lower her pump, but for six weeks said she had to adapt to a new way of living.
"You're talking very minimal toilet flushes. I would say an average of maybe twice a day. And showers. I hadn't had a real shower for three weeks. I mean, it was the spit bath and, you know, wash your hair over the bathtub, save the water, water the plants," said O'Brien.
She described it as a "total upheaval in one's life."
O'Brien has since created a Facebook group for Glenn County residents with water insecurity issues to discuss and share resources.
"You just don't realize that once that water stops running from a tap, how are you going to do it? That's what I think a lot of people in the municipal areas that go to their faucets and turn it on, they don't realize what people are actually going through when they don't have water."
The county has worked on some programs to help residents get through these times, but O'Brien said she would like to see faster action from the state.
"I'd like to see is the state move a little faster for one, which I know is next to impossible, but I'd like to see them actually live a day or a week without water, and we'll see how fast they move after that. It's not fun. It hurts, it hurts people and it creates conflicts and money issues. It was $30 for just me to wash and dry my clothes for a week's worth of laundry. I can't imagine families that have kids, and six, seven, eight loads of laundry that they have to do. That's a lot of money."
In partnership with the Department of Water Resources (DWR), Callahan Electrical, Silva's Water Works, Bambauer Towing, Bidwell Water, and Glenn County Farm Supply, the North Valley Community Foundation (NVCF) is providing, storage tanks, pumps and installation, non-potable water, and bottled drinking water.
There are currently 110 families enrolled in the program with four to five applying every week.
During the Glenn County Board of s=Supervisors meeting, Supervisor Tom Arnold advised residents whose wells went dry over summer but came back up during the winter, to contact NVCF now to get on the list to receive some resources, such as a water tank, in case it happens again this summer.
Like O'Brien, some residents are hoping to either drill their wells deeper or dig a completely new well, but that comes with a hefty price tag and there is no guarantee the water will last.
As we head into another dry year, O'Brien cautions people to pay attention.
"Just because your faucet turned on now doesn't mean that it won't be gone tomorrow. Pay attention, do your part, and help your neighbor if you can."
You can contact NVCF by calling (530)230-4153.
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