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Rural California is Running out of Water

Rural California is Running out of Water

“Central California is dying,” says lifetime California resident and farmer, Gary Biggs. “We’re becoming a wasteland. A hot and dry wasteland.” 

Biggs, 72, grew up on a prosperous farm in West Goshen. He remembers tending orange and pecan trees while his father raised cows and sheep and grew alfalfa. Today, the eight-acre plot that has since been passed down to his son Ryan is much different than the flourishing orchard he remembers. “Now, it’s all dirt.”

As years of drought and over-pumping began to impact the region’s natural groundwater sources, Ryan and his family started to rely on government cistern programs and the kindness of their neighbors. Now, the family is forced to bring in water from outside sources to drink, cook, and shower. They drive into town to do laundry. 

“God forbid I don’t know how long this drought is gonna go on,” laments Biggs. “Believe it or not, climate change is here and California is a real poster child for it.” 

Biggs and his family are among many rural Californians who have long depended on groundwater sources that have in recent years dried up. And with hot summer weather approaching, the possibility increases that more California families will run out of water. 

California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) has begged businesses and urban residents to cut water usage, but there is little he can do without legislation. Last week, he asked residents of southern California cities to cut usage by 35% to avoid a ban. 

Exacerbating the water shortage is the presence of nitrate and other contaminants in some drinking water systems. Nitrate, which comes from fertilizers used in farming, has no taste or smell. Consuming too much nitrate has been linked to a host of health problems including methemoglobinemia, nausea, headaches, abdominal cramps, and cancer. 

In Ducor, an unincorporated region of Tulare County, residents blame over-pumping by agriculture and industry for the dwindling supply of groundwater and the presence of nitrate. 

Another factor at play is the timing of the current drought, which impacted groundwater supplies before they recovered from a previous drought. And with climate trends leading to a decrease in wintertime precipitation, there has been far less snowmelt available to fill reservoirs, rivers, and groundwater systems in the spring. 

“The first thing that’s important to understand is these communities have been historically disinvested in since the beginning,” argues Kelsey Hinton. ”They weren’t even included in general planning for the county, or considered viable communities that were going to continue to grow over time.” 

Hinton works in the San Joaquin Valley region as the communications director for the Community Water Center – an organization advocating for affordable access to clean water. Water has historically been considered a ‘property right’ in the state of California, meaning residents can pump as much water from land they own as they like. But as drought conditions worsened and wells were deepened, water was removed faster than it could be replaced naturally.

To make matters worse, adds Hinton, there has been little oversight regarding the issuance of well-drilling permits.

Governor Newsom has attempted to address this issue with an executive order that prevents the issuance of well-drilling permits without a review of how future drilling could impact nearby residents, but it is unclear how long the order will last.

“We’re in this part of the state that is slowly dying, because no one’s taking us seriously,” says Biggs. “I tell my grandkids as soon as you get out, leave this area, go somewhere where there’s water, because this place is dying.” 

According to experts, severe drought conditions may lead to a 50% decrease in California’s hydropower this summer. 

Editor’s Note: Water flows uphill to money. The cities have historically rerouted water to themselves away from the formerly flourishing rural areas. California is mismanaging its water, much like it is mismanaging its power grid (frequent brownouts), its forest lands (frequent out of control forest fires), its homeless population (increasing and destroying quality of life), and much more. Now, they will find that all solutions to the water problem are very expensive.


As California’s big cities fail to rein in their water use, rural communities are already tapped out 

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  1. Mason Cox

    California is always having issues. I really believe that God is bringing His judgment on the used to be great state. And the rest of America is getting ready for a great fall caused partly by people turning their backs on Christian living. Read 2nd chronicles 7:14 in the Bible. It sums it up.

  2. Tom

    CA need not worry, the executive golf courses will still be green. This will only affect the common person and the poor. All others can afford water. Maybe more environmental regulations that include daily rain dances will help them.

  3. ben

    Man, two guys respond but there’s only one Cox between them :>)

  4. Redrag

    This proves that demacrats do NOT know what they do. They only care about themselves and will distroy anything as long as it helps them. Ever notice that all the problems within this whole country all happens in a city? So the problem for ALL things is cities. That means that ALL cities need to be closed. As per climate change the cities were built in a desert so they had to distroy nature by changing the land (this truly does make climate change) since they had to change the flow of water. Just dump in broken solar panels into the water going to these cities. This way they can drink what they preach.

    • Ben

      Yeah, it’s all the cities, it’s all the Democrats, there are no Republican problems except the lack of unwanted babies, illegal aliens, and the need for more guns. Rape babies, incest babies, guns, guns, guns.

      Another guy with a firm hand grasping facts to fulfill his preconceived notions of Republican mythology trends. I mean who wouldn’t believe more people equals more crime? That’s as basic a notion as more guns equals more gun deaths. But do these schmucks believe that? Of course not, there’s no Democrats to blame for ownership…….

      It’s like the Trump magical fairy land of free gumdrops and sugarcane disappeared overnight as the evil overlord Biden dropped the minions of Mordor at your doorsteps. Like the cities weren’t like that during Trump. Like Russia wasn’t an evil aggressor before Biden. Like there was no economic issues, including inflation, during Trump. Heck, Trump begged, borrowed, and printed money like no other American President in the entire history of the country, right up until the day he left, and inflation hit shortly thereafter. He freaking gave away $1,000,000,000,000. just to try to get elected and then left Biden holding the bag for the biggest Federal tax dollar giveaway in the history of our Republic.

      Question: if an illegal alien rapes your daughter, do you still need to force her to have that illegal-alien-rape-latino-baby? How Republican are you?

      Dude: cities = more people = more everything. Republican cities (yes, there are some) and Democratic cities alike. And crime is three or four times higher in the city.

      But news flash: “A total of 1,295,919 injury deaths in 3,141 US counties were analyzed. Injury mortality increased with increasing rurality. Urban counties demonstrated the lowest death rates, significantly less than rural counties (mean difference=24.0 per 100,000; 95% confidence interval 16.4 to 31.6 per 100,000). After adjustment, the risk of injury death was 1.22 times higher in the most rural counties compared with the most urban (95% confidence interval 1.07 to 1.39).” NIH: National Library of Medicine.

      “Compared to cities and suburban areas, rural locations are the most dangerous places to live. A study found that “your risk of death is actually about 22 percent higher in the most rural counties in America than in the most urban ones.” Death rates in the exurbs are higher for a variety of reasons.

      One reason is that people who live in rural areas tend to be further away from hospitals and other emergency services. Average time to travel to a medical facility is around 50 minutes for rural locations. The extra time to respond to accidents and violent crime makes a difference.

      In relation to gun deaths, the research demonstrated that deaths from gun wounds in rural and urban areas was the same.” Safe Home Safe .com

      • Clifford mckinney

        Don’t forget the black on black crime. Or murdered babies

      • Lisa

        Ben I guessed from your first stupid comment you were a democrat. First this article is about water not guns, is it possible for you democrats to ever stay on topic? Apparently you haven’t been told but this is a democrat problem NOT republican, republicans haven’t been in charge in California in what decades? Democrats can’t ever take responsibility for anything if they’re at fault, not ever only quick to blame others.. This is 100% democrats and nobody else.
        All these laws democrats want to put in place regarding guns make zero sense, criminals don’t care what the existing laws are you think they’re gonna care about new ones?
        Regarding someone being raped by an illegal here is an idea that moron in the White House should do his job and stop these people from coming into this country in the first place. But since so many are leaving the party of stupid they have to cheat or get votes from somewhere. Also the vast majority of abortions are NOT from rape or incest they are from irresponsible people who can’t be bothered to properly use birth control, but democrats love to use rape and incest as an excuse.

        • Ben

          Yeah, you got me on that one. I was certainly not on point.

          Of course, you never got on point either and only mentioned water to make me feel bad. Then you talked about bad, bad, Dems. And guns. And birth control. And rape babies and how that’s OK, low numbers et al.

          Thanks for the lesson in staying on point. A teachable moment. NOT.

          But you did get me on that one and then you shot yourself right in the foot.