When California Gov. Jerry Brown announced the drought had ended the rural residents on San Joaquin valley felt forgotten when their wells were still running dry. Evelyn Rios, 80, lives in rural Madera County where she thought she was being hooked up to the city of Madera’s water system. In 2014, Rios’ well dried up leaving her family desperate for another resource. Fast forward to today and Rios and her family are still without water in their well after the announcement of the drought ending.
“Full reservoirs and swollen rivers don’t mean that much to people living in rural San Joaquin Valley, where about 1,000 people still have dry wells. Their water sits underground in the nation’s second-largest groundwater aquifer, which was mined and dramatically drawn down by farmers protecting the valley’s $40 billion-a-year agriculture industry.” (Grossi)
Legislation that passed in 2014 still has two years before it will be fully implemented which leaves these smaller communities susceptible to more groundwater shortages. More importantly, water is the number one most important resource to humans. People of color in this farm country of Madera, “die up to 15 years sooner than people who live in more affluent areas of Fresno.” (Central Valley Health Policy Institute at Fresno State)
“The state is trying not to abandon people with dry wells. Starting July 1, an additional year of free water will be delivered to massive tanks that were placed at many dwellings with dry wells, including the Rios’ home.” (Grossi)
The millions of dollars that are being invested to provide these solutions aren’t permanent solutions to the water crisis in rural areas like these. Wells can go dry at any moment when groundwater pumping ramps back up. Long term solutions must be introduced that can sustain groundwater supplies.
The solution to a dry well is a drywell.
MaxWell drywells are a small foot print, low-cost solution that help increase capacity for aquifer recharge. MaxWell drywells already appear on many projects in Southern California that are managing stormwater as a resource, providing flood control, preventing downstream flooding, improving water quality, and promoting groundwater recharge. Rural areas in California need drywells to help minimize the impacts of groundwater pumping by the local agriculture industry.