By Patric Hedlund
“With California facing its worst water shortage crisis in recorded history,” the release from Governor Jerry Brown’s office began on Wednesday, Feb. 19, before telling of $687 million in emergency funding from Sacramento to help provide drinking water, water-conserving technologies and other aid to the state’s drought-parched communities.
That money is added to $183 million President Barack Obama brought to the state on Valentine’s Day, to help farmers and those stricken by drought-related economic crisis.
The Mountain Communities may benefit from funds allocated to the state conservation corps to reduce fire fuels in high fire-risk areas. The Lebec County Water District is hopeful for half a million dollars in grant funding for their water system.
Lake of the Woods Mutual Water Company starred in an NPR report this week about its dry wells. It is on the state’s list of the 17 hardest-hit communities in the state, left without drinking water by the drought. LOW received $250,000 in emergency funding earlier and is expected to benefit from about $209,000 more in a pre-planning grant which Frazier Park Public Utilities District (FPPUD) is seeking to find new water sources for the region, in partnership with LOWMWC.
FPPUD scheduled a Thursday, Feb. 20 board meeting to adopt an emergency conservation plan. “After the scare of the summertime I knew I had to follow up,” Operations Manager Jonnie Allison said in an interview Wednesday. “The state Department of Health said ‘now is the time.’ The drought issue is so critical for everybody right now. I went to Sam Young spring this weekend. He said the spring is still producing water for the system, but he was surprised to find that the surrounding foliage, which is normally green, moist and mossy is now, in February, dry as a bone.”
The FPPUD wells have recovered from last year’s drop, he added, “But when everyone starts to water again in the summer, we will have the same situation.
Although the standing levels of FPPUD’s wells have returned to historic norms, because of the drought the water table has dropped, so the pumping level is slower to recover, Allison explained.
Fire crews were kept busy this past weekend. Over 300 fires have already been fought this year using state resources. During this time last year there were no calls for state fire resources, officials report.
To see full stories with photos, please go to The Mountain Enterprise e-Edition
You can have your newspaper delivered via mail! Just call 661-245-3794.
Also, this story and others are available right now at newsstands throughout the Mountain Communities.
This is part of the February 21, 2014 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
Have an opinion on this matter? We'd like to hear from you.