Community Water Center

Community-driven water solutions through organizing, education, and advocacy

East Orosi: Paying for Contaminated Water


Tiene que nacer un niño azul o tiene que morir los niños para que nos ayuden.
A baby needs to be born blue or children need to die in order for them to help us.
- Maria Elena Orozco, resident of East Orosi.

East Orosi is served by the East Orosi Community Service District. Unfortunately, almost all the groundwater supplies in the area are contaminated.

Time without safe drinking water: intermittently for 9 years

The struggle: Residents in East Orosi are served contaminated groundwater with nitrate levels that regularly exceed the federal health standard. Residents must pay twice: once for water they cannot drink from their tap, and again when they drive to buy 5 gallon jugs of water for their families.

The people impacted: East Orosi is an unincorporated community in Tulare County of approximately 500 people, nearly all of whom are low-income Latino farmworker families.

The Solution: East Orosi secured Prop. 84 funding to rehabilitate their existing wells, which is expected to be completed by September 2015. The community is also seeking funding to install water meters to help track and conserve their water supply. As a long-term solution, plans are underway to consolidate East Orosi’s water system with nearby city Orosi’s and build a new well to serve both communities.

The Cost: Short term project (rehabilitating two wells) = $287,000. Long term project (consolidation with Orosi and water meter installation) = $771,700.

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