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New Water Well for Seville Residents

By Gene Haagenson
ABC 30 - KFSN-TV Fresno, CA


SEVILLE, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Tulare County community of Seville has suffered with water problems for years, and some of the 500 or so residents have been without running water for months. But relief, in the form of a well drilling rig arrived this week.

The drilling brought Albert Martinez out to watch. He, like all of the residents of this small community have been suffering without adequate water. When it's available, it's only a trickle. Albert says taking a shower is an ordeal.

"I tell you, it's hard," said Martinez. "We get a five gallon bucket into the shower and we turn on the faucet and it takes about an hour an hour and a half to full up the bucket."

The situation is especially bad at the town school.

"The one bad thing is the water pressure," said Chris Kemper. "Even though we have water coming in the pressure is not enough for the kids to utilize the bathroom nicely."

School Superintendent Chris Kemper notes that because the water is contaminated with nitrates from fertilizer and septic systems, the children are not allowed to drink it. The private water system that served this community was taken over by the courts. The situation here was so bad an investigator for the United Nations came to Seville three years ago and declared the water was unsafe and inadequate. The state has finally responded with a grant to drill a new well. But the rusty pipes connecting the houses remain a problem.

Ruben Becerra lives in Visalia but brings drinking water to his mother.

"I think it's going to be unsanitary a lot of those water lines are 100 years old," said Becerra.

The well should be providing water in about a week. Tulare County Supervisor Steve Worthley acknowledges it may not help with quality. But it should at least improve water pressure.

"We have some issues with the quality of water, nitrates primarily but quantity is a big issue so people can flush their toilets, take baths and that sort of thing," said Worthley. "And have adequate water pressure."

And Martinez can't wait.

"Oh yeah, eventually gonna get some water take a good bath," said Martinez.

The new well is just a short term solution. Long term plans call for a surface water treatment plant to serve several Tulare County communities. However, that's still years away.

It's not clear if the water in the well will be suitable for drinking. So they will have this for showering and using the bathroom but they may still have to rely on bottled water as well.

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