Since 2014, over 1,600 homes have run completely out of water, making Tulare County the epicenter of the drought. But while emergency relief continues, our county has yet to address the root cause of the problem -- declining groundwater levels. In the same time period, more than 5,500 new wells were permitted to be drilled in the county, increasing demand on an already diminishing resource. This race to the bottom with well drilling is unsustainable and irresponsible, as highlighted in a story by The Sacramento Bee on the well-drilling crisis facing the county. The Community Water Center and our allies have been doing everything we can to ensure the Tulare County Board of Supervisors takes action to address this crisis.
We were told repeatedly that the Board would consider the three emergency ordinance recommendations before the end of August. That time has come and gone, and the Board has yet to put the item on their agenda. While the Board failed to act in August, Woodville's primary drinking water well collapsed, forcing them to issue boil water notices for three weeks, and more than 30 families ran out of water completely. These heart-wrenching situations are all due to rapidly declining groundwater levels.
This is an emergency, and time is not on our side. More than a year of work has already gone into developing the recommendations that the Board is sitting on. We need them to act now to start the public conversation about this emergency groundwater ordinance.
You can help make sure the Board of Supervisors takes action to address our groundwater crisis. We're asking for the Board to put the emergency groundwater ordinance on their agenda and begin the public conversation that will allow all county stakeholders to weigh in on this important issue. We at the Community Water Center know we need a strong emergency groundwater ordinance that limits increased groundwater extractions until new regulations are in place to manage these shared resources for the benefit of all residents. But for now, we need the Board to even begin considering the issue. Read more!
The Board of Supervisors has the opportunity to protect the groundwater that every county resident relies on. Please sign up below to join our Groundwater Action Team! That way we can keep you in the loop with any developments, let you know if the Board of Supervisors actually puts this on their agenda, and other ways you can get involved to support sustainable groundwater in Tulare County!