Has California’s Drought Worsened Water Contamination?

AZUSA, CA - JANUARY 22: The sun shines over the dry upper reaches of San Gabriel Reservoir in the Angeles National Forest on January 22, 2014 in near Azusa, California. Now in its third straight year of drought conditions, California is experiencing its driest year on record, dating back 119 years, and reservoirs throughout the state have low water levels. Unseasonable dangerous wildfire weather helped spread the nearby 1,952-acre Colby Fire which firefighters are about to contain but not before it destroyed five homes, damaged 17 others and injured six people. Gov. Jerry Brown officially declared a drought emergency on Friday to speed up assistance to local governments, streamline water transfers and potentially ease environmental protection requirements for dam releases. 
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Clare Foran
Feb. 19, 2014, 1:46 a.m.

Severe drought in Cali­for­nia is put­ting rur­al com­munit­ies at risk for in­creased in­cid­ence of drink­ing-wa­ter con­tam­in­a­tion, Re­u­ters re­ports.

Pub­lic health of­fi­cials in the state said Tues­day that di­min­ished wa­ter levels in areas where res­id­ents rely on well wa­ter will likely in­tensi­fy the strength of ex­ist­ing ground­wa­ter con­tam­in­ants.

Ten com­munit­ies in the state have been iden­ti­fied to re­ceive im­me­di­ate as­sist­ance in the face of low wa­ter sup­plies, and state au­thor­it­ies are tak­ing ac­tion to link the com­munit­ies with lar­ger wa­ter reser­voirs so that they will not have to con­tin­ue to be re­li­ant on well wa­ter. But dozens of oth­er com­munit­ies may still be at risk.

“Small drink­ing wa­ter sys­tems are es­pe­cially vul­ner­able to drought con­di­tions,” the pub­lic health de­part­ment said on its web­site. “They have few­er cus­tom­ers, which can mean few­er op­tions in terms of re­sources like fund­ing and in­fra­struc­ture.”


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