Aug 26, 2020

Fairmead, California, Faces Water Scarcity Concerns

California residents in Madera County could lose water service. 


well water, water scarcity

Fairmead, California, residents may lose water service since the town’s only community well is showing signs it may fail. 

The well may fail before a new one can be built, according to the Bee

Fairmead’s water crisis first made the news in 2015, when research indicated almond orchards were a culprit of major water usage, besides the drought. 165 Fairmead households utilize the community water well and hundreds of others in town use private wells, which all rely on groundwater.

The Madera County Board of Supervisors approved an engineering contract to design and manage upgrades to the system, which includes a new well to serve more than 500 people connected to the community water system.

The construction of the well will begin sometime in 2021, according to the board.  

According to Self-Help Enterprises, which provides emergency interim water to Fairmead, more than a dozen private wells in Fairmead have gone dry in the last three years. 

Residents in the community were ordered to stop watering outside in July, which is a Stage 4 water restriction, reported the Bee. This order was meant to reduce demand on the well.

One resident reported that foamy and brown water spurted from her faucet. 

If the well fails, the county is able to turn on a test well for emergency supply. This option may not provide too much water in the long run, however. 

“We are trying to push forward knowing the community is on stage 4,” said Andrea Saldate, deputy director of county Public Works. “We are asking that the community adhere to that stage 4 and to eliminate all outdoor water use so that way we can keep them in water.”

According to Matt Treber, community development director of county Public Works, there is no indication the well will fail, reported the Bee. Treber maintains that the main reason the well was not drilled earlier is because the state required the system to include installing meters as part of the project, so Madera county had to expand the scope of the work.

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