On a brutal summer day, one California town ran out of water. Then the fire came

LA Times

Juan Zetina stands outside his burned home in East Orosi, southeast of Fresno. When a small fire ignited Tuesday, there was no water to put it out. (Diana Marcum / Los Angeles Times)

EAST OROSI, Calif. — It had been predicted and feared.

It finally happened on a brutally hot summer day: One of California’s communities with contaminated, sputtering wells and dropping water tables ran completely out of water.

There is a state mandate to consolidate such water systems with larger nearby communities by 2024. But that wasn’t soon enough for East Orosi, an unincorporated Tulare County hamlet southeast of Fresno.

The water went off Tuesday afternoon. A temporary fix allowed the water to run sporadically on Wednesday.

By then, a family had lost their home to a fire they had no water to fight. Children had spent a day scrambling to keep pets and livestock from dying. And in this community that already depends on bottled water for drinking, everyone knew the taps could soon go dry again.

Publish : 2022-07-14 20:32:00

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