Water woes continue for drought-stricken East Porterville despite Gov. Brown declaration

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Many people in East Porterville had no choice but to flush toilets with buckets and use bottled water to eat and drink. (KFSN)

The drought is now over for most of California, according to Gov. Jerry Brown's declaration Friday. But that doesn't change much for some areas like the drought-stricken community of East Porterville.

Flowing streams, rivers and the rain - it's a much welcome change in East Porterville. In fact, 300 hundred homes in the area have already been attached to city lines thanks to the emergency water project.

That's phase one, but the trouble for some people in the South Valley community, a few months of rain doesn't erase five years of suffering.

"We're just trying to take it one day at a time, to be honest," CSET executive director Mary Alice Escarsega-Fechner said.

Many people in East Porterville had no choice but to flush toilets with buckets and use bottled water to eat and drink. Even now, heavy rainfall doesn't mean there's running water.

"Because their wells still haven't come back," Escarsega-Fechner said.

CSET says they're one of many groups trying to connect a remaining 500 homes to the city's water system. Earlier Friday, the State Water Resources Control Board approved $35 million to help East Porterville residents with dry and contaminated wells.

The money will be used to construct a new water distribution system in case the community faces problems again.

"We're hopeful that the rain continues, but we do understand that the impact is much more long-term than just one season of rain," Escarsega-Fechner said.

It comes the same day Brown says California's Emergency Drought is officially over. Counties all across the state no longer face water restrictions expect for Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Tuolumne. But the memory of dry skies still remains.

"In this drought, we learned how much we can save outdoors," Felicia Marcus with the California State Water Board said. "People learned how much less they really need."

Because in some places, the choice of conservation is still not an option.
Related Topics:
newstulare countydroughtjerry brownPorterville
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