Portable showers set up in Porterville after wells run dry due to drought

PORTERVILLE, Calif. (KFSN) -- Hot showers are now available for a South Valley community where hundreds of water wells have run dry.

"I think it's something that you and I -- and a lot of the world -- takes for granted," said Andrew Lockman, Tulare County Office of Emergency Services.

Tulare County opened 26 showers on Monday in East Porterville. They've been planning for several weeks to bring more help to the area devastated by the drought. Running water isn't normally considered a luxury, but for those whose wells have gone dry in East Porterville, this is a welcome sight.

"A lot of people have no water right now so its good," said Lourdes Serrato, well running dry.

Nearly 600 homes in the area have no water. Tulare County Office of Emergency Services has brought in portable units offering free, hot showers to anyone in the community.

For Lourdes Serrato, the temperature doesn't matter. "I don't care I just want to take a shower"

The showers are based at Iglesia Emmanuel Church. Most days they open at 5:00 a.m., except Sunday they open at 1:00 p.m. Private security has been hired to monitor the showers along with a janitorial staff to keep them clean. Tulare county will be paying up to $30,000 each month to keep them open.

Emergency Services manager Andrew Lockman says they have been concerned about people taking cold sponge baths through winter months. "We're hopeful that we'll see a lot of people use this; that we're providing some normalcy -- restoring some quality of life for these folks"

People will need to bring their own soap and towels, but for the first time in months, they can have confidence that when they turn the faucet, water will stream out.

Tulare County plans to keep the showers in place for the next 6 months.
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