Madera family finds federal aid to drill new well

MADERA, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Madera family whose well has run dry has found some relief through a federally funded program.

The recent rain has been very helpful but the four-year drought has caused thousands of valley wells to dry up. It happened to the Cabrera family of Madera but they'll soon have running water again.

84-year old Estanislao Cabrera, his wife Faustina and their daughters have been relying on water stored in a 2500 gallon tank. Cabrera told us through a translator, "It's been almost two years since they haven't had any water from this well."

Many wells in this Madera neighborhood near Colorado Avenue and Avenue 11 have been drying up. Cabrera explained, "When their well went dry their son hauled in water in barrels and that's what they used for tasks in the home."

The non-profit group Self-Help Enterprises helped the Cabrera family secure an $1800 grant for a new electrical panel and zero or one-percent USDA loans to cover the rest of the $28,000 cost for a new well. Self-Help Enterprises president Tom Collishaw said, "There's one loan at 1% that they have to make about a $50 a month payment on."

USDA Rural Development Undersecretary Lisa Mensah joined Rep. Jim Costa(D-Fresno) at the Cabrera home. Mensah said, "A family who through no fault of their own their well went dry. That's a reaction of the drought and so this was important for me to be able to see how our funds, that our existing programs work every day."

Cabrera said, "The family is very happy to be able to have this assistance."

Work on the Cabrera family's new 500 foot well was expected to begin in two weeks.

This year Self-Help Enterprises expected to help 100 other low-income families fund new wells.
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