As drought drives prices higher, millions of Californians struggle to pay for water
By: Katherine J. Kuehn
Updated: Dec 21, 2015 – 8:31 PM
Katherine J. Kuehn
Drought-parched areas of the state continue to struggle to pay for water, causing a growing number of Californians to worry they could run out of water anytime soon.
“I think we’ll have to have a lot of rain to get water back to the places we need it,” said Ed Levey, who just retired as the executive director of the North Kern Water Authority and is worried about running out of water. “I’ve had many conversations and they all go the same way: ‘We’d get water again, but then what? What’s the point?’ “
But Levey’s fears come despite the fact that water providers say they have enough water for years, even decades. But they are still forced to take the same, expensive precautions that keep Californians hooked up to their faucets.
“We always have to take water. We are always going to have to take water,” said Dora Sanchez, the water authority’s chief operating officer. “We are also the custodians of our water and we need to continue to take care of it until we have no more water. And we need water to meet our needs when we need it. It’s a delicate balance over time.”
Water authority officials report that the state now needs about 200 million gallons less water than it did in the 1980s, but they say with enough rain and snow to fall last winter, they could have enough water for at least another century.
But this is not a new conversation. California citizens have been worrying about the state’s dwindling water supply for more than a decade. In 2000, the California Drought Monitor noted that water use was at a record high. A year