The Desert Sun has been doing a great series on California’s drought, but this is surely the most important of the stories. While the rest of California worries about a dwindling supply, some poor residents of the palmy, leafy, lawny Coachella Valley, playground of Southern California wealth, don’t have a safe drinking supply at all, drought or not:
Carmen Vargas has been buying bottled drinking water for more than 20 years. Like cooking, cleaning and gardening, it’s a weekly ritual of family life on her patch of the California dream.
Harmful, naturally-occurring contaminants such as arsenic have made it impossible for Vargas and her family to drink the well water pumped to the mobile home park near the San Jose Community Center in Thermal.
The only alternative is costly and inconvenient.
So every week Vargas, 66, journeys 13 miles to Cardenas Market in Coachella or 21 miles to Costco Wholesale in La Quinta, lugging 24-packs of bottled water and 5-gallon jugs to her car and then home, where she stores the rations of clean water in the living room.
And it’s not just Coachella. Poor water quality plagues poor communities. If drought is not having enough clean, safe water to do the things you need, these people are always in drought. Read the story.
update: Interesting comment from Peter Gleick
— Peter Gleick (@PeterGleick) April 25, 2015