Some California Homes Haven’t Had Running Water for Months

At least 700 households in one California county do not have running water in their homes anymore

California’s severe and devastating drought, now in its third year, is hurting residents more than ever, reports The New York Times.

In Tulare County, hundreds of residents have been without running water for months, and can’t so much as wash their hands without using a bucket, not to mention drink a glass of water, flush the toilet, or do the laundry.

“You don’t think of water as privilege until you don’t have it anymore,” Yolanda Serrato, a resident of Tulare County told The New York Times. “We were very proud of making a life here for ourselves, for raising children here. We never ever expected to live this way.”

Hundreds of homes in this particular county use water wells, which are treated as private property. The land is unincorporated and does not belong to a municipal water system.

State officials estimate that “at least 700 households have no access to running water, but acknowledge that there could be hundreds more,” reports The New York Times.

The county recently installed a 5,000-gallon tank of water in front of a local fire station, and plans to install another.

 “We will give people water as long as we have it, but the truth is, we don’t really know how long that will be,” said Andrew Lockman of the Tulare County Office of Emergency Services. “We can’t offer anyone a long-term solution right now. There is a massive gap between need and resources to deal with it.”

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Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.