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Neighborhood Well Running Dry

In Madera County's Parkwood neighborhood, drought conditions have forced outdoor watering restrictions to be put in place.
In Madera County, extreme drought conditions are putting a strain on a well that approximately 3,000 people rely on for water.

The water table has declined so much, county engineers have been forced to place outdoor watering restrictions on more than 600 homeowners.

Charles and Anne Marie Williams are just one couple in the Parkwood neighborhood worried about their lush, green landscape.

"If it's not here we're going to miss it drastically," said Charles Williams, a homeowner.
     
Over the years, Charles has plunked about $5,000 into his plants and shrubs.  He's placed all of the vegetation on a drip system.

"I've got timers for every faucet, every hose," said Williams.
     
But due to the county placing Parkwood in stage 4 water restrictions, Charles can't water them at all.  If he does, he faces fines which range between $75 and $175.

"It's sad.  Makes me feel really sad," said Williams.

The big problem is Parkwood's well, which has gone down three times in the last three weeks.

"The groundwater table is getting low to where the pump is at and it's sucking air," said Kheng Vang, a Madera Co. engineer.

Engineer, Kheng Vang, says the well is 40-years old and wearing out.  If too much of a strain is put on it, it can't maintain adequate pressure for the entire neighborhood.

"It's all about the priorities and having enough water to take a shower, cook a meal, flush a toilet is priority one," said Vang.

Luckily, hookups to the city's water system sit just 35 feet up the street.  If the county gets permission, it will temporarily tap into it for the people of Parkwood to use while their well is repaired.

"Once the well is back on and running, we could look at going back to a stage 3 which is going back to outdoor watering two days a week," said Vang.
     
But the possibility of that could be another three months away and the Williams' plants likely won't survive that long.

"Unfortunately it's been poor planning and everyone here is going to have to live with the consequences," said Anne Marie Williams.

The county has applied for state and federal grants totaling $3 million.  If they can secure that money, the county will drill a second well and install water meters.
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