Community of Teviston without reliable water source amid heat wave

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TULARE COUNTY, Calif.(KGPE)- About a month ago, the Tulare County town of Teviston had its main well run dry. Now, the town is relying on water being delivered via trucks on a daily basis while the well is repaired.

Roughy 700 people live in Teviston according to Frank Galaviz, a resident of Teviston for two decades and a director on the Teviston’s town board. He says on June 9, the well ran dry, and for three weeks he and other residents worked with the county and to find a solution.

“We didn’t have any water pressure or water for the houses to wash clothes, to bathe the kids, to flush the toilet,” Galaviz said. “All the normal things that you do.”

After the well ran dry, Teviston residents had relied on water donations from churches or going out of town and using their own money to buy water. 

“The majority of people here are farmworkers,” Galaviz said. “They’re out of pocket, having to go out of town to wash their clothes.”

Water is back on now thanks to a daily delivery through a nonprofit. Galaviz says several tanks are filled every day totalling 40,000 gallons of water for the residents. Filemon Sanchez who lives next door to the tanks says the three weeks without water before the tanks were operational was difficult. 

“This impacted us a lot,” Sanchez said. “Without water, using the bathroom was difficult. Our animals and plants were hurt not having water.”

Sanchez says when there was no running water, he had to make three trips on days when he needed water to fill his tanks. He is concerned about what the future might hold.

“We’re scared this might happen again,” he said “This has already happened two times before. The last time about 2 years ago.”

State Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D) represents Teviston in her district. She is championing legislation that she says would reinforce the Friant-Kern Canal, and help bring water to communities like Teviston. She says she knows action is needed now, however, and residents cannot wait for state bureaucracy. 

“Money is there to get another well for the community of Teviston,” Hurtado said. “That’s the urgent need and action to fully supply water to them, but we need to make sure that it doesn’t take 15 years to make something like that happen.”

Galaviz says he hopes to get the current well up and working next week but nothing is for certain. 

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