The small California community of Lompico is perilously close to running out of water.
The Lompico Water District, which serves just a few hundred customers in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, has been badly battered by the state’s record four-year-long drought, reports local CBS affiliate KPIX 5.
“We haven’t been able to draw from the creek for over a year because it just hasn’t been high enough,” water district director Merrie Schaller told the outlet. “So, it’s just been our wells.”
In addition to its water woes, the community is struggling with an even more important shortage: money. Lompico reportedly needs at least $3 million to replace aging infrastructure to ensure it remains solvent during the drought.
“While some people think it’s very cool to have our own water district, they tend to forget that we have the same costs as bigger districts and we only have 500 customers,” Schaller told CBS.
“With fewer people, there’s less money coming in,” operations technician Aidan Robinson added to the outlet. “And it’s an old [infrastructure] system.”
Lompico is hardly the only small community in California that has come dangerously close to completely running out of water: Breitbart News previously reported that water supplies in the town of Mountain House were devastated by curtailment orders earlier this year, while the unincorporated Outingdale community was forced to call a Stage 4 water emergency in May.
Santa Cruz County, where Lompico sits, had been at the forefront of battling the drought last year when it announced that water wasters who received hefty fines for overuse could attend “water school” in lieu of paying penalties.
In May of last year, the city of Santa Cruz implemented a mandatory rationing program to stave off depletion, limiting residents to just 249 gallons of water per day. The city ended its rationing program in December when two powerful storms soaked the area.