Rental Complex on State Water Watch List Not Yet Dry

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One of the 17 state water systems in danger of running out of water in the next 90 to 120 days still has usable water for its residents, but things might change if drought continues for residents of Ophir Gardens.

Nestled in the community of Ophir, just west of Auburn, the 16 unit complex is served by a single well which feeds two 4,000 gallon water tanks.  The pump is squeezing a gallon of water a minute from the depleted well, which is why county and state public health officials put it on list of communities that are in a water emergency.

They range from systems that serve 33 people to water districts that serve 11,000 customers.  Smaller communities often don’t have the money or resources to develop back-up water supplies.

The property manager at Ophir Gardens says they’ve been filling the tanks with water that is trucked in. So far residents have not run out of water.  But tanker truck companies have contracts with fire services so deliveries might be hard to come by during the up-coming fire season.

Residents have been dealing with the problem for a year, so they’ve been conserving water long before a drought emergency was declared by the governor.  The ideal solution is to hook up the cottages in the complex with the Placer County Water Agency, but that requires running 2,000 feet of pipe at a cost of around $1 million.

The water agency has explored filing for state grants and the owner has said she could come up with around $130 thousand, but that is far short of what is required.  More rain and snow would raise the water table and make the well viable again, but given weather forecasts, that could be a long way off.

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