Water wells drying up in California county

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People living and working in Glenn County say their wells are drying up, Sacramento’s KCRA News reports. That means that in the drought stricken county, residents, farms and businesses relying on well water have no clean drinking water and no plumbing.  Some families are having to get clean drinking water from county relief agencies.

“We had an abnormally dry year,” Amy Travis of  the Glenn County Office of Emergency Services told KCRA.  “After so many years of drought from 2014 to 2017, our groundwater wasn’t recharged.”

Glenn CountyOpens in a new tab. issued an emergency drought proclamation on June 1 and offers dry well reporting and emergency assistance programs on its website.

Dry Wells Throughout California.

Glenn CountyOpens in a new tab., a sparsely populated county of of  28,122 (as of the 2010 census) sits in the Sacramento Valley.  Elsewhere in the state, California reports on household water shortagesOpens in a new tab. and notes that “Water supply shortages are likely created by a much broader spectrum of causes than drought alone. Other causes, including aging infrastructure like corroded wells, groundwater basin overdraft, changes to weather patterns and climate, or even surface water and groundwater management decisions, can all have a role in causing a water supply shortage. These causes likely affect specific areas in unique ways versus being common throughout the State.”

Stealing Water.

High Country NewsOpens in a new tab. says that water theft is rising in California, with water taken illegally from rivers, streams and even fire hydrants.  Illegal marijuana farms are blamed for some of these thefts which affect towns having to impose water restrictions and struggling farmers trying to save their crops through legal means.  “Officials say water thefts are increasing at about the same rate as the decline in California’s water supplies. Complaints have risen sharply this year, mirroring the drought’s inexorable advance,” the magazine reports, adding that “With climate change driving longer and more severe droughts around the globe, researchers last year estimated that as much as half the world’s water supply is being stolen every year, citing statistics gathered by the United Nations and Interpol in EuropeOpens in a new tab.. “


Since 1995, Deborah has owned and operated LegalTech LLC with a focus on water rights. Before moving to Arizona in 1986, she worked as a quality control analyst for Honeywell and in commercial real estate, both in Texas. She learned about Arizona's water rights from the late and great attorney Michael Brophy of Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite. Her side interests are writing (and reading), Wordpress programming and much more.

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Justine Weber
Justine Weber
July 24, 2021 2:22 pm
My family is from Orland, CA which is in Glenn County and they are almond farmers who’s livelihood depend on water. This is heartbreaking to read. I hope the rain comes and ends this drought!
Laura Bove
Laura Bove
July 28, 2021 1:50 pm
I’ve never given thought to water theft. I must admit that I find it hard to believe that ‘as much as half the world’s water supply is being stolen every year’ could be accurate. That high of a percentage just seems outrageous to me. HALF of the WORLDS water supply! That is truly, truly scary.
August 6, 2021 8:29 pm
You know drought conditions are bad when water theft is involved. As much as half the world’s supply of water is being stolen is a high estimate. I’ve been reading that the drought conditions are not only in the West, but also the midwest- Minnesota has been in the news a lot lately, and the Northeast too.

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