Juana Garcia, 49, a single mother, dresses her son Christopher Castro, 5, after taking him to the public showers at the Emmanuel Church in East Porterville, California. Christopher asks, "If we stop getting deliveries of water, are we gonna die?"

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The drought in California, going on four years, has hit the Central Valley harder then anywhere else in the state. The region depends on its agriculture, supporting the rest of America with its crops. 


Tulare County, an area in the middle of Central Valley, has more then 7,000 residents who lack running water. Of these residents, 75% percent of them live in East Porterville. Unlike many towns, with no central water system, East Porterville relies solely on private well water. 


After years of a drought, the water table has gone below normal, and many wells have gone dry. 


Residents of these homes, rely on deliveries of water from others or run water from a nearby neighbor. They use public showers, wash dishes with bottled water and do their laundry in the next town over.


Many families have abandoned or sold their houses as they fear that the problem is only getting worse.


Although the government and locals have come together to raise funds and gather donated water for the town, the drought has left the town disjointed. 

















Volunteers carry pallets of water to load into people's cars. Many residents of East Porterville have reported that their wells have gone dry but some are too scared to report it. They are illegal immigrants or non-native speakers who fear deportation. Emergency stations have been set up for these people so they can get water, no questions asked.

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Juana Garcia is not only a single mother of five but she suffers from Lupus, an autoimmune disease affecting the joints and organs. The drought, coupled with her illness, has her constantly stressed.

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Ruben Perez pours a bucket of non potable water into large buckets for his neighbors who have trouble accessing water. They use this water for laundry and washing dishes.


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Donna Johnson, a 72-year-old retired occupational therapist was one of the first to report a dry well in the Spring of 2014. Johnson says, "This drought doesn't just deplete the earth, it sucks the life out of everything. It just sucks you dry."

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Noemi Castro, 11, goes into her grandparents abandoned house to see if the water is still running. Her grandparents abandoned their property after realizing their well had gone dry.

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Getting a well drilled costs upwards of $7,000. Some people are digging their wells as far as 350 feet deep, hoping they will be safe.

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Donna Johnson looks through her phone, desperately trying to reach out to those who need water before the sun sets. She says, "We're going to need a miracle to solve this crisis."

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Paula Rodriguez moved to East Porterville to start a family with her wife and infant twins, but the everyday stress of not knowing if they will have enough water wears on her.

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Each household qualifies for a certain amount of water from the state, based on the number of people in the house. Often times, however, the water runs out before the state refills it.

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Families fill up buckets of potable water at the Doyle Colony Fire Station so they can take showers and flush their toilets. 

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Izekiel Armento, 54, has been a picker in East Porterville for over fifteen years. His well is trickling and he knows that he will have to move any day. 

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A television set sits outside an abandoned home. 

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A phone book sits untouched in front of a family home that has been abandoned due to the drought and lack of well water. 

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Amy McLoan puts on her makeup at the public showers in East Porterville. She takes her kids there every morning to wash up. 

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A yard that used to grow ripe with pears, lemons, and pomegranates, has now turned to dust.

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Vicky Sally Yorba, 95, has lived in East Porterville for over 60 years says, "In all my years, I have never seen a drought like this one." Yorba's well has gone dry and she isn't mobile enough to leave her house. She depends on others to bring her pallets of drinking water to survive.

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