Parched California town risks running out of water

LAKE OF THE WOODS, Calif. — On Fir Drive, in this tiny mountain town in Kern County in the usually lush Los Padres National Forest, there were no signs of lawns.
Sharon McGinley washed her truck with Windex and paper towels, while her 5-year-old grandson, Jacob, insisted on playing on a dusty lot crawling with ants.
“We can’t water, we can’t wash our cars,” she said. “I’ve never seen it this bad — ever.”
That is saying a lot, coming from a 30-year-plus resident of this unincorporated community that attracts retirees, vacationers and anyone eager to escape the smog and traffic of Los Angeles, about 75 miles south.
Lake of the Woods is running out of water. Caught in a statewide water emergency in the third year of what is fast becoming a historic drought, it is one of seven small areas in California with a dubious distinction — it could run out of potable water by summer. That has made living here difficult, and coping with a dire shortage has forced residents to make difficult choices, which a much larger swath of California could also face if the drought worsens.

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(Photo: Matt Black/The New York Times/Redux)

Parched California town risks running out of water

LAKE OF THE WOODS, Calif. — On Fir Drive, in this tiny mountain town in Kern County in the usually lush Los Padres National Forest, there were no signs of lawns.

Sharon McGinley washed her truck with Windex and paper towels, while her 5-year-old grandson, Jacob, insisted on playing on a dusty lot crawling with ants.

“We can’t water, we can’t wash our cars,” she said. “I’ve never seen it this bad — ever.”

That is saying a lot, coming from a 30-year-plus resident of this unincorporated community that attracts retirees, vacationers and anyone eager to escape the smog and traffic of Los Angeles, about 75 miles south.

Lake of the Woods is running out of water. Caught in a statewide water emergency in the third year of what is fast becoming a historic drought, it is one of seven small areas in California with a dubious distinction — it could run out of potable water by summer. That has made living here difficult, and coping with a dire shortage has forced residents to make difficult choices, which a much larger swath of California could also face if the drought worsens.

Continue reading

(Photo: Matt Black/The New York Times/Redux)

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