Town Runs Low on Water Amid Drought


( – The northern California coastal city of Mendocino has seen its fair share of hardships in the last 18 months. The return to pre-pandemic life brought the popular tourist destination back to life with renewed economic vitality. However, a recent water shortage is wreaking havoc on the city’s residents and businesses since the reservoir that Mendicino relies on is drying up in the wake of a devastating drought.

California environmental engineer Jay Lund told CBS News, so far 2021 has been the third driest year on record. Unfortunately, with much of the summer remaining, conditions are likely to get worse. Ryan Rhoades, Mendocino’s groundwater services head, confirmed the situation is “dire, and it’s only getting worse.”

Mendocino businesses are already suffering the economic impact of the water shortage. Local restaurant owner Julian Lopez said he’s closed for business three days a week as part of an effort to conserve existing water supplies. A nearby inn reported it was paying about $600 a week for enough water to allow guests to shower.

As of August 3, the National Integrated Drought Information System reports that over 95% of California suffers from severe drought conditions. At that level, water supplies for grazing land are inadequate, fire season is extended and wildlife diseases increase. Additionally, the amount of water for human use becomes an alarming issue.

The USDA has designated 26 California counties as disaster zones, with roughly 37.3 million people in the state affected by water shortages. With any luck, California’s rainy season kicks in early this year.

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