By Elizabeth Zach, RCAC staff writer

California dought landscapeInsecure supplies and water contamination in disadvantaged rural communities are particularly threatening in times of drought, according to the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC).

“Rural residents are more vulnerable to running out of water during droughts because they are more likely to rely solely on groundwater from small community wells or domestic wells,” writes Alvar Escriva-Bou about the PPIC’s new report that examines drought management in a changing climate. “These wells tend to be relatively shallow, so they are susceptible to running dry when pumping lowers groundwater levels.”

The report’s authors offer two ideas to reduce these risks. Rural communities should develop drinking water plans and identify durable funding resources. And rural community leaders should ensure groundwater sustainability plans include mitigation actions for dry drinking wells.

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