Tassajara Valley running out of water options

TASSAJARA VALLEY, Calif. (KGO) -- A rural East Bay community is waking up to a new world -- a world without water. About 100 families have seen their wells dry up, and now their only other source has been cut off.

Tucked between Blackhawk and Dublin, you'll find a corner of country called Tassajara Valley.

"It's such a beautiful, beautiful area," said resident Valli Bowman.

About 100 properties make up this slice of paradise. Each deals with the same water problem.

"When it comes to any water agency, we've been named no man's land," Bowman said.

Up until now, Bowman has sustained her family and horses with a 150-foot well. As the drought deepens, members of her community are starting to see their wells run dry.

"We're just wanting to survive," said resident Sandy Johnson.

Sandy Johnson says her well pumps less than a third of a gallon per minute. She used to augment her water supply through East Bay MUD. But two months ago, Tassajara Valley's access was cut off. They're now left with few feasible options.

"Even the haulers, the commercial haulers are losing their right to deliver us water and I'm losing sleep over it," Johnson said.

"If we're not able to go to our normal sources, it's like, what do we do now?" said resident Octavio Ricart.

EBMUD says although Tassajara Valley residents had tapped into the water district's hydrants for years, that was always unauthorized use.

"It's a very difficult situation, but legally we cannot allow access to customers outside of our service area," said EBMUD spokesperson Tracie Morales.

Morales says EBMUD must prioritize its 1.4 million customers. And there's nothing the district can do to help the 100 families in Tassajara Valley.

"Someone needs to be able to call an emergency and say these folks need water just to survive," Johnson said.

And as the drought continues, no one knows how long they can last on land without water.

At this point, Tassajara Valley residents are considering trucking in water from Pittsburg. They say it could cost them up to $2,000 a month.

For water rebate information from Bay Area water suppliers, click here. And click here for tips on how to conserve.

For full coverage on the drought, click here.
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