'We're basically skimping by': West Marin residents say their water wells are nearly completely dry

Liz Kreutz Image
ByLiz Kreutz KGO logo
Wednesday, October 6, 2021
West Marin residents say their wells are nearly completely dry
In West Marin, some residents who rely solely on well water are reaching a tipping point where they could soon have no water left.

MARIN COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- In West Marin, some residents who rely solely on well water are reaching a tipping point where they could soon have no water left. Now the county is asking the county's water district to supply those families with water from the already depleting reservoirs.

"There are some days where if you're the last person to wake up, good luck flushing the toilet," Camellia Schinner, the sanctuary manager at Rancho Compación in Nicasio, told ABC7 News. "It's not great."

Schinner's family owns and operates Rancho Compación, an animal sanctuary, where they also live. They rely solely on their property's four wells for all their water.

"We're basically skimping by," she said of the depleting wells.

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She explained that her family has stopped much of their irrigation which has left their vineyards dry and olive trees, sadly, dead. Her family has also made changes in their home to conserve, too.

"We've been taking like one shower a week pretty much, and then doing just military style showers every other day and, you know, 'if it's yellow, let it mellow,'" Schinner added. "All of the classic water saving techniques that one must deploy when it's rough out there."

Schinner and her family are not alone. Many West Marin residents are finding their wells drying up to a point where they could completely run out of water. Marin County District 4 Supervisor Dennis Rodoni said the county is now asking Marin Water to supply water from the local reservoirs to these families.

"This program is for when you run out of water and have no other choice," Rodoni told ABC7 News.

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If the program passes on Tuesday night, Marin Water will provide the equivalent of 55 gallons of water per person per day to every applicable household. Marin County's reservoirs are also already depleting, but Rodoni said it will have a minimal impact on supply and, he said, there's not really another option.

"Some of the trucking costs have gone up over $1,000 for a truck-load of water recently, and that's up from two or three hundred from just a few months ago," Rodoni said. And even at that cost, customers are telling me they cant find additional water anywhere."

Schinner said she is just hoping for rain this fall and winter. Otherwise, it's scary to think about what could happen.

"It's not fun to think that you could be without water for, I don't know, a couple of weeks. a couple of months," she said. "Who knows?"