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Drinking Water for 17 California Communities About to Run Dry?

Warning issued as drought continues to grip the state

- Andrea Germanos, staff writer

A dried up area of the Folsom Lake reservoir in northern California. (Photo: Mr.Morgan.Murphy/cc/flickr) Officials in drought-stricken California on Tuesday announced 17 communities that could run out of water in 100 days or less.

The list compiled by the California Department of Public Health comes as a result of Gov. Brown's declaration two weeks ago of a drought State of Emergency.

According to the CDPH, the rural communities on the list range in size from 39 to approximately 11,000 Californians.

The San Jose Mercury News reports that

Most of the affected water districts have so few customers that they can't charge enough money to pay for backup water supplies or repair failing equipment, leaving them more vulnerable to drought than large urban areas.

"As the severe drought continues, we’re working with impacted communities to identify alternative water sources and additional resources," CDPH Director Dr. Ron Chapman said.

Where those alternative water resources will be is unclear.

2013 was California's driest year since 1895, according to data complied by NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.

According to the most recent Drought Monitor, almost 99 percent of the state's area is experiencing some level of drought, and over 67 percent of the state is classified as suffering "Extreme" or "Exceptional"drought.

According to meteorologist Jeff Masters, "This is the first time since the Drought Monitor product began in 2000 that a portion of California was put into 'Exceptional Drought,'" a category currently plaguing almost 9 percent of the state.

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