Drought-stricken California resort Mendocino uses porta pots and water deliveries by train to survive


People come to Mendocino, California, a historic city in the far north of the state for water, located on a rugged and scenic stretch of the misty Pacific Coast. But soon there may be no more water coming to Mendocino, thanks to the terrible drought caused by the climate crisis in the West.

The villagers resorted to porta pots, watering the plants with dishwater, and truckloading of fresh water at exorbitant prices to survive, but soon even that might not be enough. , the latest blow to a tourist town which is already struggling to recover from the Covid. pandemic.

“The city in general is in terrible, terrible shape,” said Helen Mackenzie, manager of the city’s Blair Inn. The independent. “More than 25% of the city’s wells have dried up. Everyone in the village of Mendocino is on a well. Many companies already have to deliver water.

To do this, local residents and business owners have to pay huge sums to have trucks deliver water to them on a regular basis. Julian Lopez, owner of Café Beaujolais, a French restaurant, told CBS he pays $ 3,600 per month for water delivery. Restaurants have also stopped serving water to customers unless they ask for it.

But even those regular water lifelines can dry up, with neighboring large cities like Fort Bragg limiting or preventing water deliveries to places like Mendocino. City officials said they were considering bringing in water by train.

If that happens, Mendocino, which lacks a central water supply system and instead relies on a series of individual wells to supply homes and businesses, could face the prospect feared by all. Western cities: completely running out of water.

The situation is reminiscent of the many braided crises facing the United States. The climate crisis is exacerbating extreme weather conditions and drought, while the Covid crisis devastates both public health and the economy of places dependent on tourism. When these forces all combine, as in Mendocino, the effect is particularly acute.

” It’s a touristic town. If there is not enough water for hostels to keep running and restaurants to keep running, it will be as before during Covid, and it will have an economic impact, ”Ms. Mackenzie continued. “Pray for the rain. This is beyond the control of any government or federal agency whatsoever. This is about drought, which of course, climate change is causing drought. It doesn’t look good.

Homes and businesses have been asked to reduce their water consumption by up to 40%. The Blair Inn has started bringing their laundry to another city to be laundered so as not to reduce their official water allocation.

Meredith Smith, who owns several restaurants in the city, including the Mendocino Cafe, says the region’s reliance on tourism is putting it at a standstill amid a drought and pandemic. The city is wooing visitors with water-hungry amenities like hotels and restaurants, but in order for the city to remain functional, they have had to reduce their water consumption. On top of that, Covid precautions like regular cleaning and hand washing also rely on constant use of water.

“They are inextricable right now, the effects of both on any type of hospitality industry. They are one woven thing, ”she said. “If you want to be a person who serves people, [visitors] will come and say, “Can we use the toilet?” You cannot encourage tourism and act like they don’t have the right to have bodies.

The dire water situation across California prompted authorities at the State Water Resources Control Board in Sacramento to begin compiling a master list of the 7,500 public water systems facing the most shortages. more serious. To date, 81 systems are on the list, serving over 130,000 people.

Ms Smith takes the situation as a sign that the company needs to change the way it uses its resources, and quickly, while not leaving the less fortunate.

“The planet needed to receive this message,” she said. “You can’t leave people homeless. You can’t leave people without water. You cannot burn the bridge if you are the last to cross it.


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