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Some rural California residents doubt they’ll ever get clean water

The tiny town of El Adobe exemplifies the state’s struggles with contaminated water and aging infrastructure.

Photo courtesy of Martin do Nascimento for the California Health Report
Ramona Hernandez in her garden in El Adobe, California. Hernandez worries that contaminated tap water in the community could make her sick. Photo courtesy of Martin do Nascimento for the California Health Report
Kyle Wilkerson, President of the El Adobe Property Owners’ Association at the Well #1 in El Adobe, California. The well is one of two in the community, and was built in 1967. Photo courtesy of Martin do Nascimento for the California Health Report
Scott Taylor, General Manager of the Lamont Public Utility District at Well #13 in Lamont, which recently broke down after installation of a US$1 million treatment system for 123-TCP. Photo courtesy of Martin do Nascimento for the California Health Report
Cheryl and Edward Blackhawk outside their home in El Adobe, California. When they moved to the community four years ago, they thought the drinking water would be fixed within a year. Photo courtesy of Martin do Nascimento for the California Health Report
Defunct well water pipes stacked at the Lamont Public Utility District Well #13, which recently broke because of age. The district is waiting on funding to fix several of its wells so it can consolidate with nearby El Adobe. Photo courtesy of Martin do Nascimento for the California Health Report
View of a farm in the agricultural community of El Adobe, California. Photo courtesy of Martin do Nascimento for the California Health Report
Miguel Sanchez, member of the board of directors of the Lamont Public Utility District at the now-defunct Well #13 in Lamont. It’s one of several aging water wells in the city and in nearby El Adobe. Photo courtesy of Martin do Nascimento for the California Health Report
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Ensia

Ensia is a solutions-focused nonprofit media outlet reporting on our changing planet.