Some well levels dropping

Chris Caskey, The Union Democrat /

With the Mother Lode deep in a three-year drought and surface water supplies on the decline, well users are being asked to conserve as wells in the area begin to dry up.

The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday continued a local state of emergency due to the extreme drought felt throughout the state. And during a discussion on water supply, board members and county staff said the lack of water has been showing up underground as well.

Environmental Health Director Rob Kostlivy said the county has seen a surge of drilling permit applications with some wells running dry this year. He noted that comes atopgeneral increase in drilling in recent years.

Well permits to replace dried wells or to dig existing wells deeper represented about 23 percent of the more than 70 well permits this year. In a typical year, Kostlivy said the county usually only gets "a couple" of those types of requests.

Kostlivy also said that number should increase as the year goes on.

Earlier in the year, many of the well permit requests were from property owners on public water who wanted an extra source for purposes like landscaping. But when water provider Tuolumne Utilities District scaled 50 percent water conversation requirement back to 25 percent, those requests dwindled.

"Now, we're seeing more and more folks who have actually run out of water," he said.

For the complete story, see the Aug. 6, 2014, edition of The Union Democrat.

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