Drought Leaves Couple High and Dry

no waterTULARE COUNTY, Calif. (CNN) — For nearly two months, an elderly couple in Tulare County, California has had no running water in their home.

The couple’s family installed water tanks, which they fill several times a week, but it’s certainly not enough.

This is now Carmen Almanza’s daily routine.

“It gets dirty, but then it’s just to flush the toilets, you know,” Almanza said. “I have to pour it in here so it can go down.”

Life without running water was never on Almanza’s bucket list. But just about everywhere in her house are bottles, pitchers and other containers of water. Almost none of it is running from the tap. So paper plates and cups are about the only thing that they use to eat.

“I cannot wash, no laundry. We cannot take showers, so we go to our kids to go shower in their homes,” Almanza said.

Almanza and her husband, Al, will both turn 80 very soon. Al has physical problems, so he can’t lug the buckets or huge bottles of water in and around the house.

“Yeah, I’m the one that has to do it,” Almanza said.

She’s done this every day, all day, since April.

“Frustrating? Yes it is. I try not to show it because he gets more frustrated than I do, because he wants to help me but he can’t,” Carmen said

“There’s no money. There’s no jobs. I can’t work. I can’t move. Now what? I have to depend on my wife,” Al said.

The Almanzas have a 75 foot deep well that in 30 years on their property has never run dry.

“Water was just dripping, like it is now. And then all of the sudden it stopped and there’s no more water,” Carmen said.

Digging a deeper 200 foot well will cost the Almanzas about $15,000-20,000. That money just isn’t available.

Carmen says she’s spent hours on the phone trying to find assistance. In the meantime, the tanks out front and drum on the porch will have to do.

The Almanzas are doing everything they can to come up with the money to dig that deeper well. Family members are even selling food and have created an online campaign. We have information for that is on our website and mobile apps.

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