Working to Help Families Impacted by Drought

Working to Help Families Impacted by Drought

Posted on July 29, 2021

The San Joaquin Valley, known for its bountiful lands that produce a large portion of the country’s food supply, is experiencing the drastic effects of a worsening drought and record-breaking temperatures that have left many rural families with dry wells. While many of us take for granted the ability to turn on our tap water without an ounce of worry, the sad reality for families with dry wells is that they are unable to cook, unable to feed their family, unable to bathe and carry on with basic hygiene necessities.

In April, Governor Newsom officially declared a ‘drought emergency’ for the region. This month, the Governor signed an Executive Order calling on all Californians to voluntarily reduce their water use by 15 percent and suggested we do so by reducing the amount of landscape irrigation, running dishwashers, and washing machines only when full, installing water-efficient showerheads and taking shorter showers.

Since March, SHE’s Emergency Services (ES) drought response team has worked around the clock to address the influx of calls and emails from community members faced with drought devastation.

“Currently we have 395 active tanks on the ground, which we are hauling water to weekly,” said Marliez Diaz, Water Sustainability Manager for SHE’s ES division. “The residents are able to use this water to resume normal household activities and it should not be used to water lawns or large animals. We will continue to listen to the needs of our residents and are working to be proactive and plan ahead as much as possible.”

“It’s absolutely amazing and honestly we never thought there was an organization that would help us when our well went dry,” said Laurel Boylan, a water tank participant in Clovis, CA. “We found this amazing organization through social media, and we were divinely led to water access again.”

Reflecting SHE’s mission to build and sustain healthy homes and communities, the Emergency Services team strives to support community sustainability by educating our most vulnerable populations about how to properly prepare for natural disasters such as drought, fire, flood and earthquake. The program also helps families receive urgent access to clean water and help with water well replacement and water filtration services as needed.

“The past five years California has been rocked with devastation due to natural disasters, as well as the COVID19 pandemic,” said Tami McVay, SHE’s Assistant Program Director of Partner Services. “Our state funds for disaster response are limited. It is vital to our economy and utterly important that private well owners have their wells inspected to ensure sustainability. For every dollar spent on preparedness, four dollars is saved in response. SHE is taking a proactive approach towards drought resiliency and climate change. Let us help you be prepared.”

“During the previous severe drought cycle we earned our reputation as first responders, and we are embracing the same role with the help of key partners such as the State Water Resources Control Board,” said Tom Collishaw, CEO of Self-Help Enterprises. “While we feel better prepared this time round, I fear this may become our new normal.”

Marliez explains that the best way to get assistance is by calling the drought support line at 559-802-1685 or by email at This will ensure that your request is addressed in a timely manner. Requests or questions submitted through Facebook or other platforms are susceptible to delayed responses.

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