California communities across the state could run out of water in the next few months because of the ongoing drought, officials said Tuesday.
Up to 17 communities, mostly rural, could completely dry out in the next 60 to 120 days if the drought does not end, the San Jose Mercury News reports. Some of the communities have been struggling with water problems for a while, but wells are running dry and reservoirs are low as the state comes out of one of the the driest years in the state’s history. Less rain fell in 2013 than in any year since California became a state in 1850.
Many of the dry neighborhoods are so sparsely populated that they can’t pay for equipment repair or backup water supply, which leaves them even more vulnerable to drought. Most of California’s major urban areas have invested in underground water storage, conservation programs, and water recycling plants, so the cities are not feeling the pinch quite yet.