Aug 25, 2014 8:08 PM by Charlene Cheng
In the last 36 years living in their house in Cottonwood, Ana and Richard Frank never thought they would hit rock bottom, literally.
"The neighbors behind us now are pumping dirt in their water, which means that they're right at the bottom of their well," Ana said.
They thought they had access to all the water they would ever need from the aquifer through their well, but this could be the canary in the coalmine.
"It's a sign that there's no water, the water table is below their well. We always thought that we had plenty of water," Ana said.
The lack of groundwater is a serious issue for residents.
The Franks feel lucky that their well is drilled 120 feet down.
But, although the taps haven't yet run dry, they've already put hundreds of dollars in water saving measures for their home.
They've replaced the swamp cooler with an air conditioner, let the lawns go brown, and even built a special room to store food.
"We put a bucket in the shower to put the water in until it gets warm. We take that out and water the trees with it," Ana said.
Most years, rain and snowmelt replenish groundwater faster than it's being pumped.
But during a drought like this one, all bets are off.
"Everyone needs to conserve. It's not a choice at this time. It's something that we have to do. If we don't, we're all going to be out of water," Ana said.
Those who can afford the price are drilling deeper wells to tap into the aquifer.
The Franks say that this is an action they would consider, but they were told that there's a three-month waiting period with drilling companies in the area.