Has California's Drought Worsened Water Contamination?

AZUSA, CA - JANUARY 22: The sun shines over the dry upper reaches of San Gabriel Reservoir in the Angeles National Forest on January 22, 2014 in near Azusa, California. Now in its third straight year of drought conditions, California is experiencing its driest year on record, dating back 119 years, and reservoirs throughout the state have low water levels. Unseasonable dangerous wildfire weather helped spread the nearby 1,952-acre Colby Fire which firefighters are about to contain but not before it destroyed five homes, damaged 17 others and injured six people. Gov. Jerry Brown officially declared a drought emergency on Friday to speed up assistance to local governments, streamline water transfers and potentially ease environmental protection requirements for dam releases.  (National Journal)

Severe drought in California is putting rural communities at risk for increased incidence of drinking-water contamination, Reuters reports.

Public health officials in the state said Tuesday that diminished water levels in areas where residents rely on well water will likely intensify the strength of existing groundwater contaminants.

Ten communities in the state have been identified to receive immediate assistance in the face of low water supplies, and state authorities are taking action to link the communities with larger water reservoirs so that they will not have to continue to be reliant on well water. But dozens of other communities may still be at risk.

"Small drinking water systems are especially vulnerable to drought conditions," the public health department said on its website. "They have fewer customers, which can mean fewer options in terms of resources like funding and infrastructure."