The community of Tecopa, California sits along the Amargosa River. Home to some 150 desert dwellers, it is rich in groundwater resources, with numerous hot and cool springs and wells throughout town. Much of the water in these wells does not meet EPA standards for arsenic or flouride, elements which are naturally abundant in the groundwater. While some had been drinking the water for their entire lives and continued doing so to the present, others would make the 40 mile one-way drive to Pahrump, Nevada to get clean drinking water.
A team composed of the Amargosa Conservancy, the Inyo-Mono Integrated Regional Water Management Program, the Inyo County Water Department, and the Southern Inyo Fire Protection District has been collaboratively working to obtain funding and execute projects to get clean drinking water to the community of Tecopa. A water delivery program currently underway is an interim solution while a permanent drinking water station is under construction. This station will consist of a filtration system at a well, and a vending machine to dispense low-cost drinking water to residents and visitors alike.
This project is discussed in the excellent documentary by Bristlecone Media called “Living in the Rain Shadow”: