A mobile laundry trailer will be coming soon to drought-stricken East Porterville so residents whose wells have gone dry can wash their clothes.
That is the plan of United Way of Tulare County, which obtained $90,000 in private donations to fund the project for one year.
Western States Petroleum Association and the California League of Latin American Citizens is donating the money.
Because the water to supply the laundry trailer would come from neighboring Porterville, the Porterville City Council must approve it.
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The council met Feb. 2 but took no action.
City staff recommended approval, but council members said more information, including the amount of water expected to be used, is needed to make a decision. The matter will be on the next agenda in two weeks.
The project got a boost last week when the Tulare County Board of Supervisors agreed to fund ongoing utility costs for the project of less than $1,000 a month.
Housing 10 washers and 10 dryers, the trailer is expected to be in use by the end of February. Plans are to place it at Iglesia Emmanuel Church, where a portable shower trailer already is in use and hooked up to city water.
People weren’t able to wash their clothes. They didn’t want to use up their allotment.
Rosemary Caso, executive director of United Way of Tulare County
More than 900 wells have gone dry in the Porterville area, according to the county. The Drought Resource Center in East Porterville has signed up more than 700 families for drought assistance, while United Way and Community Services Employment Training have signed up another 200.
Many East Porterville homes have water storage tanks in their front yards plumbed to their homes. The tanks are filled periodically by water haulers, and 50 gallons per person per day is allotted under county and nonprofit group programs.
1,710Residential wells that have gone dry in Tulare County
Residents have told the Drought Resource Center that it’s enough for cooking and bathing but not for anything more, said Rosemary Caso, executive director of United Way of Tulare County.
“People weren’t able to wash their clothes,” Caso said. “They didn’t want to use up their allotment.”
But going to the laundromat with multiple loads of laundry costs more than some families can afford.
“It’s about $4 to wash and dry one load of laundry,” Caso said. “It adds up.”
East Porterville residents who qualify could use the washers and dryers for free.
How to help
“The CRC Challenge” is a crowdsourcing initiative to raise money for installing portable water tanks at homes of residents who don’t qualify under other programs. California Resources Corp., an oil and gas producer, donated seed money to launch it. Donations can be made at the United Way of Tulare County website, www.unitedwaytc.org/the-crc-challenge.html.