Vincentian experience of no water in the US

by | May 21, 2013 | Vincentian Family | 3 comments

Georgia - waterIn what amounts to a case study of the importance of water even in the United States, a former Daughter of Charity  is forced to empty life savings for running water. Follow her story of how it cost more than $50,000 to end a month without water and get water running again… for now.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Nev. (KRNV & — You’d be hard pressed to find someone who appreciates water as much as Georgia Hedrick.

“You start to realize how much you need this stuff,” Hedrick, 73, said. Last month, with one turn of a faucet, life as she and her husband knew it, stopped. “Air and spits of water came out and I thought, “Ah oh, we’re in big trouble,'” Hedrick said.

Hedrick, like many of the neighbors who call rural Golden Valley home, live on independent wells for water. When an inspection of her 118-foot well showed the water level had dropped 10 feet below the pump, the solution seemed simple.

“Oh we’ll just drill. We went down to 600 feet and there was no sustainable amount of water and they said you have the deepest well in the valley and it’s not producing,” Hedrick said.
Days without water, turned to weeks.

“I can’t wash clothes because we don’t have the washer running and I’ve been using the same dishwater over and over and I empty it at the end of the day (just) like the toilets, which is not pretty. We just use trash bags,” Hedrick said. “I try not to cry too much because I need every drop of water that’s in me.”

Inevitable tears come from added frustration over why the well has unexplainably gone dry. Since 1990, Hedrick and others on private wells have been paying a monthly charge of roughly $22 to Washoe County for what’s called a water recharge program to help declining water levels.

The Hedrick’s only resolution from the company that checked her well was to install a 17-thousand gallon storage tank. “It’s my husband’s IRA cashed out, it’s my IRA cashed out, in total. It’s all our savings and it is a second mortgage on the house to pay for this. It is upwards of $50,000 to pay for this,” Hedrick said.

Smith insists the recharge program is working. “It has been in place since 1990, so it’s been in place for 25 years and it has brought value to the residents and that’s why we continue to do it, that’s why they continue to pay for it because it does bring that value,” Smith said.

“I don’t know who’s being recharged, it is not us and I’ve paid,” Hedrick responded.  After five weeks of living off bottled water and showering at a local gym, the tank was installed and the nightmare was over.  Hedrick now worries which neighbor’s well will go dry, next.

“It’s serious, it’ll develop and I believe it’s serious. Time will tell you. If they say it’s just my well, I’m sorry, that’s a dream.”


  1. georgia hedrick

    Water is more important than oil or gold or gas or anything you can imagine. Without water, life dies. Living 5 weeks without running water is a frightening condition, I can tell everyone that. Water is precious.

    To all persons who just MUST HAVE A LAWN, I say: you are a ‘watersucker’!!! Go buy astroturf, if you must have a green rug outside. In my book, LAWN is an evil four letter word in the desert.

    I know that the info in the above report came from what the news report said. But the News Report was inaccurate in some of its numbers and that really, really bothers me. The water level, first of all in 2013, was at 198 ft, not 118 ft. (In 2002, the water level was at 118.)
    That’s one errata on the part of the News.
    The second one is the size of the outdoor tank we have now buried in our yard: it is 1700 gallons. The News says 17000 gal–WRONG.

    I called the news people on their inacurracies. They said they are just quoting me, but I gave them a chart that showed the facts!!! They do not admit being inaccurate.

    The real bottom line is: water is necessary to life. In the desert, where Nevada is, water is mostly in the form of underground water. We should conserve it. (People with lawns in the desert are misusing our most precious resource.)

    I am reading a book about Bernadette of Lourdes. I was reading it during those 5 long weeks and it hit me: the gift Mary gave to the people was a fresh flowing spring of water!

    And, btw, our standing water level as of today is 210 feet below ground. The flow is only 3.5 gal/min. It is that flow that builds up in the storage tank, and delivers it to the house and to the drip system for trees.

    When we bought this house in 1985, the water level was about 100 feet or less down and the flow was 15 to 20 gal/min. But that was 28 years ago.

    Thank you, Padre, for letting others know what it is like without water–if only for awhile.

  2. jbf

    Dear Georgia, thanks for giving us the facts! PS Problems such as this always become more real when we know someone who faces them.

  3. georgia hedrick

    Now if only I could make the LAWN addicts of the desert realize: we are all on one big chunk of groundwater and we must share carefully. (But then, that would be like make all the corporations of the world realize, we are all on one earth–amd we must use its resources carefully.)

    In short, this Valley we live in, is just a microcosm of the mindset of the whole world. I’m thinking of passing out flyers to the LAWN ADDICTS…but I must write it ever so carefully…gh

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