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Ensenada Declares State Of Emergency As Aquifers Dry Up

Aired 3/24/14 on KPBS News.

The severe drought affecting Baja California has forced Ensenada to ration water to residents and declare a state of emergency.

The government of Baja California has declared a state of emergency because of water shortages in the port city of Ensenada.

Just like in Southern California, Baja California is facing a serious drought. Ensenada gets all of its water from underground aquifers.

When no rain came to replenish them this winter, the state water supplier was forced to put Ensenada on a rationing system that started in January.

Most residents now only get water to their taps three times a week.

“It’s a big problem now,” said Cesar Guerrero, executive director of the Ensenada-based environmental organization Terra Peninsular. “And it’ll be a very, very, very big problem through the summer.”

Ensenada’s water crisis has been looming for decades, Guerrero said. Its urban population has grown rapidly, and the city increasingly competes for water with the nearby wine-growing region of Valle de Guadalupe.

Ensenada residents have left messages of outrage on the Facebook page of the state water supplier.

Some said they hadn’t had water for a week. One person simply wrote: “I want to bathe already” — followed by three exclamation points.

Authorities say they’ve identified wells they plan to tap to resolve the situation in the short term. A longer-term solution is still unclear.

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