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Roughly 800 residents in Inyokern without safe or reliable tap water

A well operated by the Inyokern Community Services District recently failed, and without a backup, residents have gone days without water from their tap
Posted at 6:16 PM, Jul 02, 2024

INYOKERN, Calif. (KERO) — A Kern County Grand Jury report released on June 25, 2024 said the Inyokern Community Services District could be one breakdown away from not having water. Just three days after the release of that report, that’s the situation the district and the roughly 800 people they serve have found themselves in.

  • The Inyokern Community Services District provides water to roughly 800 residents in the small desert community of Inyokern. Due to a problem with the pump, the well has not been functioning properly since June 28.
  • The Kern County Grand Jury released a report on June 25 that concluded the Inyokern Community Services District was insolvent, mismanaged, and ill-equipped for the failure of infrastructure.


On June 28 the only well that the Inyokern Community Services District currently operates stopped functioning properly.

“I couldn't shower, I can’t do my laundry.”

Raul Rodriguez is a resident who says his water has been out for days.

One of his biggest concerns about not having water– the heat.

“It’s been hell because I have family and it gets hot by this time, and my house got to 95 as of yesterday when I came home.”

Like many residents - Raul has a swamp cooler to use in his home, a system requires water - and he’s been directed to boil any water coming out of his tap before using it.

“Which is fine, but boiling the water during this heat makes the house even hotter.”

The Inyokern Community Services District is a special district that provides water to roughly 800 people.

I spoke with their general manager Colleen White off-camera and she told me the well went down for a couple days on June 22. Then the well went back online for a few days before it stopped working again on Saturday June 28.

The problem is the pump.

A local well contractor is working to replace the 30-year-old old pump with a temporary pump they have loaned the district.

A representative from the contractor said the goal was to have the temporary pump installed by July 3rd.

“I come home and I see my dog and my pets panting.”

Water has been trucked in and stored in a tank, giving residents inconsistent access to water from their taps.

Some local businesses have been forced to close while the water is off.

Rodriguez - who has lived in Inyokern for more than 20 years - says this is the longest disruption to water service he’s been through.

The Grand Jury report warned about the lack of a backup well - which the county installed in 2019 but has never been functional.

Over the phone, Kern County Supervisor Phillip Peters said it’s not clear what the long-term solution is for this special district, but that it’s evident there needs to be change.

“I feel bad for the old people and the kids.”

As for white, she says it’s unclear when or how a permanent solution will be reached.

“I just want them to fix it, its summer, we need it,” Rodriguez said.

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