"The Problem Is Clear: The Water Is Filthy"

"Seville, with a population of about 300, is one of dozens of predominantly Latino unincorporated communities in the Central Valley plagued for decades by contaminated drinking water."

"SEVILLE, Calif. -- Like most children, the students at Stone Corral Elementary School here rejoice when the bell rings for recess and delight in christening a classroom pet.

But while growing up in this impoverished agricultural community of numbered roads and lush citrus orchards, young people have learned a harsh life lesson: 'No tomes el agua!' -- 'Don't drink the water!'

Seville, with a population of about 300, is one of dozens of predominantly Latino unincorporated communities in the Central Valley plagued for decades by contaminated drinking water. It is the grim result of more than half a century in which chemical fertilizers, animal wastes, pesticides and other substances have infiltrated aquifers, seeping into the groundwater and eventually into the tap. An estimated 20 percent of small public water systems in Tulare County are unable to meet safe nitrate levels, according to a United Nations representative.

In farmworker communities like Seville, a place of rusty rural mailboxes and backyard roosters where the average yearly income is $14,000, residents like Rebecca Quintana pay double for water: for the tap water they use to shower and wash clothes, and for the five-gallon bottles they must buy weekly for drinking, cooking and brushing their teeth."

Patricia Leigh Brown reports for the New York Times November 13, 2012.
 

Source: NY Times, 11/14/2012