Even Camp Stevens is feeling the effects of the extreme drought.
Executive Director Beth Bojarski told the Episcopal News recently that two of the camp’s four wells are dry and the Julian camp is preparing to dig an additional well.
Although there is no immediate danger of running out of water, signs are up around the campus, asking guests to take shorter showers and use water even more wisely than they already do, she said.
“We just realized it this week,” she said. “We have four wells. Two of them are dry; another is mostly dry and we only use it as a backup, so we say we have one-and-a-half functioning wells.”
Recently a well, dug in 2009, began sucking air and camp staff hoped the pump was the problem, she said. “But we’ve leaned that essentially there just isn’t the water there.”
While the staff is able to deal with the problem, their goal is to finance drilling a new well “before it becomes problematic,” because the wells have supplied water for all the camp’s needs, Bojarski said.
Estimated costs to locate and drill a new well are $25,000 to $40,000. The cost estimates differ “based on where they think the water is,” she added. “Our current well is between 400 and 500 feet deep. It was originally dug at about 150 feet and they had to go deeper.”
Costs of developing an additional well include laying new pipe and establishing electricity to use the pump, she added.
It does mean even wiser water conservation during summer camp but she predicts no change in attendance levels as a result, Bojarski said.
“We aren’t turning groups away,” she said.
“It’s just the reality. We live in a desert climate. We’re having a drought year. We all have to conserve. And the other thing is to have gratitude, being grateful for the water we do have, for the access, for the people working to provide that water for us, for ecosystems being diverted for us to have that water.”