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The state department of health has identified 17 communities across the state that are running out of water and need help to keep their residents supplied with healthy and available water. It's what many fear may be just the tip of the iceberg as California's drought gets worse.

Four of the communities are in the Sacramento area, including the Whispering Pines Apartments in Mariposa County, the Jackson Valley irrigation district in Amador County, Washington Ridge Conservation Camp in Nevada County and a tiny group of cottages known as Ophir Gardens in Placer County near Auburn.

Ophir Gardens began running out of water late last year.

"The difficulty that they're facing is low yield from their single well," said Brent Smith,with the Placer County Water Agency.

Smith said the well is only able to provide one gallon of water a minute.

The parks owner has begun bringing water in by truck, an expensive process that has so far kept the 16 small cottages from running dry.

Residents like Rita Bainbridge are dreading what may happen if the system runs completely out of water.

"Cutting back on showers and dishes and stuff. And I won't like that...at all," said Rita Bainbridge, who has lived at Ophir Gardens for about nine months.

The answer to the water shortage is most likely going to come from the Placer County Water Agency.

"We're looking into the possibility of extending a treated water pipeline. Our pipeline is 2,000 feet away from this point," Smith said.

That fix would cost $1 million according to Smith.

"And so we're looking into the possibility of contribution from the property itself, Ophir Gardens, as well as the possibility of a state grant, a Proposition 84 grant to assist with this situation," said Smith.

The owner of the cottages has offered the district $130,000 to help get the project started.

If the Placer County Water Agency can find other funding sources to move ahead, the extension of a water line could eventually be used to help supply other nearby communities.

"This would be the beginning of what we envision as a larger project over time," said Smith.

For residents, it would be a relief to have a steady source of clean water.

"The water, there's been some issues - other people who have lived here a lot longer than me have talked about the quality of the water," said Richard Lingensjo, adding, "I usually just brush my teeth with the water. Maybe I should stop doing that."

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