Without Clean Running Water, Trona Residents Brace for Triple-Digit Temperatures

The Mojave Desert town of Trona braced for heat Tuesday as they remained without clean running water after pipes buckled from two powerful earthquakes the previous week.

Crews have been working on fixing them since the back-to-back temblors on July 4 and 5, but the Searles Domestic Water Co. has not yet provided an estimate of when services will be restored. The damaged pipes brought water from Ridgecrest, a larger community about 20 miles away.

In the meantime, San Bernardino County officials, who said they have no control over the system, have been offering residents bottled water at Trona High School. Authorities also planned to open portable showers starting at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Temperatures could reach 101 degrees Fahrenheit on Tuesday, with even hotter weather in the forecast in the coming days. Many resident say they use water-powered swamp coolers to cool off.

Richard Ancira, one of about 1,900 people who live in Trona, said more crews were needed to expedite repairs.

“We need more help," he told KTLA.

One of the biggest problems residents face is not having water to clean their homes, another local said.

"You’re still sitting around the mess… That’s the hard part," the man said as he filled up empty containers with water from a truck brought into town by the Searles Domestic Water Co.

Building inspectors so far have deemed at least 10 Trona homes too unsafe to stay in.

Later on Tuesday, National Guard troops arrived in a convoy of Humvees to hand out bottles of water and emergency supplies at Trona High School.

An assistance center at the school was expected to be opened Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

County officials said services from public health officials, insurance agencies, Veterans Affairs, Southern California Edison and several other organizations will be provided at the center.

The county has also set up a website for residents seeking information about the recovery process and resources available to them.

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