Ranch for disabled prays for rain amid drought

SAUGUS, California - For more than two decades, Kathleen Sturkey has been working with developmentally disabled adults.

Sturkey and her husband Chuck run a 65-acre residential community outside of Los Angeles called LARC Ranch. It's home to 103 adults. They use 11,000 gallons of water each day.

California's drought is now in its third year.

"Water has become our primary challenge at this time," Sturkey said.

California's drought has dried up the ranch's underground wells, and in January the water ran out.

"It's bad enough that we have to purchase water," Sturkey said.

The trucks roll in every other day - 100,000 gallons each week.

The water is held in a large tank on a hill, and at this point, Chuck Sturkey said, it represents life.

And this is not just about keeping the faucets running, he said. With the area tinder dry, fire is a constant fear.

"More than a concern, almost to the point of being terrified," Chuck Sturkey said. "The ultimate disaster would be to have fire and we're low on water. Because all I could do is stand here and watch things burn."

The thousands of gallons of water trucked into the ranch are kept in a large tank.

So they are teaching their residents how to conserve water, but not telling them why.

"They would be very, very frightened," said Sturkey. "It's not like we're trying to hide reality from them, but we try to give them as good a life as possible."

The water deliveries will cost $150,000 this year alone.

Asked if she's worried about the future of the residential community, Sturkey said: "I think in the back of my mind, but I'm not done fighting for LARC Ranch yet."

After all, she has 103 reasons to keep praying for rain.