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Thanks To Drought, Mount Wilson Observatory Has No Water At Public Facilities

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Signage by Mount Wilson Observatory. (Photo courtesy of Maggie Moran)
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If you're thinking about visiting Mount Wilson Observatory sometime soon, you should plan on bringing your own bottle of water.

Thanks to the drought, the observatory has shut off its tap and currently has no running water, reports KPCC. This means there are no more fountains for you to quench your thirst. Also, the restrooms have been closed.

Maggie Moran, assistant superintendent of Mount Wilson Observatory, tells LAist that the observatory had relied on water tanks in the area. But the nearby wells that help fill the tanks have been running slow as of late, leading to a depletion of usable water. The tanks aren't exactly dried up, but they're required to be at least 10% full as a safety precaution (think: wildfires), which means the observatory had to curb its water usage.

The observatory's handlers had tried trucking in water from other areas, but considering the remote location of the space, this idea ran into a list of logistical hurdles. "It's very difficult to get people to truck water up here. People can do two runs by the time they do one run for us," said Moran. Also, as noted at KPCC, it was a costly enterprise at 9 cents a gallon.

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It's not quite as dire as it sounds, however. The observatory's cafe, which is open on Saturdays and Sundays, will still be selling bottled water. And the managers are working to get two porta-potties shipped in this weekend. Though for people who are looking to visit during the weekdays (when the cafe isn't open), and for those who want to hike the surrounding trails, they highly recommend that you bring your own H20.

Moran adds that the observatory is in talks with water companies, and that managers are hoping to get a regular supply of water again soon. "We're doing whatever we can," said Moran. In the meantime, if you're looking to visit the observatory and/or surrounding areas, you can contact the office at 626-440-9016 to get an update on the current water situation.

All of this is a reminder that, yes, we're still in the thick of a historical drought. Angelenos had been pretty good at meeting Governor Jerry Brown's water conversation goals in the past year. But, as noted at the L.A. Times, California as a whole has been backsliding over the past few months. In Malibu, for example, residents were cutting back on 7.9% of its water usage in August 2016, compared to 20.4% in August 2015. Are we growing less concerned about the drought as the fanfare wanes over time? The situation at Mount Wilson Observatory reminds us to stay vigilant.

Related: Here's Who Might Be Wasting The Most Water In Los Angeles