Avoca Families Get Water For First Time in 17 Years

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For almost two decades, Avoca residents James Holland and Harold Huffman have been hauling water to their homes on Posy Mountain Road.

"Four-hundred and fifty gallons, three times a week for 17 years," Holland said. "They calculated that I hauled over a million gallons of water and put 26,735 quarters in the water machine."

The families believed their homes would have access to a public water supply, but the lines were never built.

“We've been hauling water for at least 16 years; we've had wrecked trucks, worn out trucks, can't get up and down the hill in the winter,” Huffman says. “Hauling water takes up pretty much all of my free time, and all of the time that I don’t have.”

One resident brought the problem to the attention of Sen. John Boozman and the Water Well Trust, a national non-profit. Water Well Trust went to Avoca and is now drilling wells for six families.

“I wouldn't have wasted water like this years ago,” Holland said Thursday, spraying water from a garden hose in his yard.

Holland says he's about two miles from water lines on each side of his house.

“You drilled a nasty-smelling well or you hauled water from the water point, which is in Avoca, downtown Avoca," Holland said, "I elected to go ahead and make sure my family had clean water, so that's why I decided to buy a pickup truck and tank and haul my water."

Holland and Huffman used to drive to the Benton County Water District to get water. They would pay a quarter and get 40 gallons of water from the machine.

“I would watch (the 5NEWS) show religiously... when we had a front coming in with a chance of snow and ice," Holland said. "There have been times at 2 o'clock in the morning I would grab my truck and grab water to get ahead of the snow storm."

Holland and Huffman now have wells, and their lives have changed.

“[We don't] have to worry about getting up early in the morning to go and get water to make sure your wife isn't stuck without water all day," says Huffman.

“Long leisurely baths -- now you don't have worry about two-minute baths,” Holland said.

The residents were given government loans and grants to help pay for the wells.