NH Family Selling Prized Possessions to Pay for Water After Wells Go Dry

A New Hampshire family that has been without water since July is now being forced to sell a prized possession to ensure they have enough money to keep buying water.

Deanna Anthony and her family have not had water since their four wells dried up at their Hampstead home.

"I think for a lot of people, it's something you take for granted," said Anthony, who lives on Main Street.

For her family, the sound of running water is music to their ears because of what happened over the summer.

“I just went to turn on the water and just nothing came out," Anthony told NBC10 Boston.

Her family wasn't alone. In the July of 2017, more than two dozen homes saw their private wells run dry at the same time. Although that issue was resolved, the Anthony family lost its groundwater again this July.

Anthony says since the town doesn't regulate water, nobody can tell them exactly why it happened.

"We're very, very frustrated," Anthony said. "We feel our basic right to water has been taken away."

The Anthony's, though, are the only family still without any access to groundwater, so they rely on a 750-gallon delivery every single week.

"We've learned to stretch it. We can do it. But it's not the way that you think life should be in a beautiful town like Hampstead," she said.

Anthony says a local well contractor has tried nearly everything and that a fix may only come if a private water company installs lines that reach her property.

"When those come, it costs us as the homeowner about $10,000 to hook onto that," she said.

To ensure they have the money when that happens, the Anthony's have decided sell their most prized possession.

"This is our 1968 Chevy Nova," Anthony said as she opened the sparkling navy blue driver-side door.

Her husband's childhood dream was to own an antique car. He saved up and finally bought the Nova last year.

"Everywhere you go, people's jaws drop because it's just rumbling and loud and beautiful," she said.

But they realize, for reasons out of their control, it's a luxury they can't afford anymore.

"It's really, really sad, but there is going to be relief that comes with it, too," Anthony said, trying to be optimistic.

Joe Guthrie, a Hampstead town selectman and state legislator, told NBC10 Boston that because of the family's story, lawmakers are considering some building ordinances that would help conserve groundwater in the future.

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services is also looking into whether the dry wells are the result of any wrongdoing.

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