Monterey County

Soquel Creek customers face rate increases and water rationing

Soquel Creek Water Shortage

SOQUEL, Calif. - A water emergency is hitting one Central Coast city, leaving yards brown and homeowners frustrated with looming costs.  On Wednesday night, we found out what the local water district is faced with as it moves from voluntary to mandatory water rationing.  

Water managers with Soquel Creek Water District said in less than two weeks, residents will be paying about 15% more for their water.  That's partly because of California's drought, but its also due to the groundwater supply that's diminishing.  

"Spent several thousand dollars to put it all in.  Now because of water shortages I'm not able to water it and I've lost it," said a Soquel resident who only goes by his first name, Mike.

Soquel residents say they've seen their neighborhoods turn from green to brown over the past couple of months.  That sight is serving as constant reminder of why its so important to continue conserving water.  Some said they've had to deal with the consequences of unintentional water waste.    

"I got a notice from Soquel Creek Water District, that you could be cited if you don't contain that water to your property," said Soquel resident Chris Johnson.

This week Soquel Creek Water District decided to move ahead with a stage three water shortage emergency.  That allows the district to charge residents about 15% more for water.  That's because as consumers cut back, water managers said the cost to run the district stays the same.  That's not sitting right with some residents.

"The drought around here is pretty much caused by humans; their failure from local government to provide water storage," Mike said.

So as people start to lose their grassy lawns, people are putting in drought-resistant lawns.  The district said it's doing its part by continuing to investigate new water supply options.  In the meantime, some homeowners have their watering down to a science.  

"Grass is, it's getting real brown right now with just watering it on a Tuesday and Friday night for just 5 minutes a zone.  I've calculated that on the meter reading and its about 35 gallons for the eight zones," Johnson said.  

The water district said it also approved a groundwater emergency declaration this week.  That's because customers are over drafting water from the basin.

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