BELLA VISTA, Calif. - The Bella Vista Water District has taken drastic measures to cut water usage after getting the lowest water allocation in 50 years from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
"It's also the worst water supply allocation in the history of the Central Valley Project," said Bella Vista Water District General Manager David Coxey.
The district, like numerous others around the state, relies on water from the reservoirs and the delta that make up the Central Valley Project; all of which have been hit hard by California's severe drought.
Coxey said the district is enacting the most severe measures they can think of.
"We have a water storage contingency planning document that goes four stages, and this is the fourth stage."
According to the plan, residences will be allocated 1,700 cubic feet of water per billing period, or every two months. That amounts to roughly 12,700 gallons of water,the average amount a family of four uses in a month.
Coxey calls this a "baseline quantity that accounts for public health and safety quantities."
To supplement the additional water residents might need, the district calculates the average amount of water used by an individual consumer over the last three years and allocates 40 percent of that which still amounts to a severe cut.
That has people like John Walton, who moved to the area about two years ago, incensed.
"I thought I was coming up here to something different and this is really stupid, the way they did it. It's just stupid, it doesn't make sense. You don't start with a 70 percent cut."
Walton suggests the district should have rolled out the cuts slowly over the last year, rather than all at once.
Coxey said that's not possible, the state would have taken less usage to mean the district needs less water, and that would have amounted to an even smaller allocation this year.
Coxey also said the 70 percent cut alluded to by Walton isn't accurate, 50 percent is closer to the size of cut residents will see.
He said the district has gone to great lengths to create a fair policy and program, and that whatever a residence's allocation, it should be enough.
"If they can use their allocation for indoor household purposes, there should be ample supply," Coxey explained.
And if it's not enough, resident's will be charged for every hundred cubic feet of water they use above allocation.
A detailed look at the emergency water plan and charging system is available on the Bella Vista Water District's webpage.