Dry Creek residents reject water project plan

FRESNO, Calif.

The rural neighborhood encompasses an area north of Shepherd from Sunnyside east to Armstrong.

The vote capped an eight year water fight that has pitted neighbor against neighbor.

The measure to build the water system failed by a more than two to one margin. The count was 256 opposed, 97 in favor.

Fresno county acted as the go-between for the two sides. The election pitted those who say they can't afford to pay for a water system against those who say their homes are worthless without one.

County employees hand counted each of the more than four hundred ballots, under the scrutiny of an audience, packed mostly with opponents of the water system.

Several made passionate arguments before the vote. Most said they couldn't afford the nearly $700 a month assessment on their property.

"The challenge that I consider is this water system will affect so many residents, including myself, who will not be able to live in our homes," project opponent Shauna Speake said,

Each property would have been assessed up to $60 thousand to be paid over 20 years.

While that's a lot of money, some supporters of the water system said they've already spent more than that on failed water wells and seen their property values drop.

"I just want to say your house is worth nothing without water and with water, as I have been saying all along, we don't know how long anybody will have water. Even if they have water today, they could not have it tomorrow," Bonnie Shaw said.

Some homes in the area have adequate water, but many don't and rely on storage tanks to handle the trickle of water they get from their wells.

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