City of Coalinga says it's being allocated too little water

If the city runs out of water, it will have to pay about 2,000% more to buy it on the open market.

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Thursday, August 11, 2022
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Communities are being asked to make extreme cuts in water use, but the City of Coalinga says the state isn't doing its fair share.

COALINGA, Calif. (KFSN) -- The City of Coalinga has tight water restrictions that went into play a few days ago.

City leaders say green areas will no longer be watered like it once was.

For several years, the City of Coalinga has dealt with dwindling water allocations, putting them in a tight spot.

"The people of Coalinga have already sacrificed so much to stay within our water limits. They've conserved so much already. We've had restrictions in place since about 2014," says District 1 Councilman Adam Adkisson.

"The sacrifices keep coming to the people of Coalinga, but we are feeling like we are not getting the sacrifices back from the state."

In 2017, the city had a water allotment of around 10,000 acre-feet.

This year, 2,000.

Adkisson says at their current use, they'll be out of water by mid-September.

"If we go over our water allotment, on our present course, we are going to be about 1,000 acre-feet over our water allotment, and we are going to have to buy water on the open market," says Adkisson.

If that happens, the city will have to pay about 2,000% more for water.

"Right now, we pay $194 for an acre-foot of water. Going to open market, we will pay up to $2,500 acre-feet of water," says Adkisson.

To avoid a million-dollar bill, Coalinga put strict water restrictions on its residents last Thursday.

Now they're asking the state to do their part and cut water use at the state hospital and prison.

Those two facilities suck up a quarter of the city's water.

They want the state to find other water sources or provide grants to the city.

"And we are asking them, we don't control the state hospital and prison, that's what you control, and they are using huge amounts of water!" says Adkisson.

City leaders remain hopeful the state will take action and help them find a solution.