TULARE, Calif. (KFSN) -- The last few years have been tough on family finances and some have fallen behind on their bills.
The state prevented any water shutoffs starting about two and a half years ago, but that's coming to an end.
That's why Tulare's water agency is urging people to pay their bills to keep the water running.
Starting in August, families who couldn't pay their water bills during the pandemic will have to make those payments.
The good news is that the entire amount owed isn't due at once.
The City Manager says there are several payment options available.
About 19,000 customers receive water bills in Tulare.
About a thousand have fallen behind in the last two and a half years.
"We are doing everything we can to try and reduce the burden, but we have to start at some point because frankly, 18,000 customers are carrying all of that load that others are not," says City Manager Marc Mondell.
Mondell says they could have started shutting off customers in January of this year but decided to wait, so two state programs could step in and provide rebates for customers, helping lower the bill some will be facing.
"We do have customers that are in the thousands and upwards of tens of thousands of dollars," says Mondell.
He says 200 notices will go out monthly starting next week, letting people know it's time to pay their bills.
But the city wants those families to know that payment plans and programs can assist those in need.
"We've come up with six different payment programs, and based on your situation, our staff will see where you are, what your needs are and put you in a plan that works for you, depending on your circumstance," says Mondell.
Mondell says if you know you are behind on payments, you can get ahead of the notice and call the city now to figure out the best way to pay back what you owe.