Foothills Community Feeling Full Brunt of Drought Restrictions

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A small vacation retirement community in the foothills is feeling the full brunt of drought dictated water restrictions.

Outingdale is situated along the Middle Fork of the Cosumnes River where the El Dorado Irrigation District pumps water to several dozen homes.

But because the community only claimed water from the river in the 1920s, emergency state regulations have cut off it's supply. A Stage 4 water saving alert means residents can only use 50 gallons of water a day, one quarter of the statewide average.

The EIR is trucking water to the community half a dozen times a day to provide the minimum required for cooking and bathing. It will cost the district $300,000 for half the year.

Yvonne Schindler takes pride in her rock garden and tries to keep her plants alive by filling jugs of water from a well on a family ranch and driving them back to her home. But she lost plants when water was first cutback last summer to 68 gallons per person per day. The additional cut is already killing more plants.

Schindler has taken to saving excess shower runoff and cooking water, as well as flushing her toilet only a third of the time.

"You've heard the old saying: 'If it's yellow it's mellow, if it's brown, flush it down,'" Schindler said.

She also said she doesn't feel it's fair for let river water by-pass their community only to be used by downstream residents who have historic water rights before the 1914 cutoff date established by state water officials.

"That bothers us quite a bit ... it's caused such a hardship on us and people downstream are still watering their lawns and washing their cars," Schindler said.

Water restrictions won't be lifted until more rain and snowmelt begins to fill the river, which is down to a trickle in some spots.