Author: Michael

Water is a major financial burden in San Diego County

Water is a major financial burden in San Diego County

As drought drives prices higher, millions of Californians struggle to pay for water

A drought that gripped the state in 2016 forced about 25 million people to cut their water consumption by more than half.

It was the deadliest U.S. drought since the 1930s, killing at least 44 people and destroying an estimated $1.5 billion worth of crops in Southern California. The region is now awash in water, but some citizens are finding it far more expensive than they expected.

The rising costs are forcing a number of families to choose between paying for water, or buying less of it.

And, as the economic downturn continues to wreak havoc across the country, many here are struggling to make ends meet — and that puts them at a critical disadvantage.

Many of the people we interviewed for this series are using wells in San Diego County to water their lawns, as well as washing cars and watering trees, but others are relying on rainwater to water their lawns and crops. They have no options, they said.

“We have no choice but to dig wells,” said Jennifer Dominguez, a resident of a neighborhood in the city of San Diego. She said her family was forced to move. “Right now, there are no options, and we’re running out of water.” (Dominguez didn’t want her last name used because she worries about losing her job.)

“People pay twice for water when they bring water inside homes, and then they pay for water when they use it,” said Dominguez, 43, who uses a rooftop pool to water her two children. “We are being squeezed.”

Some residents are being priced out of paying for water, while others have little choice but to sell their water rights, which puts their families at a significant financial disadvantage. (Readers can read a detailed history of the drought and water shortages in California in this story by

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