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Neighboring Water District Agrees To Sell Water To Mountain House

MOUNTAIN HOUSE (CBS13) — Water will continue to flow in a California community after a neighboring water district has agreed to supply Mountain House.

The South San Joaquin Irrigation District board voted 4-0 to sell water to the community just west of Tracy through the end of the calendar year.

The deal is expected to be finalized this afternoon. The terms of the deal were not immediately available.

RELATED: Water Will Continue To Flow In Mountain House, For Now

Mountain House made national headlines after its sole source of water was cut off in a battle between the state and senior water rights holders. On June 12, the State Water Resources Control Board ordered the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District and other senior water rights holders to stop drawing water immediately as California goes through the fourth year of its drought.

RELATED: California Water Cuts Leave City Days Away From Running Out Of Water

The decade-old master-planned community relied on the district as its only source of water, a move that seemed like a safe step since the state had never touched the century-old water rights. But as the state continues to manage a complex ecosystem of lakes, rivers and the Delta, it has taken extraordinary steps since the beginning of the year.

Gov. Jerry Brown has ordered across-the-board water-use cuts of 25 percent for the first time in state history, and the state water board has tasked water districts with cutting use by as much as 36 percent to meet that goal.

RELATED: California Farmers Worry Senior Water Rights Cuts In Drought Could Be Devastating

The state board has said water won't be shut off, even if there is no immediate deal. The state has a health exemption for communities with no other water supply.

Mountain House is reluctant to utilize the exemption, since it bans all outdoor watering and prevents any new connections. That last part would mean Mountain House would have to stop construction on new homes. It could bring financial disaster to a community in deep debt that's in need of the revenue new homeowners provide.

Instead, Mountain House will pay its original supplier to keep the water pumping until a transfer deal is done. The community will cover fines from the state that could reach $26,000 a day.


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