OUTINGDALE (CBS13) — A small California community is being forced to dramatically cut back on water, limiting residents to 68 gallons of water per person per day.

Mike Davidson is saving water like he’s never done before in this El Dorado County community near the Cosumnes River.

“We use this for either watering plants and but mainly it’s for flushing toilets,” he said.

And he’s not alone. The entire community is changing the way they live.

Booth Bergquist is taking one bath a week to conserve.

“I heat water on the stove to wash dishes,” she said. “I use rinse water for my deck flowers.”

A few weeks ago, Outingdale residents got a letter from the El Dorado Irrigation District telling them each person could only use 68 gallons of water per day. The only water they use must be for health or safety reasons.

“This just happens to be one little place which is dependent on the Cosumnes River,” Bergquist said.

While most residents in the irrigation district have multiple sources of water, Outingdale only has the Cosumnes River.

Residents in the small cluster of homes fear trees will start dying and putting their lives at risk if there is a fire.

For now, they’ve all adopted a new way of life because the cutbacks are mandatory.

But how much is 68 gallons of water? It takes:

  • 5 gallons to flush a toilet
  • 1 gallons to brush your treeth
  • 4 gallons to wash hands and face
  • 36 gallons for a bath, or 26 gallons for a shower
  • 45 gallons to wash laundry.

When asked if they could continue to live like this for the next few months during the normally dry summer, residents say they’ll have to because they don’t have a choice.

Water meters will likely be read next week, and the irrigation district says it will send letters to the highest users. They say they state has already checked in with them to see if they’ve been enforcing the water restrictions.

There are currently no consequences for not complying, but the state will tell the district how to handle high-water users.


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