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Our Future After the Fire: Paradise homeowner has water advisory lifted

Some families on the ridge finally have access to safe drinking water. We spoke with one homeowner who says this moment has been a long time coming.

Posted: Jul 18, 2019 4:56 PM
Updated: Jul 18, 2019 8:52 PM

It's now been eight months since the Camp Fire, and access to clean, drinkable water is slowly trickling back to Paradise. Those who have it now say, they feel a huge weight lifted off their shoulders.

We spoke with one homeowner, Kyla Awalt, who recently had potable water restored to her property. 

"The kids...I was like, we have clean water, and they said, 'Oh, can we take a bath?!" Awalt laughs, describing the moment her children learned they had safe water to use. 

Her family returned to their standing home in January. Their water meter was still intact, but because of the water advisory, the family could not use any water. That's when the costs began to pile up.

"Mentally that was the hardest part," Awalt said. "How can we keep affording this?"

She spent $6400, she says, to have a plumber install a water tank and other supporting equipment in the backyard. It cost another $250 every two months to fill the tank up with fresh water.

"You turn on the faucet and literally feel that water going down the drain," Awalt said. 

Several months of careful rationing, and many cold showers later, Awalt got the call the whole family had been waiting for from the Paradise Irrigation District.

Things became official when Awalt saw her home listed as cleared from the water advisory online. The family now pays $21 a month, every two months, to connect to PID. 

"They are not metering. We can use as much water as we want because they want to keep that water moving, and not stagnant in the system, "Awalt explained. 

Awalt added she was cautiously optimistic about the health of the water now coming to her home, but she is happy with the progress that's been made. With their water worries behind them for now, she says the family can now focus on rebuilding other parts of their lives, as they look to their future after the fire.

According to their website, the PID has lifted the water advisory for at least 50 properties so far in Paradise. Action News Now is told they hope to lift all water advisories on standing structures within the next ten months.

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