BOULEVARD, Calif. — Residents living in Boulevard say they're running out of water, and it’s not because of the drought.
They blame the lack of water on one of their neighbors, who they say is building a lake on his property.
'Can't live without water'
In Boulevard, everyone lives off a well system. Now, people are finding their wells are completely dry or they're recovering water very slowly.
“You can't live without water,” said John Dolan. The 77 year old retiree bought his property in nearly 14 years ago, and says he's never had dry wells until this past July.
“All three wells on the property went dry within a week….all of them,” said Dolan.
Dolan called a few experts who couldn't source the problem. Then he talked to his neighbors and learned they were having issues too. “Rose on the bottom, down that way, what she used to recover in a day or a half a day, is now taking four or five days,” said Dolan.
Dolan said he and his neighbors soon figured out what they believed is the culprit.
They claim another neighbor is building a lake on his property. And the well he has is 1200 feet deep, whereas Dolan’s is only about 200. "I truly believe he is sucking up all the resources on the water," said Dolan.
Dolan and his neighbors have called several county agencies, none of whom were helpful. So they reached out to CBS 8.
What the county said
We contacted the county and were told they have visited the property and found the property owner in violation of several county codes for:
"....unpermitted clearing and grading, as well as an unpermitted structure."
But, when it comes to water:
"In most situations (and in this one) the county does not regulate the amount of water used for residential wells. Restrictions on well use may be included if there is a discretionary permit required, but that is not applicable for this property. Any dispute regarding the amount of water used from neighboring wells would be a civil matter between those well owners."
Dolan now has to spend hundreds of dollars every few months purchasing outside water just to get by.
He's also let his garden go and only takes short showers, saying he's not sure what more he can do.
"If I wanted to move, I couldn't sell the house with no water. I couldn’t afford to move. This is it. I expected to move up here, finish my days, be left alone and whatever someone wants to do on their property they're fine and dandy, just don't affect your neighbors," said Dolan.
As for the property in question, it’s called “Shreddy Ranch.”
What the property owner said
CBS 8 spoke to the owner by phone.
He told us he inherited the property from his parents and is simply filling in a pond that existed there before, adding he doesn't want to have issues with his neighbors.
However, a video posted to social media, which has since been taken down, showed him talking about building a lake in hopes of having a waterslide and jet ski competitions on it.
Dolan wants the county to do more, saying leaving it up to neighbors to figure isn’t getting them anywhere.
"People up here are living off this. They're depending on this. This is a natural resource but it's for everybody not for one person."
At CBS 8, we are always Working for You and our San Diego community. If there is something you would like us to investigate, please share your idea here or email us at email@example.com.
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