What's at stake?
While the county distributed bottled water to the affected households, it wasn’t a requirement by the state because the water is safe to drink once boiled and there is no funding for emergency bottled water delivery.
About 450 households in three communities near Millerton Lake in Fresno County are under a boil water notice, issued on Jan. 20.
The communities – Brighton Crest, Bella Vista and Renaissance at Bella Vista – are part of County Service Area 34, a special district which manages the water system.
The notice came after the recent deluge of storms slammed California. The high level of inflows into Millerton Lake disturbed the water quality of the lake, the primary water source for the communities, said Amina Flores-Becker, resources division manager for Fresno County’s Department of Public Works and Planning.
Flores-Becker added that residents’ water is coming out cloudy because the treatment facility can’t properly disinfect water if sediment is too mixed up.
“We’re drawing what is pretty much mud water from the lake,” she said.
Although the problem started on Jan. 13, the communities had reserves of treated water which lasted a week, so a boil water notice wasn’t necessary at the time, Flores-Becker also said..
The county distributed bottled water on Monday, but it wasn’t a requirement by the state, Flores-Becker said, and because the water is safe to drink once boiled, the situation doesn’t qualify as an emergency under state standards, so there is no funding for emergency bottled water delivery.
“To this extreme it’s pretty rare,” said Flores-Becker.
The notice estimates the problem will be resolved by Feb. 9.
“Depending on what the weather does,” Flores-Becker said, “it could be that it takes longer and we have to extend it.”