Upscale Planned Community Outside Bay Area Could Run Out of Water in Days

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The master-planned community Mountain House, an exurb of San Francisco, is at risk of losing its water supply. About 160 local farmers are also affected by the state's curtailment order, issued June 12, 2015. (Credit: Robert Durell, Los Angeles Times)

When the state last week took the rare step of curtailing the water rights of more than 100 irrigation districts and growers, it appeared that agricultural areas would be the hardest hit.

But now, an upscale master-planned community of 15,000 residents in San Joaquin County (map) is facing the loss of all water supplies within days — prompting a frantic search for new sources.

Unlike the vast majority of communities in California, Mountain House purchases all its water from a single rural irrigation district. And that agency was covered by the state’s order curtailing water rights for some of those who have held them for more than century due to the state’s worsening drought.

There has been fear in the community that the taps could run dry. But the situation is not quite that dire.

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