A declared fresh water shortage put a stop to building in Cambria 12 years ago, but the community expects to finally allow some new development by scrimping on consumption.
According to a conservation plan adopted by the Cambria Community Services District on Feb. 28, it will cost an estimated $300,000 per year to conserve enough water annually to fill an acre-sized pool 70 feet deep. Such a volume would equal 10 percent of Cambia’s current water usage, and would free up the district to allow a still-unknown number of new water connections.
Water consumption in Cambria has declined considerably—along with the town’s population—since the community declared a resource emergency in 2001. Some landowners contend that the district overstated the shortage to stop growth.
However district officials decide to allocate the saved water, the decision will leave some waitlisted Cambria landowners on the outside looking in at new development. A 2011 internal legal memo warned that opening the development valve just partway could subject the district to liability.