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Residents react to Rio Dell's water crisis

RIO DELL- After the state ordered Rio Dell to stop water diversion from the Eel River, the city is rationing water use to 50 gallons a day per person.

On Friday, the city received a cease and desist letter from the State Water Board to stop diverting water from the Eel River to allow enough water for senior water rights holders. In response, the city said they would reduce water by up to 50 percent, to around 170,000 gallons a day.

Mayor of Rio Dell, Jack Thompson, said the water situation is the most serious the city has ever faced. "This is probably one of the most severe emergencies," he said.

Residents will have to stop washing cars, watering gardens and filling up hot tubs or pools. The city has already stopped watering lawns at parks and the landscape along Wildwood Avenue, a $100,000 grant funded project finished last year.

"We've already shut the sprinklers off on the grass isn't being watered," said Thompson. "The trees are already showing that they are hurting for moisture."

The restrictions are also affecting businesses, like laundry mats and restaurants. But, Thompson said the water emergency will also impact the fire department and said the city will have to purchase excess water if there are any fires.

Thompson said the city is looking for a long term solution and looking to purchase senior water rights.