CAMARILLO : Water District Target of Protests

The Camrosa Water District has been bombarded with obscene phone calls and death threats after some Camarillo customers received bills showing a price hike of nearly 400% for water, General Manager Gina Manchester said Thursday.

The threats began after more than 40 protesters appeared at the district's meeting Tuesday night. During the meeting, three of the five water district directors were served with notices that protesters would collect signatures to try to recall them.

The controversy stems from Camrosa's new four-tiered rate-billing system, which has left residents with bills as high as $1,800 a month. Manchester said the district had widely publicized its rate change, mailing letters to its customers in April and placing advertisements in area newspapers. The district has 26,000 customers.

According to the drought policy adopted by Camrosa on May 1, residents had to cut back on water by 20% and farmers by 50%.

Manchester said residents have threatened to run down their water meters.

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