It’s recently come to my attention that the owners of vacation rental single family homes have approached the Cambria Community Services District requesting they be given business status, in the form of commercial accounts, in order to secure more water.
Regarding this request, I too am a non-resident homeowner in Cambria, as are many of those who have their homes designated as vacation rentals. The only difference between us is that I choose to use the home frequently myself and have family and friends stay with me. I am not “for profit” as they are.
Despite the fact that they earn an income renting their homes, they are still “single family homes” and should not be considered a business as are the hotels in Cambria. Why should other non-resident “single family homeowners” be treated any differently than me?
I visit my home frequently every month and conserve water to stay within my allotment. During my time in Cambria, I also drive past the many hotels located throughout Cambria and there always appear to be vacancies. If those who own vacation rentals are worried about going over their water allotment, perhaps they should suspend using their “single family homes” as vacation rentals and direct vacationers to the many motels that are available for their use. Hopefully this would only be for the short term until a viable, sustainable solution can be found for our water problem. As to the continuing water problem in Cambria, why doesn’t the CCSD look into other options besides desalination? My husband and I recently drove past Whale Rock reservoir above Cayucos. It appears that the town of Cayucos will not experience the drought to the degree Cambria will. Why doesn’t Cambria purchase land and build an off-site storage facility?
Desal could still be considered, but only as a backup to mother nature. It is expensive to build and maintain a desal plant. With so many Cambrians are on fixed incomes, it might become impossible for them to continue to live here if water rates rise considerably higher than they are now.
I have also heard that the hotels in the area are asking for a larger water allocation. If true, are they doing everything they can to conserve water? Are they telling their guests that they will not wash bed sheets unless they’re staying more than two nights? I don’t know about you, but I don’t launder my sheets every day. Prior to purchasing my home, I was a frequent visitor to many of the hotels in Cambria. I never had my sheets changed even when I stayed three or more nights. Even then I realized it was a waste of water. I’m sure most vacationers wouldn’t mind not having theirs laundered daily if they’re made aware that Cambria is facing an even more severe water shortage than the rest of California.
Secondly, are guests asked not to use bathtubs whether it is a Jacuzzi tub or not? Are they asked to take shorter showers? Unfortunately, I bet the answer to all of the above is a resounding “NO.” Hotel owners/management may think it will hurt their business, but I’m sure that is far from the truth. Those who waste water will continue to do so no matter what, but I’m sure there are many visitors who would welcome and appreciate the efforts of the management to conserve a precious resource. Not everyone is self-serving.
All owners, be it a single family home or business, are in this drought together. Everyone should be considerate of our plight as we’re all in the same position. Vacation rental homeowners and hotel owners should not try to get a larger water allocation. It always comes at the expense of someone else, those in compliance.
Fresno resident Debra Wright owns a home in Cambria to which she plans to retire in the next few years.