Tustin community expresses frustration over recurring water shutoffs

Jessica De Nova Image
Saturday, November 11, 2023
Tustin community expresses frustration over recurring water shutoffs
Dozens of residents at a condominium home complex spent two days without water, and said they've had enough of shutoffs in their community.

TUSTIN, Calif. (KABC) -- Dozens of residents at a condo home complex spent two days without water and said they've had enough of shutoffs in their community.

Access to clean water is often a struggle for Joanna Mejia and her son.

Their water was shut off this past Wednesday. Mom said it was out more than a week about two months earlier. To make due, they filled up at this spigot at their community's pool.

"I live in the second unit so it's not that easy especially with my son, bringing it all up, it's heavy and then we have to worry about his safety going up the stairs," Mejia said.

This tenant at Quail Meadows in Tustin is not alone. Notes posted throughout the community showed the frustration here.

Tatiana Bush who owns her unit and works from home said the situation was "very inconvenient."

"It's a bit inhumane that I have to turn my family away from my house or I can't have gatherings," Bush said.

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Eyewitness News spoke to people living here, who didn't want to go on camera, as they made stops at the pool for showers or planned to stay at nearby hotels or with family.

Some said the problem added to the hardships brought on by the hangar fire earlier this week. That led to closures of parks and all public schools in Tustin.

"It makes the situation so much harder for us too because of what is going on at the hangar so our school district had already shut schools and parks down and they were telling us to stay inside. How are we gonna stay inside? We have no water. We're running to the gym, to local stores to go use the restroom," one tenant said.

Friday morning, Lori Yarborough, the CEO of the property management company, Stonekastle Community Management out of Yorba Linda, declined an interview, but said this was an emergency shutoff Wednesday, affecting 50 units because of a plumbing issue. Yarborough added, management was at the mercy of the neighborhood's boiler system and how quickly they can get required asbestos testing and plumbers here.

"Emergency situations do happen so there needs to be an emergency solution. If you need to wait for the asbestos test then it's time for you to test every single unit for asbestos," one resident said.

By Friday afternoon, the plumbing company arrived and fixed the problem.

Yarborough said messages went out to the residents for which they had contact information, on top of door knocks, but nearly a dozen residents told Eyewitness News the information only comes if they insist on it.

"Not unless you call them directly. Then they'll tell you what's going on," Bush said.

People living here admitted notice of planned shutoffs was usually posted. Eyewitness News saw proof of that Friday, but residents said the shutoffs come much too often.

"This isn't a third world country. This is Tustin California. This should definitely not be happening," a tenant said.

Some living here said if they didn't start seeing a change they planned to reach out to their elected officials.