Redlands man vows to fight $232 vacation water bill
Evan Gluckman said he may pay $1,000 or more for legal fees before paying $232 for water.
In the 20-plus years he and wife, Nina, have lived at their Redlands home, they have received monthly water bills averaging $15 to $20 for roughly 3,000 gallons, Gluckman said.
But when they returned April 28 after a monthlong vacation in the Virgin Islands, he was surprised by a bill covering their vacation time from the Ute Water Conservancy District that charged $232.50 for the use of 39,650 gallons.
“My house would have sunk if it took that much,” said Gluckman, who owns Main Street Cafe, 504 Main St.
After they left March 28, Gluckman said, neighbors watered plants in his absence using ditch water, which is not drawn off the Ute Water system.
Gluckman said he checked for leaks under his home, but found none. He said plumbers have told him a toilet inadvertently left running for a month wouldn’t have generated such a high total.
Ute Water crews who inspected Gluckman’s meter found it was performing properly.
“My first reaction was this was some sort of joke, right?” he said. “Basically they told me that (the bill) says what it says, and that’s what you’re going to pay.”
Ute Water spokesman Joe Burtard said Gluckman’s water meter was reading accurately.
“The most common cause for these high bills, and I’m not saying it is what happened in this instance, is there’s a stuck toilet,” Burtard said. “And if it’s been running 30 days, it could have gone well beyond $230.”
Burtard added, “We get those calls all the time, even when the customers are home.”
On Wednesday, Ute Water inspected the meter for a fourth time, he said.
“Our responsibility stops at the meter,” Burtard said.
Gluckman said he is pondering a small-claims legal action against the entity and is consulting an attorney.