A month before her daughter’s death, Rosemary Kalles was making a call on her mobile phone when she got a message that Phoenix Water was about to charge her the same price as her neighbor’s water bill.
“They didn’t say how much it was going to cost,” she says.
“I was just, ‘Why?'”
Kallen’s husband was out of town, and Kallens was in the middle of a legal battle with the water company to avoid the water bill she owed.
So Kallenos phone rang.
“He said, ‘Hi, I’m calling to check if the water is flowing,'” Kallenes recalls.
“We called our lawyer and he said, [the water] was flowing.”
Kallena and her husband had just paid off a water bill from last year and had spent more than $4,000 on water filters.
Now the water bills were coming due.
“It’s a lot,” Kallanes says.
“[But] it’s not like it’s going to stop me.”
KAllens daughter, Amber, was just 14 months old when she died from a rare form of childhood cancer.
A year later, she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, a serious condition that requires insulin therapy.
“She was so smart,” Kalson says.
But Kallans daughter’s disease took her life.
And it didn’t stop Kallas water bill to pay.
On April 30, 2018, Kalls water bill was about $15,000.
Kall’s attorney told Kallnes water bill would be paid in the next 24 hours.
But in the meantime, Kalls daughter was in hospital and Kalsons husband was in jail.
The water bill went unpaid.
A month later, Kalsones water bill reached $15 million.
And a year after that, Kallyns daughter was still in hospital.
“The only thing I want to say is, this is the last time I’m going to have to pay a water Bill,” Kaltson says, before the phone rings.
Kally’s water bills are still in arrears, and in 2018, the water board approved a $3.5 billion plan to repair the state’s infrastructure and address the water system’s shortcomings.
“This bill is a reminder of how much our water system has failed,” says Kallys attorney, Mark Davis.
“There is a long way to go, but we can still build on the progress we have made.”
The water board voted to approve the water plan in April.
The bill now heads to the governor for his signature.
“If we don’t get it signed, we won’t be able to meet our water needs in this state,” says Davis.
Kalingen, the attorney, believes that the water budget has failed her family.
“Our bills have gone up.
We are living in debt.
We need to have a change in how the system works,” Kalinges daughter says.
Davis is hopeful that the governor will sign the bill.
The governor has not yet announced his own water plan, but he says he will take a look at the water water budget plan as he begins his term.
The California Department of Water Resources estimates that the state will have enough water to meet its water needs until 2028.
In the meantime Kalingena says the water will continue to cost her family a lot of money.
“That’s my main worry,” she said.
“My son is in kindergarten and he is getting his own school lunch, but my husband and I still have to buy food for the family.”
“I feel like I’m living paycheck to paycheck,” says Amber Kallene, Kalingans daughter.
“But I don’t feel like we have to.
I have a good job and a good family.
I’m not going to be able a job and family until we’re living on a little bit of money.”