03/20/2013 12:43 pm ET Updated Mar 20, 2013

Evelyn Haynes, Struggling California Widow, Slapped With $2,700 Water Bill

A cash-strapped California widow was stunned when she received a $2,700 water bill, and her water company insists the fee was warranted.

Evelyn Haynes, 78, lives alone and told KTLA that her water usually amounts to about $40 each month. But according to Eastern Municipal Water District, Haynes’ meter wasn’t tampered with and she used 213,928 gallons.

“Maybe lightning struck my tree and made the meter go crazy,” she told the news outlet. “I don’t know.”

That's certainly possible considering that Haynes lives on a modest property and the average family uses about 12,000 gallons of water a month, the EPA stated in 2008.

Haynes’ case, and others like hers, help highlight water usage issues surrounding World Water Day March 22. The global awareness day aims to advocate for sustainable management of freshwater resources.

The water company is continuing to investigate the matter and agreed to lower Haynes’ bill to $400. But she told KTLA it’s still far too expensive.

“I’m trying to find someone to help,” she told the news outlet. “Because I don’t have that kind of money. I don’t have enough money to pay the bill.”



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