Several people living in a mobile home park off Drexel Road and Country Club have been using water bottles to cook and clean.

They say they are working to conserve water since their landlord left them to split a $20,000 water bill from a water leak that happened on the property in April.

It’s a bill that the dozen families say they aren’t able to pay since they are all low income.

KGUN 9’s Denelle Veselik went to the park to investigate.

“Yesterday {the owner} came to the property and he handed out a water bill to all of us tenants,” Leighla Lopez said.

Leighla says her bill was $2,793.49. It’s usually around $100.

The high bill stems from a water leak all of the tenants say they worked to fix, with some of them even being previously reimbursed rent to get it fixed.

Long-time resident Trisha Martinez, who has an autistic son, says she has been using water bottles to cook and clean.

“They’re all right there…all my water bottles that I have to use,” Martinez said. “That I have to use to make macaroni cheese, spaghetti, because I’m so scared to use my water.”

KGUN 9’s Denelle Veselik spoke with the owner of the property who confirmed the leak has been fixed, but says since then his tenants aren’t being responsible with water. He says usage is still not down to what it was prior to the leak in April.

“I don’t drink out of the sink, I get bottled water. You know, I take showers one or two times a day and I barely cook here,” Jonathan Vasquez said. “I eat at work. I don’t use water here at all, but he’s charging us a lot of money for a water bill that wasn’t our fault.”

The landlord says it’s his tenants’ responsibility. He then provided a video of one tenant’s leaking bathtub faucet:

Mobile home park water leak

Meanwhile, neighbors say they’re low income and just can’t afford a bill like this.

“Pretty sure we’d be kicked out, because he’s already said he doesn’t care if we have no water, no food,” Audriana Spafford said. “He’s just going to shut it off and disconnect it and he already has. It was off for almost two months when we had to use buckets of water back and forth to the store. Couldn’t shower for two months.”

One of the renters provided me with their leasing contract which states that

“the landlord will provide and pay for water and the tenants will be back-billed each month.”

The contract also states that the

“landlord shall be responsible for repairs in or about the lease premises.”

Denelle Veselik reached out to Tucson Water on the matter. They couldn’t talk directly about this situation. They say sometimes they can forgive a large bill like this if someone can show that they have water usage back down to levels prior to when a leak occurs.

This mobile home park has still not been able to get water usage levels to the lows they had prior to the leak.

Tenants say they are working to get it down. In the mean time, they’re left in limbo and the owner’s water bill remains past due.