MENIFEE ( — A widow from Menifee said she was dumbfounded when she received a water bill for more than $2,600, especially because she wasn’t even home during the month-long billing period.

Evelyn Haynes said she was charged exactly $2,659.71 by the Eastern Municipal Water District for using 213,928 gallons of water.

“I almost had a heart attack,” she said. “And I had a heart attack in April and I don’t want another one.”

Haynes said she immediately called the water district and told them she was in Alaska at her daughter’s home for the month.

“I called them and told them that there’s no way,” she said.

Haynes said even if she had been home at the time, she never could have used more than 213,900 gallons of water in 30 days.

“If I had that much water, I’d be in the sinkhole like the man in Florida,” she said.

Haynes said she generally doesn’t even use that much water to begin with because there’s no lawn to water in the front or the back of her house and her trees and bushes are on a drip system.

She said she does two loads of laundry a week and uses the dishwasher once a week.

Her largest monthly bill before the incident was $60.

The Eastern Municipal Water District sent out a release stating Haynes’ water meter was “repeatedly inspected and found to be producing accurate readings.”

“They sent somebody out to look at the meter and they said the meter works fine,” said Haynes.

The water district decided to voluntarily adjust her bill down to $491.43.

“I told them I can’t afford that,” said Haynes.

The widow, however, doesn’t need to worry about the bill anymore.

After her story made the front cover of the Press-Enterprise, she started to get calls from people offering to help.

The water district said a man from a church came in Wednesday morning and paid her entire bill.

“There are good people in the world,” said Haynes.


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