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Water flows again in Ramona

As of late morning, residents in Ramona were having their water turned on, "but they'll be on a do-not-drink and boil-water order for a while," said Michael Workman, a spokesman for the San Diego County Office of Emergency Services.

"The water has to test clean for 48 hours," he said.

With water cut off and the city on a boil-water order, lines of portable toilets speckled the town's parking lots as people searched out the few restaurants that were still open and tried to figure out how to get water to their dogs and horses.

"Multiple" small water districts in the county have also been on boil-water orders because of contamination issues from the fires' ash and debris, Workman said, though he could not specify these areas.

But Ramona, whose water district serves about 36,000 residents, was a different issue to begin with, Workman said. He said that the fire burned the water district's pump station and that the generator went out; the district had no spare generator.

"So they couldn't keep their water flow up, so basically all their water ran dry," Workman said.

For Ramona resident John Gould, 75, the lack of water has been one of many frustrations. He has a water well on his property, but electricity is not expected to be restored until Nov. 7, he said.

That's why he ended up at the town's Kragen Auto Parts store, where he picked up a $500 generator on Friday.

"I need 220 volts to turn on the well," Gould said. "And I have a swimming pool that looks like the black lagoon."

-- Tami Abdollah

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