Many homeowners take pride in having a big backyard. But, what if all of a sudden access to that backyard was taken from you with little to no warning? That's what's happening to dozens of homeowners in south Bakersfield.
Properties on the west side of Parsons Way back onto a canal, and for years homeowners could get to their yards from the canal access road. But, that's changed.
"I like my neighborhood," said Connie Leija whose access has been blocked. She and her husband bought their home because of its big backyard.
"He liked that you could have access to the back and that you could store trailers ATV's and an RV," said Leija.
With plans to put in a pool, it was supposed to be their family home, but now their access to half of their backyard is being denied.
"It's tough when you have a situation come up and you're like what? Why now?" said Leija.
They're one of dozens of houses on Parsons Way, near the intersection of Panama Lane and South H Street, that backs onto the canal. All of the homeowners used to be able to access their backyards via a canal access road. But, a few weeks ago the access road was cut off with a lock put up by the Kern Delta Water District.
"What am I going to do? I will basically have to get rid of everything in my backyard if they cut off my access," said Leija.
Greg Jackson, who lives just down the street, says he's had access since he moved in, in the early 1960's.
"They have never shut it off permanently or told us it was going to be shut off so, therefore, I don't see how they have any right to come in and just deny us 100 percent," said Jackson.
Local property attorney, Tim Scanlon, said since residents have been using it for years there may be an implied easement, meaning they are entitled to access.
Kern Delta, which does not own the canal land, but does operate the canal and the gate, would not speak on camera.
Their general manager, Mark Mulkay did tell us over the phone that Kern Delta locked the gate when they, themselves couldn't get in.
"We went up there a few weeks ago along our canal bank and found that we had been locked out of our own right of way," said Mulkay.
They say they changed the locks, never knowing residents had access to the road.
"If somebody hadn't of locked us out I probably would have never been made aware of this situation," said Mulkay.
Now that they are aware, Mulkay said it is unsafe for residents to be there unsupervised. He said his company will open the gate at residents' requests, but for some that isn't good enough.