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Public Responses


Saving Water

Aug 03, 2017

Californians are being water scammed. Here's how it works: You must conserve water on your property. You will be fined, in some places as much as $500/day, if you don't adhere to water restrictions imposed by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). You will also risk being shamed into cutting back by neighbors, who have been convinced it is their duty to be the water police in order to preserve California's water.

Water providers have fixed costs to bring you water. When you use less, they sell less. Water revenues no longer cover their fixed costs. They have no choice but to raise rates. This is often referred to as "use less, pay more". City Councils and Boards of Supervisors hold public water-rate-increase meetings. The only certain way to prevent the increase is for a majority of the community's population to show up and voice opposition. Many do show up, but without a majority of all the residents who receive water, rate hikes are approved.

Most everybody's rates have already gone up at least once. Many areas have seen a second round of rate increases as well. Even more have even seen increases for multiple years where rates automatically rise annually.

Here is the scam. Water providers have the water to sell to their customers. Customers are restricted from using that water. The water remains in reservoirs that are near capacity. As we head into the next rainy season, reservoirs will discharge water to the ocean for flood control, making space for new rain and snow melt. The water Californians saved in their homes will now go out to sea. We recently saw 18 months worth of conserved water statewide, become saltwater every 20 hours.

Meanwhile, property owners dig deeper into their pockets investing in low-flush toilets, low-flow shower heads, water-saving appliances, gray-water recycling, and drought-scapes. Those who have let their landscapes die have intentionally devalued their own property by as much as 36\%. All the while, monthly water bills continue becoming unaffordable.

But what happens when families simply don't have the money to pay for water? That expected result has already been planned for. Enter Assembly Bill 401 signed by Governor Brown in Oct. 2015. It's titled The Low Income Water Rate Assistance Program.

By the end of this year, the SWRCB will determine the amount of money to be collected from water ratepayers to fund the program. Yes, we will also pay the rising water rates of those who will soon find themselves no longer able.

Californians, who believe they are acting as good water stewards, are being deceived into giving up more of their hard earned money.

No water is actually been preserved.

Amazingly, Jones Valley in Shasta County managed to get a majority of their residents to their town meeting to vote against a rate increase. They succeeded. The punishment for doing so was swiftly delivered. Here is how that turned out for them.

Kristi Diener