Poor little rich people (August 30, 2015)

A week ago, the Daily Press published an article about the Victorville water district’s $7.5 million funding gap for this year alone, adding that the district could run out of cash by fiscal year 2018-19 without a rate hike (Rate hike recommendations rejected, Daily Press, August 23, 2015). The article failed to mention that the water district is already thirty something million in debt.

Today you published a story about a woman who can’t get water to her property (Landlocked in Hinkley, Desert Dispatch, April 30, 2015).

Yet somehow in your treatment of the Apple Valley water issue — also in today’s paper — you focused on disgruntled rich people complaining about how much they spend maintaining their unsustainable water habits (Residents bemoan drought surcharges, Desert Dispatch, August 30, 2015).

Instead of giving these self-absorbed nitwits a platform to denigrate a water company that has been a credit to our community for decades, I wish you had provided context, using information from the pages of your very newspaper, or at least pointed out that the Town has gone on record that it will not be lowering water rates, should it succeed in its hostile takeover of Ranchos.

Those who compare water rates in Apple Valley to those in Victorville (and elsewhere) never compare the full price of providing that water, and never take into consideration the condition of the system nor the fiscal health of the system operators. As a private company, Ranchos can’t hide water costs in bonds and taxes. What you see is what you get. The honesty is not only refreshing, it serves to help (some of) us moderate our water usage.

If you desired input from the community for this article, I wish you had called persons such as myself. When Governor Brown announced the mandatory cutbacks, my wife and looked at our water bills for the last ten years and saw that at a minimum we’d been using six units of water every two months, with a high usage of 14 units one summer. We didn’t feel we were being wasteful, but we decided to try doing our part to see if we could indeed use less water. We’re poor candidates, though, because being retired we’re home all the time, we enjoy the mature landscaping on our half-acre lot, we have a swamp cooler and a spa and a water filtration system, and we run the dishwasher whenever it gets full (which is often, because we eat almost all our meals at home).

Yet, our last bill from Ranchos showed we reduced our water usage to 4 units, and our bill to $60.40. We’re proud to be part of Ranchos’ success in reducing water usage (SWRCB Water Supplier Conservation Compliance Report: June 2015, July 27, 2015, and Conservation numbers improve, Daily Press, August 28, 2015).

Now if only the Town of Apple Valley would get on board, along with the 10 percent of customers account for 80 percent of the drought surcharges.

Greg Raven is Co-Chair of Apple Valley Citizens for Government Accountability, and is concerned about quality of life issues.