Editor’s Notebook: The water world we live in (March 12, 2017)

Everywhere I turned last week, I ran into water. Not literally, of course, but there was what seemed like a bucketful of news about our most precious resource.

It started with the Mojave Water Agency’s High Desert Water Summit, which I attended at High Desert Church on Wednesday morning.

There I learned some fascinating facts about water and plants, from keynote speaker Robin Kobaly, president and co-founder of The Power of Plants, and MWA Conservation Manager Nicholas Schneider.

Kobaly’s presentation on plants focused on their relationship with mycelium. There were lots of takeaways from her talk, but one of the big ones was developers should always leave a little patch of native plants on parcels they are clearing. That will help any plants they add to the parcel later survive and thrive much better than if they simply clear the entire plot.

From Schneider I learned that in 2000, High Desert residents used an average of 388 gallons of water per day. Since then, we have cut that usage dramatically. Today, Schneider said, High Desert residents use an average of about 189 gallons of water per day.

That still seems like a lot to me, and one snarky commenter I overhead questioned that too, saying, How can it be that high when half of them don’t bathe?

Now, I’m not even going to go there.

But as luck would have it, when I got home from work Wednesday night, my first two-month water bill was awaiting me.

I was interested in two things: 1) How much the great water I am enjoying in Apple Valley was going to cost me compared to what I paid in Hesperia, and 2) How much water was I using per day?

Now, I knew when we moved that we would pay more for water. I figured we’d pay at least twice as much in Apple Valley than we did in Hesperia, and braced myself to even pay three times as much.

Well, we landed somewhere in between two and three times as much. My bill in Hesperia was usually $52.66 every two months. Cheap, really. But we’re not big water users. We had desert landscape in both our front and back yards, and it is just the two of us. No kids, no horses. We run the dishwasher, do the wash, take showers and wash the cars occasionally.

My first bill at our new house came in at $137.74. Our water usage was 14 cubic feet (CCF) of water, which was exactly the same as we used in Hesperia.

According to the bill, one CCF equals 748 gallons of water. So by my math, we used 10,472 gallons over the 56 days in the billing cycle. That works out to 93.5 gallons of water per day per person in my household. So I guess MWA is getting two for the price of one in terms of water usage in the Hunt household.

I feel good that we’re doing our part to conserve water. Even though the drought seems to be easing, we need to be water wise here in the High Desert.

Of course, water will continue to be a big issue in Apple Valley this year. On Thursday night the Town Council, as required by Measure V, set a June date for residents to vote on whether or not they want the Town to continue its attempt to take over the Liberty Utilities water system by imminent domain.

If the majority of residents vote for the takeover attempt to continue, Liberty and Apple Valley will see each other in court in a year or two, where the issue will ultimately be decided. If the majority of residents vote to end the takeover attempt, that will be the end of it. Clearly there’s a lot at stake for Liberty, the Town Council and residents. It will be interesting to see how the water war plays out.

Source: Steve Hunt, Daily Press