Editor’s Notebook: Wildflowers, water and Black Bear Diner (March 25, 2017)


THE WATER IS SOFTER: Several weeks ago I commented on how we had noticed a big difference in the water since moving to Apple Valley. I noticed my skin felt softer after showering and my wife said she wasn’t seeing the hard-water deposits in the toilets like she did in Hesperia.

Since then, I’ve received several calls and emails from readers — some of whom like me had moved from Hesperia to Apple Valley — who also said they thought Apple Valley water was better. One couple said they even fill up containers from the tap to take with them on trips when they go out in their RV.

Anyway, I took a tour of Liberty Utilities’ facilities last week and naturally the subject came up. According to Liberty officials, the difference is easily explainable: The closer you live to the Mojave River, the softer your water will be. Since we now live very close to the river, the water we get comes from a Liberty well that also is very close to the river. And water near the river doesn’t encounter as much limestone as water from wells farther away from the river. I’m told it is that limestone that makes water harder and causes those deposits that are so hard to clean out of your toilets. Apparently, water coming from closer to the river mainly passes through sand as it is pumped out.

Liberty Utilities’ annual water quality report provides some more interesting facts on Apple Valley’s water. According to the company, some of the water it pumps has been age-dated close to 10,000 years old by the United States Geologic Survey. Company officials say that means it has been protected and naturally filtered for a very long time.

Of course, most of the water in our local aquifer is recharged by snow from the San Bernardino Mountains as well as the Mojave River.

At the well I visited near the river last week, Liberty Operator 3 Mike Cinko said the water level in the aquifer has been rising lately, which is a very good sign. “A couple of pumps we were up 10 to 15 feet,” said Mike, who has been with the company for 23 years and has been tracking water levels that whole time. “They (usually) don’t change very much, even in a drought.”

The other really interesting fact I learned was that Liberty’s Apple Valley customers are among the most conservation conscious in the entire High Desert. According to Vice President and General Manager Tony Penna, the average Liberty customer uses 120 gallons of water per day. You’ll remember the Mojave Water Agency’s Nicholas Schneider told High Desert Water Summit attendees recently that High Desert residents use an average of about 189 gallons. So Liberty customers are beating that average by about one-third.

Source: Steve Hunt, Daily Press