Water Rate Increase: Or Can OCWD actually self-Liposuck?




by Debbie Cook, cross-posted from Surf City Voice; original title “Sucking it Up will lower Costs for Ratepayers and Help Fill the Basin” changed by OJ.

I recently spoke at the Orange County Water District (OCWD) Water Issues Committee (WIC) in support of OCWD staff’s first proposal to raise the District’s replenishment assessment (RA) by $27.

Based on OCWD staff’s basin pumping projections (OCWD manages the Orange County Groundwater Basin), I calculate that the price increase is equal to 6¢ for 748 gallons (one unit) of water.

My husband and I used 8 units in February. Seventy-five percent of our water comes from the basin and 25% from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. We have a 1/3 acre lot landscaped with drought-tolerant plants as well as fruit trees and a vegetable garden.

So, OCWD staff’s originally proposed increase would add about 36¢ per month to our water bill.

But Santa Ana City Councilman Vincent Sarmiento, who represents his city on the OCWD Board of Directors, apparently took offense. To him, I was telling his constituents to “suck it up” and he suggested that the OCWD  “cut the fat” like he has to do in his city.

Sarmiento pointed out that he represents constituents who barely afford food or rent. “So, you know, I’m just shocked by some of the comments I’ve heard throughout the county from some folks. And I’m offended by some of the comments I hear even in our agency,” he said.

I’m all for cutting fat, but after years attending OCWD meetings (and videotaping them) I have seen no evidence that its board can cut the fat of its own making.

Consider the 5% raise the board discreetly gave itself recently…

Continue reading this story for ways OCWD could cut LOTSA fat…



About Surf City Voice

John Earl is the editor of the Surf City Voice. Frequent contributor Debbie Cook, a former Huntington Beach Mayor, is board president of the Post Carbon Institute.