About that MWA well (June 4, 2015)

During the April 28 Town Hall Presentation, Town of Apple Valley (TOAV) councilmen Scott Nassif and Art Bishop took a moment to smear Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company (AVRWC) over something I’d never heard about: A water well constructed by Mojave Water Authority (MWA) at the expense of something like $2.5 million. I’m going from memory here, so if any of these statements is incorrect, feel free to let me know.

If I remember the narrative correctly, it’s that MWA constructed a well on the Victorville side of the Mojave River, to serve persons on the Apple Valley side of the river. After MWA had completed construction on the well, AVRWC said everything was wrong, and made MWA redo it at great expense to AVRWC’s specifications. Then, after MWA made the modifications, it presented the well to AVRWC and AVRWC said, We don’t want your water. Nassif and Bishop acted mystified as to why AVRWC would refuse the water from this new well, implying that it was basically free water for AVRWC to sell.

When Dennis Cron speaks, people listen. In his 40 years of work experience in water utilities, he’s become kind of a one-man Enron. We Apple Valley residents are very fortunate that those extortion allegations from a couple years ago didn’t stick, so he can continue to represent TOAV. He was making a serious charge against AVRWC, so I decided to look into it.

As it turns out, there’s more to the story.

First, MWA located its well virtually on top of AVRWC’s best producing well, so both wells draw from the same source. Because AVRWC’s best producing well supplies all the water needed for that area, AVRWC doesn’t need another well there. Furthermore, in order to use the MWA well, AVRWC has first to shut off its own well.

Second, whether or not they meant to imply that the water from the MWA well would be free or low cost, it would have cost AVRWC the same for electricity and water payments as using its own well, but with the added complication and expense of switching off one well, changing the valves, starting the other well, etc.

Third, if both wells could be run at the same time, to get this not-free water from the MWA well to where it is needed in the AVRWC system would require the installation of a new main at the cost of somewhere between $3 and $4 million. For AVRWC to dig a new well closer to where the water is needed can be done for a little more than $1 million.

We may never know why MWA decided to spend millions building a well where it currently isn’t needed, but there’s no mystery about why TOAV is trying to demonize AVRWC over this issue.

As before, when TOAV tried to stick it to AVRWC over the issue of water for the golf course, AVRWC is doing what it can to come to the rescue. The rescue in this case is for AVRWC to bring the MWA well on-line periodically, just to make certain that it’s running properly, in order that it be available should it ever be needed.

The more you hear about how TOAV does business, the more you wish that the Town would sell its water rights to AVRWC and get out of the water business completely.

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

Postscript: There’s another aspect to this issue, about which you can read here.

PPS: According to Art Bishop’s re-election campaign materials, he was appointed in 2004 as a Director to the Mojave Water Agency Board, where he eventually became President of the Board of Directors. Pretty astonishing that given this, he has no clue what is going on with water in our area.