‘Not a water waster’ (September 23, 2015)

At last night’s Apple Valley Town Council meeting, several speakers got up to assure everyone that they don’t waste water, but still had a drought surcharge on their last water bills. We are not a water wasters by any means, said one resident distraught over the $99 drought surcharge he had received.

The Town Council isn’t telling residents this, but here’s a news flash: If you have a drought surcharge on your bill, you are using a lot of water. It doesn’t matter if you just moved to Apple Valley or if you’ve lived here for decades. It doesn’t matter how much you think you’ve cut back, or what you think your bill might be if you lived somewhere else. What matters is how much you’re still using here in Apple Valley.

My wife and are are retired so 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).

But we moved to the desert to live in the desert, not to reproduce our former home on the coast. Our last water bill was $60. The one before that was $65. We used four units of water over the last two months. The two months before that, six units. My rough calculation is that the gentleman mentioned above used 34 units of water over the base allocation of 32 units for the billing cycle, for a total of 66 units. Another speaker last night has admitted that he uses 150 units of water per billing cycle, 37 times more water than my wife and I use.

According to the Daily Press, 10 percent of customers account for 80 percent of the drought surcharges (Residents bemoan drought surcharges, August 30, 2015). At last night’s meeting, Eric Larsen of Ranchos said that the vast majority of Ranchos customers don’t have a drought surcharge. This has allowed Ranchos to meet its conservation goals three months in a row (Ranchos touts 31-percent reduction in water use, Daily Press, September 22, 2015).

So, if there’s a drought surcharge on your water bill in Apple Valley, the solution isn’t more government. The solution is getting water wise.

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

Published: Daily Press