Get all the facts, please (October 20, 2015)

Dear Alice Walton and Shelby Grad,

I am very confused by what you published about water bills in Apple Valley.

According to you, Water customers in Apple Valley who succeeded in cutting their usage received a rude surprise on their bills — a surcharge for using less water.

Here is a link to a report showing our water bills for the last ten months (we’re billed every other month). As you can see, our bills have gone down each billing period, as has our usage.

As far as I know, the only people whose bills have gone up after cutting their usage are those who are using excessive amounts of water, incurring the state’s mandatory drought surcharge. This last bill, my wife and I used 3 units (CCF) of water over two months. Residents are allowed 32 units every two months without surcharge. Therefore, one would have to use more than ten times the amount of water my wife and I used (!) to see a drought surcharge on his bill. I’ve heard of residents using 150 units over two months, and there may be others using even more. I fail to see why people using that much water in a desert during a drought should not have some sort of surcharge.

It might also interest you to learn that, according to Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company, 10 percent of its users are responsible for 80 percent of the drought surcharges.

Finally, while it is technically true that Ranchos’ parent corporation Park Water Company is owned by the private equity firm The Carlyle Group, the sale of Park Water (and thus, Ranchos) to Liberty Utilities is almost certain to be finalized soon.

It’s gratifying that the LA Times would show an interest in what is happening in Apple Valley, but please, get all the facts before you plunge in. The Town of Apple Valley is engaged in a multi-million dollar disinformation campaign against Ranchos, so everything they say must be fact-checked.

If you have any other questions or just want more information, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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