To the Editor: New rates hurt low users

The Sept. 10, 2018, meeting of the IWV Water District included a discussion of new water rates. The new rate study has been in the works since spring of 2017. The preliminary decision at the meeting was to adopt a warmed over version of the current rate structure that encourages water waste and increases the financial burden on low-volume water users.

The current rate structure was adopted a few years ago after the WD ran into financial difficulties. The primary change was a significant increase to the fixed fee. The fixed fee increase caused significantly lower tier 1 & 2 water rates and significantly raised higher tier rates.

The reduced tier 1 & 2 rates raise little revenue from low volume water users. Also, increased water usage has little to no impact on water bills providing no incentive to use water efficiently. Tiers 1 & 2 represent 75 percent of the water usage, but they represent only 10 percent of the commodity revenue.

Tiers 3 & 4 are only 25 percent of the water use but generate 90 percent of the revenue. Water cutbacks by the public will likely be in the higher cost tiers. A cutback in tiers 3 & 4 could make WD insolvent.

A search of the Internet found water rates for three desert communities. The fixed fees range from $11.36 per month on the low side to $23.30 on the high side. The cheapest tier 1 rate was $1.89 per unit. The proposed IWVWD rate structure has a $38.25 fixed fee and a tier 1 rate of $0.74 per unit. Water districts will each have their own needs, but the IWVWD is clearly out of step with other districts.

The old guard on the WD board are determined to keep the fixed rates high, which continues to increase the risk of a financial problem for the WD. The fixed fees need to be lowered and the tier fees adjusted to make water cost more equitable and save water in the long run.

At the Sept. 10 meeting, Director Chuck Griffin argued in favor of decreasing the fixed fee. WD candidate Stan Rajtora also supported the reduction in fixed fee. Please vote for the candidates that will make the water fees equitable for the entire community and discourage wasting a valuable natural resource, water.

Stuart H Breil

Story First Published: 2018-09-21