To the Editor: Encourages public to weigh in on water costs

Water, water all around under us — but not a gallon affordable. Sound strange. Maybe not if the Groundwater Agency puts its proposed plan in place and charges users in the Indian Wells Valley Water District to pay for it all. A quick look at the plan shows a number of gasp-inducing costs like:

• $226 million for imported water system

• $42 million to make use of recycled water

• $23 million to optimize pumping (whatever that means)

These are just part of it all. And when we are importing water to use, it will cost at least $4 million a year for the water. Add it all up as to yearly cost, and it comes to $1,300 to maybe $2,200 more per year in cost to you.

Does that sound like an extra expense that most people in Ridgecrest can afford? Does that even sound partially reasonable? Not when we have also been told in a Bureau of Reclamation study that we have about 3 million acre feet of good water in our aquifer, which goes 300 feet down.

That says simply that we won’t actually have a water supply problem for more than 200 years, in which time surely an affordable solution to our aquifer recharge can be found that doesn’t bankrupt half the town.

But no matter. The unelected Groundwater Agency is charging ahead with the plan, with its army of lawyers urging it on. Somehow it seems OK to make our lives economically miserable just because the state of California said to. Not one of them seems to understand that this unfunded mandate is by law to be paid for by the state (California Constitution Article 13B, Section 6).

So instead of telling the state that we are not willing to bankrupt us all in obeisance to its will, that we will only comply when the state complies with the law and provides funding for all this, the GA wants to make drinking water a luxury pursuit that only the well-paid can afford.

Why does this not sound right? Stay tuned — they are planning a one-time-only public meeting where you will get all of three minutes to voice your concerns. Maybe in December.

In the meantime, tell them what you think by sending an email to lduffy@iwvwd.com and ask that it be forwarded to the GA Board.

Mike Neel

Story First Published: 2019-11-22