To the Editor: Water board opposes fee

I have been authorized by the Indian Wells Valley Water District’s Board of Directors to send this letter on behalf of the district. Initially, the board supports the acquisition of imported water as a component of achieving sustainability in the IWV aquifer to provide a continuous reliable source of quality water, now and into the future. That said, it is important to recognize that although the district supports a “Replenishment Fee,” there are questions and requests for clarification from the board and the general public regarding the fee which should be addressed.

Following are general concerns and questions in no particular order:

1. The authority should delay a vote on the fee until the public can participate in an in person, open meeting that allows true communication with the IWVGA Board. The water board is aware of the restrictions imposed as a result of the current pandemic, however, this is a critical issue of concern to the IWV as a whole and the public must be provided every meaningful opportunity to address the IWVGA board on this issue to express their concerns and views. Simply put, the current format of IWVGA, IWVWD and city meetings does not provide sufficient notice or opportunity for the public to understand and comment on this critical issue that impacts the entire IWV basin for years to come.

2. How is present and future recycled water from the city’s waste water treatment plant given consideration in the calculation that determined the imported water needs of 5,000 AF?

3. The acquisition of the water is but one component of a project to acquire an imported water supply to the valley. The Board agrees with the community regarding full disclosure of additional tasks and associated fees necessary to accomplish the final desired result. The district believes a concerted effort can and should be made to develop a detailed roadmap, including all associated costs, for each option contained in the GSP.

4. The table provided in the Proposition 218 notice distributes the carryover from the Navy (6,200 AF) to fully meet the demands of de

minimis, small mutuals and Trana DM domestic pumping. Why are the IWVWD customers the only domestic users required to bring in

an imported water supply? De minimis pumpers are assumed exempt and small mutuals and lnyokem Community Services District are exempted from the Fee through Navy pronouncement. What Navy pronouncement? It has been suggested that using the number of residential housing units might provide a more equitable method of Navy carryover distribution. Navy carryover should be distributed so all domestic pumpers pay a portion of the fee.

5. How will the authority manage the approximate $50 million collected by the Fee? Will the fee be used for purposes other than acquiring an imported water supply? What other fees can the IWV expect?

Thank you for your consideration of these critical matters.

Charles F. Cordell, president

Indian Wells Valley Water District

Story First Published: 2020-08-21