Friday, 29 September 2023

Bach: The continuing story of Lucerne's Cal Water blues

Well, it looks like Lucerne water ratepayers still have the “Cal Water blues.”

Earlier this summer residents of Lucerne were presented with another proposed rate hike of 21.7 percent next year, and 3.38 percent the following year. The purpose of this rate hike would be to cover increasing health care costs, pensions and workers compensation insurance costs, water quality programs and after-hours customer service support.

In addition to this, once the new plant is finally completed (hopefully by next summer), Lucerne's ratepayers will be presented with yet another raise to pay back the state loan. The only good thing about this raise is that with the completion of the new plant, our water should actually be drinkable!

Cal Water is also planning to consolidate all of its rate hikes into a package deal, because now they apply for raises for one-third of their districts at a time. This means that their next major rate hike for everyone in the Cal Water system would be in 2011, and promises to be a real whopper.

This all leads me to two other issues. One was that we were notified last week of excessive levels of Trihalomethanes (THMs), which are a residual product of chlorination, that had occurred over the last year. Then, for a grand finale, last Friday, we were presented with “boil your water” notices for our good behavior. There was an excellent article in last Saturday's online Lake County News that went into great detail regarding these two events. The boil water order would last five days.

An attempt on my part to contact the California Public Utilities Commission by phone resulted in my being on various holds for half an hour, and then finding that the ONE (and only one) person assigned to water issues wasn't even available. Better results were obtained when I called the state Department of Health Services in Santa Rosa (707-576-2145), who promptly returned my call.

We don't have a new water plant yet due to an originally overly-ambitious, platinum-plated design on the part of Cal Water. Luckily both the county and Caltrans had enough problems with the original design that it has since been simplified and downsized, keeping the existing office, and using a modular microfiltration system that will vastly improve water quality here in Lucerne.

It seems to me that the only way for the citizens of Lucerne to be fully served by their water system is to own it. How we'll actually do that remains to be seen, but we DO have options.

In Lucerne there is a group of Volunteers,called Lucerne FLOW (Friends of Locally Owned Water). This group is working on acquiring the water company for the benefit of Lucerne. They meet at the Lucerne Alpine Senior Center on the first Thursday of the month. Feel free to come and help.

The contact phone number for messages only is 274-3346. Call and leave your name and phone number and someone will get back to you.

Craig Bach is a director of the Lucerne Community Water Organization.


Upcoming Calendar

09.30.2023 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Kelseyville Pear Festival
09.30.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
10.01.2023 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Ron Green Memorial Benefit Concert
10.05.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
Middletown Art Center
10.06.2023 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
David Arkenstone & Friends in concert
10.07.2023 9:00 am - 11:00 am
Sponsoring Survivorship Breast Cancer Run & Walk
10.07.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
Columbus Day
10.12.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
Middletown Art Center

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