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California water issues a portent of things to come for Yelm?
Public outcry over Mayor’s growth policies vs. water rates

– “Yelm Residents Question High Water Rates”
“Paying for Growth: City Says Rates Can’t Go Lower by Law”

“Some Yelm residents are feeling the heat not just in the weather, but in their monthly water bills, and they’re asking why the city’s water rates are so high.”

“Another factor that affects the city’s water rates is the litigation from the city’s water rights case, which was heard by the state Supreme Court earlier this year. The cost of that litigation gets passed on to the ratepayers — and it must, by law, Harding said. Because of the litigation, the city has been under a microscope and been forced to add some additional improvements to the system that haven’t been added by other jurisdictions, he added.

‘If we’re awarded our new water rights and we have more of the commodity to sell and then are able to get more users on the system, that will help us equalize those rates,,'” Harding said, “quoting Steven Wyble, Nisqually Valley News. Read more
[Ed. Note: And if the city is denied the water rights by the WA Supreme Court, then they have saddled their customers with even more expenses, as outlined below.]

Editor’s Note:
Mayor Harding’s recent defense for the $5.4 million appropriation for the SW Well constriction project is pertinent to what is on-going in California, as reported in The New York Times story below. Regardless that Harding says that this well construction must occur anyway despite a WA Supreme Court adverse ruling, the last paragraph in The New York Times story below sums up Harding’s as-usual, self-serving motives on this, too. And, why has the Nisqually Valley News (NVN) not queried him on the capped city-owned Yelm Golf Course well acquired through the Thurston Highlands default, who’s rehabilitation would have been far less costly than this new well? Hmmm.

– Mayor Harding defends $5.4 million construction of new well
“The project comes at a time the city faces uncertainty over the fate of water rights granted to it by the state Department of Ecology. But Yelm Mayor Ron Harding said the well is necessary regardless of whether the city is ultimately awarded the water rights or not.

The Washington State Supreme Court heard oral argument in May regarding water rights granted to the city by the Department of Ecology. The court could take until next June to make a decision in the case.

Harding said Wednesday morning [August 12] the court’s decision won’t have an impact on the well project.

‘We basically have made a conscious decision that that’s a piece of infrastructure we either need as part of that decision, or part of our future decision,’ Harding said. ‘So as the city grows as a piece of infrastructure, we can’t grow anymore without it (the well). We just made the decision that we’re going to continue to move forward in a positive direction and deal with whatever the issues are as they come.’

Currently, the city’s downtown well is its only source of drinking water, and the well draws from a shallow aquifer, Harding said,” quoting the NVN.
Read more

– “Losing Water, California Tries to Stay Atop Economic Wave”
“Despite the drought, communities are pushing ahead with plans for new housing, with advocates saying there will be enough water to meet the demand.”

“Evert W. Palmer has a vision for this city famous for its state prison: 10,200 new homes spread across the rolling hills to the south, bringing in a flood of new jobs, new business and 25,000 more people.

Yes, Mr. Palmer, the city manager, is well aware that Folsom Lake, the sole source of water for this Gold Rush outpost near Sacramento, is close to historically low levels, and stands as one of the most disturbing symbols of the four-year drought that has gripped this state. And that Folsom is under orders to reduce its water consumption by 32 percent as part of mandatory statewide urban cutbacks.

But Mr. Palmer, like other officials who approved the ambitious plan to expand this city, said he was confident that there was enough water to allow Folsom’s population to grow to nearly 100,000 by 2036. It would be economic folly, he said, to run things any other way.

‘That would create unnecessary economic hardships here to benefit others,’ Mr. Palmer said. ‘And while I’m a citizen of the planet, I’m also paid to manage the home team.’

The drought that has overrun California — forcing severe cutbacks in water for farms, homeowners and businesses — has run up against a welcome economic resurgence that is sweeping across much of the state after a particularly brutal downturn. It is forcing communities to balance a robust demand for new housing with concerns that the drought is not cyclical but rather the start of permanent, more arid conditions caused by global warming.

At a time when Gov. Jerry Brown has warned of a new era of limits, the spate of construction, including a boom in building that began even before the drought emergency was declared, is raising fundamental questions about just how much additional development California can accommodate. The answer in places like this — and in other parched sections of the state, from the Coachella Valley to Bakersfield to the California coast — is, it seems, plenty.”

‘It’s very hard to be a local elected official and say no,’ said Max Gomberg, the senior environmental scientist for climate change with the State Water Resources Control Board, the agency with primary responsibility for regulating the water supply. ‘All the reasons to say yes are very powerful, starting with tax revenues. And of course, the self-interest of wanting to be re-elected,'” quoting Adam Nagourney, The New York Times.
Read more

Posted by Steve on August 27, 2015 at 7:17 am | Permalink

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