Changing the water tier system in Poway. Do you reward conservation?
People that know me know that I’m an avid reader and researcher of the water struggles in the Western U.S. I consider myself somewhat knowledgeable on the subject.
Most of you realize that we live in an area in which we have to import more than 90 percent of our water, and our supplies continue to tighten due to population growth and environmental factors. Pumping our aquifers is only a short term solution, because when you pump them, the water tables drop. Then, for example, the trees roots can no longer reach the water, so they die, except in the case of imported water, an expensive proposition. Long term solutions are really the only answer.
If you have been keeping up with what is going on in Poway, you know that the 5 tier water rate system that was approved about 2 years ago to promote conservation might be changing to a 2 tier system (Poway City Council will be discussing that tonight). To make this as simple as possible, the 5 tier system rewards those who conserve with lower rates, while those who do not conserve pay a higher rate, part of which goes to subsidize the rates of those who conserve.
I shake my head in disbelief when I hear the term “Socialism” used regarding the 5 tier system. Poway had to reach mandated conservation levels or suffer punishing rate increases. To reach such goals, Poway offered lower rates to those who conserve and higher rates to those who do not. That is a fair method to all. It rewards conservation and penalizes those who would rather consume large qualities than attempt conservation. Changing the tier system to what is proposed is a slap to water conservation efforts.
The question is choice. You have those who selecte to conserve, for whatever reason, and now reap the rewards of lower rates. And you have those who select not to conserve and now want their rates reduced so they no longer have to subsidize those who do. You have a choice — reward those who conserve or reward those who do not.
It’s NOT just a Poway issue, but a regional issue. Do we reward conservation through lower rates which are subsidized by those who do not want to conserve? As the population grows and more restrictions are placed on our supply, water availability will diminish. Will it become a battle between the haves and the have nots? That is the situation in Poway.
BTW, I am keeping the political battle out of this as much as possible. Yet, let me just say that the Mayor and two of the Councilmembers are running for re-election and live in the “haves” area of Poway. The “haves” do influence elections in Poway a little too much. I wonder if it is time for “district only” elections in Poway? That will wait for another day.