Two words really stuck out for me in a recent article about our aging water infrastructure (“Expensive new water pipelines needed in High Desert”, Daily Press, July 12, 2015). The article quotes a letter from the Water Education Foundation about the failure of certain agencies properly to address this issue, “particularly municipalities.”
What this indicates is that when a government entity runs the water utility, maintenance goes by the wayside. The publicly-owned Los Angeles DWP would be a prime example of this.
This gives us a glimpse of what to expect should the Town of Apple Valley (TOAV) be successful in its proposed seizure of Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company (AVRWC). The TOAV has already said that it intends to focus on new (speculative) infrastructure, remaining completely mum about the existing infrastructure that needs to be updated.
The real head-scratcher is that Apple Valley could have both maintenance and new infrastructure, if the Town council really wanted what it says it wants. As the article points out, AVRWC has for years been engaged in updating its infrastructure. However, AVRWC by law cannot install new infrastructure “on spec.” It could install new infrastructure, though, if the TOAV requests it. In fact, recently the TOAV requested new infrastructure from AVRWC for the North Apple Valley Industrial Specific Plan (NAVISP), and AVRWC drew up the project. When the time came to get approval from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), though, the TOAV flip-flopped and opposed the project, torpedoing their own proposal.
With actions such as this, it’s anyone’s guess what the TOAV has up its sleeve once it takes over AVRWC. One thing is for certain, though: Saving money for residents on water rates isn’t in the pipeline.