WATER FOR PROFIT
The arguments have been made by both parties: the City of Claremont for eminent domain takeover of our water system from Golden State Water Company, owned by an even larger conglomerate.
The latest from The Flow:
"Aug 16, 2016: The City and GSW rested their cases on July 15. Closing arguments took place on August 10. Judge Fruin has 90 days to render his decision about Claremont's right to take over the water system by eminent domain. If the decision is in our favor, the cost will then be determined by a jury. GSW attacked La Verne's ability to administer the water system--see La Verne's response in the blog.
"You can get some information on the current state and the history of the effort.
"For a short summary of past events and future steps, see the January 5, 2015 blog post titled "City of Claremont Water Acquisition Process".
[La Verne is a neighbor city comparable to Claremont, but whose water rates have been much lower.]
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Refreshing your memory as to what I refer, here's a slightly edited version of what I wrote about the water situation in my city, "Water - Matters of Import 2013", 02/01/13
Water continues to be a volatile local issue with citizens in my city -- reaching an explosive level from residents long simmering anger over outrageous water rates. Our rates have been significantly higher than the surrounding cities served by this for-profit water company owned by an even larger conglomerate. There is also anger with the California Public Utilities Commission and their Division of Ratepayer Advocates for failing to meet their mandate to obtain the “lowest possible rate for service consistent with reliable and safe service levels.” There are legal reasons why this has been allowed to occur.
Studies are being made as the city moves closer toward a goal of taking over our water for the future generations to come who will most benefit from any savings. The water company has refused to sell us our water rights. Our city officials are exploring other options including acquiring ownership through eminent domain. The company probably fears the latter and has recruited groups outside our city to make this a greater issue than just about citizens wanting fair, just and reasonable water rates instead of our lining the pockets of a far-removed corporation focused on excessive profit. There are many facts that have bearing including residents responding positively to significant reduction in water usage for several years while the company profits increased as they sought even greater rate increases i.e. they want over 25% increase in 2013.
Years ago I recall reading that water would be the oil of the future. Also then, PBS broadcast a special documenting that large water corporations were quietly buying up water rights all over the world. If we think paying outrageous amounts for gas, or not being able to afford to operate our cars is a calamity, at least car makers have finally begun offering us vehicles that use alternative energy. Somehow, I think our bodies will be less inclined to tolerating major water cutbacks - if we want to continue living - than our vehicles having less gas. So far, I don't know of any sufficient alternative water substitute.
Here's a link to 10 videos about the world water situation. You may be well-advised to explore your local water source, who owns it and what is projected for your water cost future.
For many years we’ve been conditioned, with erroneous information in many instances, to believe we should purchase bottled drinking water. So, we are being slowly moved toward even more water commercialization. An expectation of raiding what may seem now like an endless water source with desalinization of our oceans may need to be limited in centuries to come.
Many of our fresh water streams, rivers, lakes and even our oceans are all too frequently under assault from pollution. Mining of various sorts, including coal, have contributed to this situation as have the deepest of underground penetrations such as with fracking. We already have seen the devastation of oil pollution in Alaska and the Gulf accidents from which neither area has recovered. Still some were prepared to run an oil pipeline from Canada through a major water acquifer area. Water acquifers must be protected across this nation, just as ours here in my town need to be which this current water company wants to continue controlling.
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Since I wrote the above we've had the Flint, Michigan water crisis where lead was found in the drinking water with devastating consequences, especially for infants and young children. This event, coupled with stories of water issues elsewhere, lends support to consideration of buying and using bottled drinking water -- but how pure is that water? -- or installing individual water purification systems in residences. Then there is gray water/grey water -- recycled waste water.
Presently North Dakota with other American Indian tribes and environmentalists are protesting plans to run oil pipelines under the Missouri River, the source of drinking water for some. Concern focuses on other issues as well as the potential for water contamination should accidental oil pipeline leakage or accidental spillages occur. 21 st Century oil spills are noted on Wikipedia though the list is incomplete.
Meanwhile, in Claremont, we patiently await the Judge's ruling on our lawsuit to establish eminent domain over our water system. Then will be the determination of how much we will have to pay for the system. Our monthly water bills may well not be lower in my lifetime, but water system acquisition supporters believe their children, grandchildren and other future residents will benefit.