Lakes Water System Summary
Vallejo is trying to profit from our water system... and us.
If the City of Vallejo has its way, we face a future without affordable water! We urgently need funds now so that we may take legal actions to prevent this from happening.
The City of Vallejo has revealed they are preparing to sell our Lakes Water System (LWS) to an Investor Owned Utility company. The City has disregarded their verbal agreement to negotiate with representatives of the LWS customers, and continuously delayed their promise to provide us with their appraisal of the system that we requested in 2009. Over the last four years, the GVLA has confronted the City of Vallejo about policies which dismiss the interests of LWS customers; including lack of accountability for fees and water rates, and ignored our deteriorated pipes.
At last, with their Appraisal in hand, we have information revealing the advanced state of deterioration of the network of water main pipelines that for 99 years (1893-1992) was Vallejo’s main source of water (their only source until 1959). These 50+ miles of pipe extend from Green Valley, to American Canyon, areas of Cordelia and Willotta Oaks, and Gordon Valley in southeast Napa County. They now form the distribution system for the LWS. The City has unilaterally determined that all expenses related to the LWS shall be billed solely to the LWS customers! Today, instead of serving over 36,000 customer accounts in Vallejo, the system serves only our 809 LWS households. A large percentage of the original old main pipelines need replacing.
Ownership of our water system by an Investor Owned Utility company would be the worst-case scenario for Lakes customers. Vallejo’s Lakes Water System Appraisal states that our water bills would immediately increase 52%. GVLA Water Committee engineers estimate that our potable water costs would increase by 300% in the next ten years. We may also lose existing water rights and water storage, as well as being forced to purchase water on the open market at retail prices. Also, as a consequence of extraordinary water costs, when prospective home buyers compare our water costs against those of other areas, our 809 Lakes homeowners face a devaluation of least $88 million in home values.
Consider the destructive impact on LWS customers if Vallejo is paid their anticipated $15 million from the sale of the LWS water treatment and distribution system as they shrewdly unload their looming $30 million (worn out pipes) liability by selling to a corporate-owned water company, who would then pass on to us those replacement costs plus 15% profit, plus their full cost for buying the system!
To protect our interests, this situation requires that we intervene. With your help the GVLA is prepared to initiate legal actions, develop strategies, and enter into negotiations as may be necessary to achieve reasonable long-term water rates, as well as financial and operational management responsive to the LWS customers.
In addition to the lawsuit, the GVLA is exploring other solutions to our water problem. One area the GVLA has explored is to form a Community Service District (CSD). A CSD is a locally-controlled entity which could own the LWS in the event a settlement with Vallejo could be reached which involved a transfer of the LWS to the customers on acceptable terms. A CSD is a common structure in many area of rural California to allow for direct control of customer water system operations and costs. A CSD could provide an alternative ownership structure for the responsive and sensible management of our water system and we continue to explore the option.
We need your contributions and support to assure that we have adequate resources for this expensive and potentially lengthy project. At the October 8th Lakes Water customer meeting, we asked Lakes Water households to contribute the equivalent of one typical bimonthly water bill (or more if you are able) so that GVLA may pursue actions on behalf of the LWS customers. In the few weeks since that meeting, we have received funds which bring us close to our initial goal. We are encouraged by the immediate support and thank those who have generously contributed. The GVLA has established a separate account solely for LWS customer contributions. These funds will be carefully administered and accounted for, and we will report to you through our website: www.gvla.com
Effective and timely actions by GVLA on behalf of you and other LWS customers depend on all of us doing our part. If you have not yet contributed, and you share our grave concern about our future water bills, and their effect on our property values, please send your contribution as soon as you can. Together, we can better control our water costs, protect our rural character, and secure our future.
The Green Valley Landowners Association Board of Directors and the GVLA Water Committee, representing the Lakes Water Customers