Letter to City Council re: Water, a Longer View – from Eric Olsen

Posted 1/20/14 – Sent to City Council, cc:ed to local mediaTo the Sierra Madre City Council Re: Water, a longer view. January 20, 2014

  1.  No one wants their water bill to go up.  On the other hand, everyone knows that the covenants we gave in connection with our water bonds are hopelessly in default and it is no surprise that our municipal credit rating stinks.   We need to get our credit back.
  2. No one is very happy that we had to bring water in at what appeared to be an extravagant cost. To add insult to injury, the imported water discolored the local water in some areas.
    1.  Are there capital expenditures that could be made that would make it possible to stretch our own Sierra Madre sources further?
    2.  In addition to being old and precariously close to breaking, are our pipes leaking?  Is there some way to detect leaks in the pipes?
    3. Would it be possible to capture more local water and put it into our water table?
    4. I understand some cities by smart metering are detecting water loss and saving customers money. Would that work here?
    5. What other things could we do?
    6. If we cannot increase our supplies do we need to take further draconian steps ?
      1. Do we need to impose   new building moratoriums?
      2. Do we need to severely restrict outside watering?
      3. I have heard informally that our rates are materially higher than elsewhere nearby
        1.   Is this true?
        2.  Have we looked into the possibility of partnering  with some other local entity?
        3. Have we considered selling our system to a water company that could  make the necessary capital improvements as well as lower our rates?

–Eric Olson
Sierra Madre

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