- Associated Press - Saturday, May 16, 2015

MORADA, Calif. (AP) - Residents of a small Central Valley city continue to pay a flat, monthly rate for water despite having water meters installed nearly five years ago.

Residents of Morada, a small community outside of Stockton, are exploiting an obscure provision of 20-year-old ballot measure that requires taxpayer approval of taxes, fees and assessments related to their property, the San Jose Mercury News reported Saturday (https://tinyurl.com/q2yx2rk ).

A majority of Morada’s 113 homeowners formally objected to being switched from a flat rate to water meters, so their monthly fee stayed in place.

At the time, the homeowners’ objections to the water meters passed with little notice. But with California entering its fourth year of a ruinous drought, critics call the resistant to water meters selfish and unfair to others who are harder hit by the drought because they pay for the amount of water they use.

“There are lots of people in this state who don’t have clean, safe drinking water right now because of the drought,” said Kathryn Phillips, executive director of Sierra Club California. “Not to conserve as much as possible is unconscionable and irresponsible.”

Many of the town’s residents in San Joaquin County pay $126 a month for water. They’re paying less than many nearby homeowners and using eight times the county average.

Residents say many homeowners tend to large estate lots that need abundant water to keep the grass green. They say meters would kill many lawns.

“These are estate-size lots, and it takes a lot of water to keep that much grass green,” said Morada resident Ed Schroeder, 72, a retired hospital executive. “If we switch to meters and everyone lets their lawn go, it will change this whole neighborhood.”

The water district that services Morada could run into financial problems if the residents don’t switch to water meters soon, said Jim Stone, San Joaquin County’s deputy public works director. He said the flat fees aren’t covering the district’s cost to provide water to Morada.

Stone said the county will make an effort next month to switch the residents to meters with an “aggressive” public outreach program.

Morada is one of three small towns in the region that have had water meters installed but don’t use them.

___

Information from: San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, https://www.mercurynews.com

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide