Part III: Valley Pioneer, Golden Valley water customers face rate hikes

This is the third of a three-part series of a study by Meriwether comparing the Valley Pioneer Water Company and Golden Valley Improvement District. These organizations provide the water in Golden Valley, and each are moving toward raising their rates.

GOLDEN VALLEY – VPWC currently has 2,120 active customers and 300 inactive customers (residents who have meters to their property line, but do not currently have water service), in addition to numerous standpipe customers. VPWC sold 184,550,991 gallons of water to their customers in 2016. They have a multitiered-metered pipeline-supplied water rate that includes a base rate of $18 for 5/8-inch and 3/4-inch meters, $30 for 1-inch and $80 for 2-inch, which does not include usage in the base rate. Their cost for water usage is: 1 – 7,000 gallons at $2.60 per 1,000 gallons; 7,001 – 20,000 at $4.10 per 1,000 gallons; and above 20,000 is at $4.60 per 1,000 gallons.

GVID currently has 1,774 active customers – 1,320 metered and 177 inactive metered customers who do not currently have water service. They also have 294 in-district and 160 out-of-district standpipe customers. There are two commercial water haulers that are included in the in-district customer numbers. GVID sold 104,545,927 gallons of water to their customers during 2016. Their metered standpipe operations included: 23,294,531 gallons for in-district customers at $3.70 per 1,000 gallons generating $86,189.70; and 4,263,226 gallons of water for out-of-district customers at $5.60 per 1,000 gallons generating $23,874.07. The above figures also include the county’s road division that was billed for 4,762,700 gallons of water at $3.70 per 1,000 gallons of water generating $17,621.99.

GVID currently has metered pipeline-supplied water rate of $15 that includes the first 3,279 gallons of water. Their current cost for water usage is: Tier One - 0-4,999 gallons at $4.575 per 1,000 gallons; Tier Two – 5,001-9,999 gallons at $5.30 per 1,000 gallons; and Tier Three – 10,000-plus gallons at $7.90 per 1,000 gallons; and standpipe fees (that doesn’t have a base rate fee) include in-district customers at $3.70 per 1,000 gallons, and out-of-district customers pay $5.60 per 1,000 gallons.

The GVID is proposing that their metered pipeline-supplied water rate include a base rate of $10 (a drop of $5) and to have only two tier rates instead of the current three. That is: Basic Tier – 0-5,000 gallons at $3.31 per 1,000 gallons; High Use Tier – 5,001-plus gallons at $7.82 per 1,000 gallons; and standpipe charges for in-district customers at $7.82 per 1,000 gallons, and out-of-district customers at $11.50 per 1,000 gallons.

Neither the water company nor GVID know exactly how many customers use the $.25 coin-operated standpipe operations or if they are in-district or out-of-district customers. VPWC charges $4 per thousand gallons of water and they sold 2,825,000 gallons of water at their coin-operated system in 2016 generating $11,300. GVID currently charges about $3.50 per 1,000 gallons at the coin-operated system, and they sold 32,796 gallons of water during 2016 generating $8,199.

The amount of water located underground in the 1,587 square-mile Sacramento Valley Groundwater Basin, better known as the Sacramento Valley Aquifer, really doesn’t play into the equation of raising or not raising the rates for GVID and VPWC. The Sacramento Aquifer is one of the largest underground water basins in the continental U.S., and there is plenty of water to supply the needs of the residents. It is about how much the two water systems can pump, and the associated costs to pump the water out of the ground and deliver it to the customers.

“I have concerns that if GVID raises their rates too high,” Bobbie Wood said. “It will drive their in-district and out-of-district customers to our standpipe operation and that may put a burden on our water system.”

If residents have concerns, questions or suggestions for VPWC, they can contact Bobbie Wood at (928) 565-4663 or email her at bobbie@valleypioneerwater.com.

If residents have suggestions, questions or concerns with GVID, contact Water Systems Engineer Manager Gary Lasham at (928) 757-0905 or email him at gary.lasham@mohavecounty.us.

Even though GVID falls within the boundaries of District 4 Supervisor Jean Bishop, how each of the five supervisors vote will play an important role as to whether there is a rate hike for the GVID.

If people have concerns, questions or suggestions about the GVID proposed water rate hike, they can contact the supervisors:

• District 1 Supervisor Gary Watson at (928) 753-0722 or email him at gary.watson@mohavecounty.us;

• District 2 Supervisor Hildy Angius at (928) 758)-0713 or email her at hildy.angius@mohavecounty.us;

• District 3 Supervisor Buster Johnson at (928) 453-0724 or email him at buster.johnson@mohavecounty.us;

• District 4 Supervisor Jean Bishop at (928) 753-8618 or email her at jean.bishop@mohavecounty.us;

•District 5 Supervisor Steve Moss at (928) 758-0739 or email him at steve.moss@mohavecounty.us.

All residents who reside within GVID should attend the public hearings for the proposed GVID rate hike and also voice their opinion at the BOS meeting in which they will vote one way or the other on the rate hike.