Last summer, Summit Water Distribution Company (SWDC) limited the days of week people could water. A neighbor accidentally watered on the wrong day and was visited by a representative of SWDC. According to the neighbor, he was told that he had better think about getting rid of his grass and landscaping because next year they were going to severely cut back his water. I told him that wasn’t possible, because he likely had rights to about 250,000 gallons a year. They can pro-rate the amount of water allotted during a shortage but how would an employee know a year ahead of time whether there would be a shortage?
We now know one of the ways they are planning on restricting water.
If your water provider is SWDC, you would have received a notice of a “Special Meeting of the Summit Water Distribution Company.” This notice contains a voting slip, and a link to documents showing what changes they are proposing. In the Summary of Changes Articles, Article IX, it currently says “The Board of Directors shall have the power to adopt rules and regulations governing water use and shall, in the event of shortage, pro rate the available water….” This is changed to “The Board of Directors shall have the power to adopt rules and regulations governing water use and shall, in the event of shortage, or to encourage conservation, pro rate the available water….”
So, SWDC’s ability to limit your water would no longer be governed by an actual shortage but by the concept to encourage conservation.
Now, we have nothing against conservation. We live in the West where water is as valued as gold. We also realize that water rights have likely been oversold in Summit County.
That said, I do have a problem with signing away my available water. If this passes, it’s likely you’ll never have access to your full share of water again. You’ll probably pay the same amount each quarter but get less for it.
The second problem is that the term encouraging conservation is so broad. There is no limit on it. We could have 5 record years of rainfall that replenishes our sources completely but they could still want to encourage people to conserve. Likewise, it seems they can use this broad term to limit levels to whatever they wish (as long as all people in a class have the same limits imposed). Does your 250,000 gallons get limited to 240,000 gallons or does your 250,000 gallons get limited to 50,000 gallons. That’s a big difference.
The third problem I have with this is that it’s a major change that was tucked away in a document. It’s as if they didn’t want people to see it. To gain my trust, I would have expected an accompanying document explaining this large change and why it is needed. Give me concrete details. Tell me what you are planning and why you are doing it.
There may be valid reasons SWDC wants to increase its level of control. However, I don’t currently trust the process. Perhaps if there was some limit on the level of reduction available due to “encouraging conservation” I could be more supportive. Likewise if there would be some explanation of why these changes are being made I may be more supportive. Otherwise, I’m left wondering why this change is happening. Have they mismanaged the water and there isn’t enough? Is this a way to make more money? Or maybe it is more benign and they just want some insurance and control should things go bad.
I will be voting no. I would encourage any share holder in SWDC to read the changes to the Articles and decide how you want to vote before the January 16th deadline or at the meeting being held January 16, 2018 at 6PM at the Jeremy Ranch Golf and Country Club.