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Orange County, CA November 2, 2010 Election
Smart Voter

Keeping Water Rates Affordable

By Shawn Dewane

Candidate for Board Member; Orange County Water District; Division 7

This information is provided by the candidate
Affordable Water Rates and Conservation
Keeping water rates low and conserving water is a tricky business proposition. Teddy Roosevelt coined the phrase "conservation" when describing the use of our natural resources. He meant to "use it wisely".

Water Districts have high fixed operating costs. They consist of labor, energy and replacing the aging pipes and water supply infrastructure. Most people are surprised to learn that the water district does not save money when people use less water. People are also surprised to learn that their water rates increase the more they conserve. This happens because the fixed costs remain about the same no matter how much water is delivered. Water conservation or the wise use of water is important as we are all stewards of the resource.

A better way to keep rates low is to negotiate better labor contracts, increase the supply of water and finance the district operation at the lowest possible cost.

At Mesa, I advocated policies that reduced overtime by 27% and reduced staffing levels by 15%. These labor negotiations resulted in a three year labor contract that helped to fix the cost of operating the district.

As Chair of the Finance Committee, I advocated that Mesa refinance all outstanding debt to take advantage of the historically low interest rates. We completed this financing near the all time low of the interest rate cycle. This re-financing will save Mesa ratepayers millions of dollars in interest expense.

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