Rural Bella Vista Water Users and City of Redding residents on BV Water:
Are you having to let your landscaping die because of water restrictions?
Did you reduce the size of your garden this summer?
Do you not flush “every time” just to save a little water/$$$?
Did you spend thousands of dollars on low water use appliances?
Have you paid/changed your landscape to drip irrigation?
Just wanted to let you know that the Bethel Church expansion is underway north of Redding and your “hard-saved” water for the water district is currently being sprayed on the dirt to reduce dust.
Yes, Bethel was required by their agreement with the city to seek out water sources during droughts for the first 3 years of their existence- but that requirement starts when they finish actual construction. BVWD has installed a special large water line to a meter to supply construction water: thousands of gallons of water are flowing.
I have exchanged emails with BVWD and they plead that they had no say in the Bethel Expansion or their current construction water use—City of Redding (COR) had the control. They basically say that they must provide the water to anything that COR approves. I have asked them to provide me with documents showing that they expressed concerns to COR about supplying water to this huge project during drought years. I haven’t received any reply, but then I do not believe that they did that common sense action years ago when this expansion was being discussed.
City of Redding water guy Chuck Aukland emailed in depth but basically said that the 20% of Redding residents that have BV water are on their own! That would include this Bethel Expansion. “…. I am often asked why the City doesn’t buy their City (I think he means City BVWD users) and annex it into the City of Redding. The simple answer is it would not be beneficial to our ratepayers to invest in very old infrastructure with significant needs and inheriting source water rights contracts that are not nearly as beneficial as the City’s. This would add a significant burden to our current ratepayers who already pay higher rates than BVWD customers to pay for the groundwater source development and pump stations in our system.”
Seems like there are two different standards for City of Redding residents- 80% get unrestricted amounts of water for little and the other 20% pay for BV water and if they exceed their mandated reduced limits, they pay a premium along with the drought penalty.
So the upshot is:
1) City of Redding approves a huge project within their city limits, a rural water district HAS to provide water to it regardless of the stress on the district’s pocketbook and water supply during drought years.
2) City of Redding has two types of residents: those that get water from city (no drought cutbacks required) and those that HAVE to use BV water (significant cutbacks required).
3) The water that BVWD users save by employing many water-saving actions is now being spraying on the dirt of the expansion project the City approved despite community concerns expressed before project was approved (by myself and others including a Planning Commission member).
4) To add insult to injury, BVWD has recently made a deal with the City to buy water from them during this declared drought and Bureau of Reclamation dramatic water reductions. Yes- buy! Because according to Aukland, the $30 per acre foot “…administrative fee, these contract transfers are labor intensive and should not be the burden of the existing ratepayers. There are a significant number of spent on these transfers. Needs include negotiating contracts with the agencies, legal and Council review, coordinating with the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) for approvals, determining our ability to provide the water and still meet our own needs, reporting to the BOR the source and location of water transferred, and several other administrative tasks. I understand it may not seem like much but these contracts are very complicated, litigious and working with the BOR (a federal agency) is very cumbersome and intensive.”
Anita Brady, long-time BVWD customer