We have started into a series of public meetings about our water rates and whether they need to be raised. That question has brought up many more questions.
With houses, we charge more per gallon as you use more gallons. This is done to get you to conserve water. Should we also charge commercial and manufacturing on a sliding scale like that? My position is no. If a manufacturer is using more water, that means more production, more money into Flagstaff, more jobs. If a hotel is using more water, that means more tourism business. I don’t think commercial water use should be discouraged.
Should we give Continental Golf Club a discounted rate on reclaimed water? They are providing a public golf course at no cost to the city. Some cities give their public golf course free water.
Should we plan on drinking reclaimed water?
If we cut back on the water going down the drain, we have less reclaimed water.
Should we plan to bring new additional water to Flagstaff? Some people argue that we should provide water for growth only by lowering our current usage. We already have one of the lowest per capita uses of water. Are you willing to use less in your home? Are you willing to cut out exterior water use for your yard? Keep in mind, most of our costs remain the same regardless of how much water we produce. So, ironically, less water use may result in more per gallon cost to the customers.
It is becoming obvious that with water issues there are arguments pro and con. What is clear is that we don’t want to find ourselves caught by surprise and not have adequate water in the future. FBN
Jerry Nabours is the mayor of Flagstaff