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County discusses water system plans

Two-thirds of the homeowners in Sunrise Estates have signed a letter asking county commissioners to consolidate their water system with the East Valley Water System.

The letter has the signatures of nearly two-dozen residents who are facing increases in their water rates from a monthly average of $45.10 to as much as $404 in 2014.

Commissioners discussed a plan to consolidate the accounting of the county’s largest and smallest water systems on Thursday.



According to a presentation prepared by Public Works Director Carl Ruschmeyer, the worst case average monthly water bill for East Valley customers using 18,000 gallons would increase to $70.92 should the county approve consolidating the water systems. That’s an increase of $7.34 a month.

Driving the rate increase for the Sunrise Estates-Fairgrounds water system is an arsenic problem that will require a $2.5 million pipeline to fix.



While the county plans to use grants and cash reserves to build the pipeline, there’s a possibility that bond proceeds might be used to build the line.

Commissioners rejected a plan to consolidate accounting for all of the county’s water systems back in July after East Valley residents protested.

Sunrise Estates residents said their bills showed they were part of the East Valley system, even though they were connected to the fairgrounds.

It wasn’t until the first rate increases were approved in September that they found out that wasn’t the case.

At that meeting several said that without some other means, the cost of water could force them from their homes.

Douglas County operates the east and west valley water systems, Jobs Peak, Sheridan Acres and three systems at Lake Tahoe.

Minden, Gardnerville, Indian Hills and the Gardnerville Ranchos all operate water systems separate from the county’s.

Commissioners are expected to consider adopting the consolidation at their Dec. 2 meeting.

The letter will appear in a future edition of The Record-Courier.