Combine East Valley, Sunrise Estates |

Combine East Valley, Sunrise Estates

R-C Editorial Board

On Thursday, commissioners discussed a proposal to combine accounting for the largest and smallest Carson Valley water systems operated by the county.

The motivation is simple. With fewer than three-dozen customers on the Fairgrounds-Sunrise Estates water system, homeowners face substantial water rate increases to pay for a $2.5 million fix for the system’s arsenic problem. That cost spread over a combined East Valley system is far smaller per user.

As of Oct. 1, the average monthly rate for water in the Sunrise Estates system is $45.10. Without help those residents could be paying an average of $404 a month for water.

Sunrise Estates residents, who until recently were part of East Valley for accounting purposes, told Douglas County commissioners in September that the new rates could force them from their homes.

Should the county decide to combine the two systems, which will actually be connected by a pipeline between Minden and Sunrise Estates, rates for both systems will average $70.92 a month by July 1, 2014. That’s an increase of a little more than $7 a month for the East Valley users, but more than $300 a month less for Sunrise Estates users.

We agree that the county bit off too much in its attempt to consolidate accounting for all of its water systems.

But East Valley and Sunrise Estates are connected by geography, and will soon receive their water from the same source.

It just makes sense to consolidate the two systems.