At a BWD board meeting on April 9, 2008 Director Shimeall presented the following dissenting minority opinion submitted by the Conservation Committee which preferred retention of a third tier for very heavy water users, more restrictive tier limits, and inclusion of commercial and irrigation rates in the tiered rate structure.
Digger - April 8, 2008
Those who are less than satisfied with the tiered rate proposal presented today recognize that compromise is always necessary, but also feel that the so-called "negotiated agreement" gives away too much.
The intent of the original tiered rate proposal was to reduce water use by those who use more water than half of all BWD users; but especially the 10 to 15% who use the most water. Instead, we have one that favors high-end users and provides little or no incentive to those in the middle to save water, even though the financial impact of the original rate schedule on them would be modest and they could easily save enough water to get into the lowest tier.
Many who worked on the tiered rates proposal will rightly feel as if their work is devalued by the sweeping, last-minute changes and the flawed process by which they were made. That, in turn, will act as a disincentive to public participation in the work of the District; participation that the proposed Conservation Management Plan itself specifically calls for.
The recent front-page article in the San Diego Union Tribune should come as a wake-up call for those who believe that Borrego Springs can continue business as usual. Many hard choices lie ahead for the community, all of which will require individual sacrifice. It is far from clear, however, that most Borregans understand and appreciate that.