Non-paying water pumpers

Dear Editor:The 44-member water utilities Central Basin Water Association has represented the interests of southeast Los Angeles County consumers and water well owners in protecting a precious natural resource for more than 60 years.

In the 1950's, when the region's water was threatened by over-pumping and seawater intrusion, the Association sponsored the formation of the Water Replenishment District. Without the district's oversight, the groundwater basins would have been destroyed years ago.

A single principle underpins the ability of public and private water companies to pump groundwater and serve the interests of the basin's current and future consumers. It's a simple principle: If you pump, you pay to have the water replaced. If you don't the underground supply will be depleted.

The Cities of Bellflower, Cerritos, Downey, Pico Rivera and Signal Hill have pumped without paying, some for as long as 2 years, because of a dispute over how water replenishment fees are set. Together, these pumpers owe more than $15.5 million for the water they've pumped from the groundwater that we all share, while their water customers continue to pay the full rate -- including replenishment fees.

The principle of sharing the cost of replenishing the groundwater basins has worked for more than 50 years to keep the basins healthy and the groundwater supply stable. Pumpers that fail to pay replenishment fees undermine the compact that protects an essential resource for the benefit of all water consumers.

Because some pumpers don't pay, families, businesses, water suppliers and the health of the groundwater basins will have to pay an increasingly heavy price.

James B. Glancy President Central Basin Water Association

********** Published: February 28, 2013 - Volume 11 - Issue 46