Steve Knell: Water is free; it’s pipes that cost

July 9, 2014 

The story “OID’s fees for services adjusted” (Page B1, July 3) contained a number of inflammatory statements that need to be addressed, lest The Bee create more ill-informed readers.

It may come as a surprise, but all water in California is “free.” You just need to pay for the infrastructure, and the operations and maintenance of the hardware used to get water to the farm gate. That cost is not cheap. In the Oakdale Irrigation District, it is $60 per acre-foot of delivered water.

At OID, the cost of service is supported by wholesale power revenues, property taxes, water transfers and the water rate. Because of OID’s business plan, it has done a very good job of keeping rates and service costs low for a very long time. Most customers appreciate that diligence. OID is in the process of adjusting water rates.

The story insinuated a director was wrong to ask that a proposed service cost increase be pulled off the agenda for further evaluation. Some of our directors, like those at other public agencies, also are our customers. They pay exactly the same fees as everyone else. Directors are elected to make and enforce policy and scrutinize rates, charges and expenses. OID’s directors do this very well.

Steve Knell, General Manager,

Oakdale Irrigation District, Oakdale

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