Note: Mike McGreer is a candidate for the Mesquite seat on the Virgin Valley Water Board November election.
Mesquite, NV. As expected, the Virgin Valley Water Board (VVWB) on Tuesday passed onto contractors an increase in new construction water hook-ups. That amounts to a 40% increase from the current $2,650 to $6,629.78 per Equivalent Dwelling Unit (EDU).
Water board president Nephi Julien said that they may have new numbers in a year or two.
An Equivalent Dwelling Unit represents the water usage of 1 typical single-family residential connection. Thus, the price increases for larger buildings increase represented proportionally in their Table.
The VVWB assumes that increasing the SDC does not create a significant economic burden on business nor restrict the formation, operation, or expansion because they can pass the buyers’ costs.
“Because development cannot continue without water service, all those benefitted by and impacted by ongoing growth and development will continue to receive such benefits.” [i]
But their decision does impact the entire community since it is based on the flawed logic that:
- Whereas: population growth is linear, and
- Whereas: water supply is available, and
- Whereas: water availability is positively correlated to population growth, and
- Whereas: delivering water costs money,
- Therefore, the VVWB must allocate new construction contractors.
They have the equation wrong: Growth does not drive actual water supply; actual water supply limits growth.
And they do not know how much water is available in the local basin (222). According to them, water will magically appear in the over permitted local basin located in an arid drought-prone region to meet demand.
By putting growth ahead of water, the VVWB can accuse the Mesquite City Council for setting the demand and by default infrastructure costs.
On October 20, 2015, VVWB Julien told the public that the Mesquite City Council, not the Water Board, controls water allocations.
According to Julien, “it is not our right to determine that someone gets water before somebody else. When a business comes to town and gets a permit from the city of Mesquite, and we do not like that business, that is the city of Mesquite’s problem. They are the ones who control that. If that business comes to town and they have the proper permits, we will provide the water – that is what we do.”
But they equivocate. Julien and the other board members in certifying water availability for a city-issued permit, by including in small print: “If water is available.”
[i] Virgin Valley Water District Impact Statement, l page 62