A very frightening scenario is facing 800 families who live in rural areas of Solano County that receive household water from the Lakes Water System.
The city of Vallejo, which owns and operates the system and benefitted from its water supply and revenue for decades, is preparing to sell the system to an investor-owned utility. The ramifications of such a sale are no mystery – the Lakes Water System users, who already pay some of the highest water rates in the state – will see their water bills skyrocket. For some, water bills will exceed mortgage payments, and create tremendous financial strain on their families.
Investor-0wned utilities, unlike municipal utilities, are private, for-profit enterprises that weigh the interests of shareholders over the interests of their water customers. In small California communities that have already been taken over by investor-owned utilities, water has become such a precious and costly resource, residents have been forced to make drastic lifestyle changes – showering once a week, abandoning landscaping and wearing only dark clothing, so they can wash it less. It is hard to imagine, but this could become a fact of life for Lakes Water System customers here in Solano County.
Water is not a luxury; it is a basic necessity of life. Everyone has the right to receive reasonably affordable water. I applaud the Green Valley Landowners’ Association for taking legal action against the city of Vallejo on behalf of all Lakes Water System households, to protect this right.