Sometimes, we get it wrong. One or two times per year we issue a correction, and while it is never fun to admit getting the facts wrong, it is a necessary part of being transparent and honest with your audience.
Recently, we published a post that said we could get cleaner, cheaper, and more abundant water from Mesa-Water “at half the cost”. That last part was the issue.
While MesaWater has cleaner water, and it is more abundant, what many people read into this was that its current price was half the cost of Newports– and that is fair. In fact, it has been so long that I have been putting this out there as an option (about 7 years now) that I have mixed them up myself.
The fact is, MesaWater has water that is relatively competitive with Newport water in terms of price, even if Newport Municipal water is notoriously dirty. While I have spoken to electeds at MesaWater and they said (7 years ago) that the price of Newport water could be cut in half, the way it was phrased in the original article was that Newport had water that was double the CURRENT price of MesaWater. That is not accurate.
However, according to officials at MesaWater, by partnering with MesaWater, we could cut our rates in half.
How? Imagine you and I have farmland next to each other. I build a well at considerable expense. I pay $1,000/mo on that well payment and to clean the water, but the water itself is virtually free. You decide that having water is a good idea, too. You have two options: you could build the well yourself, or you could partner with me and we could both pay $500/mo for our water usage. The same is substantially true for municipalities. A higher number of user offsets the cost of the overhead operations, so the more people we have using from a single pumping source, the better. This is where the price breakdown comes in.
I have been told from an elected official here in Newport that I will be receiving documentation of any studies with MesaWater that they have done, and what those pricepoints wind up being– if any studies have been done at all. I will update everyone with those numbers or information, once I have the documentation.
UPDATE: I have received confirmation that Newport did absolutely zero studies on partnering with any other water agency in connection with water rate increases.