Water: A Political Weapon – Thousand Oaks

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On January 14th, the Thousand Oaks City Council (TOCC) meeting lasted a grueling four hours and 43 minutes, about half of which was about water. Subsequent meetings have been shorter and other topics have been covered, but water has continued to be at the forefront. In fact, you can go to just about any city council meeting anywhere in the Southland and you’ll see a host of people upset over water-rate hikes.

One resident spoke to the fact that the city water funds have over $23 million in various accounts and that those monies could be used to buffer the water hikes. Water rates in Thousand Oaks have increased 53% since `09 with another 15% in proposed hikes. Additionally, Proposition 218 prohibits the city of Thousand Oaks from making a profit on water and water rates have been going up 5%-6% per year regardless of supply.

Susan Mulligan, General Manager of the Calleguas Mutual Water District, assured the Council and those in attendance that the monies are needed to update portions of the infrastructure and install a “brine-line” and desalinization facility to convert salty ground water into a potable resource. Additionally she said that funds are also used to dig wells and create aquifers and that 76 cents of every dollar goes to  the Metropolitan Water District and the CA Dept. of Water Resources.

There have been several recent examples of chicanery in local-level politics around Southern California. It certainly is not beyond the realm of possibility that funds and rates could be mismanaged within our locale. But there is a lot going on at higher levels, much of which hasn’t been dragged into the light.

The overriding issue of availability of water- at any price- in this era of population growth and water shortage, will be the biggest concern.


Thomas Adams is a West coast Vice President of Sales and marketing.  He is a resident of Thousand Oaks


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