Making practical sense of water works

November 08, 2010

Larry Moorehouse's Oct. 26 letter, "We need smart managers, not meters," on smart meters raised a serious issue of priorities.

I have read material that is highly critical of smart meters, and that reports several northern governmental bodies have opposed them. Some Glendale officials, on the other hand, have asserted smart meters are the wave of the future and will make the operation and monitoring of our public utility more efficient.

For the point Moorehouse makes (and with which I agree), for the sake of argument let's accept the latter view. The question then is: Why now, when our antiquated utility structure is starved for money to correct existing failures? For example, in order to barely balance this year's water-works budget (even with a rate increase and a one-time $2-million drawdown of rate-stabilization funds) Glendale Water & Power officials have said they will have to defer 11 of 20 water-works capital improvement projects aimed at correcting systems that have already failed — such as the replacement of the Adams Hill, Western, Canada, Kenneth water mains (as well as the replacement of five others).


The utility's assistant general manager, Peter Kavounas, told the Glendale Water & Power Commission that some of these lines are so bad there is not enough pressure to support one additional fire hydrant on the line. Five of six capital improvement projects for predicted failures will have to be deferred.

While smart meters may be wonderful, deferring the replacement of failing systems, like water mains with inadequate pressure, will be an immediate threat to the utility's ability to deliver water. Why can't we spend our scarce water-works money on immediate and pressing needs and defer desirable but not crucial items — like smart meters — to a future date when Glendale Water & Power is not so financially strapped?

As a matter of priorities, doesn't that make practical sense?

Harry Zavos


Council should reject water rate increases

On Tuesday, the City Council will decide whether to increase water rates again. The council should reject this proposal and implement an option that will benefit both ratepayers and Glendale Water & Power.

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