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Proposed tiered water billing system is unjust

September 15, 2011

Charging Glendale residents for water based on whether they are a small, medium or large users is ludicrous (“Utility considers another water rate hike,” Sept. 7).

A large user likely has a larger property and would presumably use more water and should pay for the water used, but at the same rate as all other users. The proposed tiered system unjustly penalizes larger users because of their property size.

We have lived in our Glendale home in Chevy Chase Canyon for 35 years and are now retired. We are conscientious water consumers, using no more than is necessary to keep plants alive in our hillside area to be both fire-safe and decently maintain our property.

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Our home is on a steep hill covered with ivy. Other than the ivy, which holds the hillside together, the vast majority of our plants are succulents or drought-tolerant.

During the past 35 years, we have made improvements to reduce our water usage and have installed solar panels to reduce our electricity usage. We believe water rates should also justly reflect efforts made by the property owner to effectively minimize water usage.

Years ago, we reduced the size of a small grass lawn and removed a large backyard lawn, replacing it with drought tolerant plants and gravel paths. We installed a “smart controller” for our property-wide watering system that uses rotor sprinkler heads and drip systems and sets the appropriate time for each station based on a connection to a weather station, the type of plant, slope of the land, sprinkler and soil type.

We water only on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, the days specified by the city. We have low-flow shower heads and dual-flush toilet systems (1.2 and 1.6 gallons per flush, depending on the need). We received rebates for some of these improvements, all of which we believed were important to reduce our resource use.

In addition to the above improvements to save water, we sweep our driveway, rather than washing it down. We catch water in our shower as the water is heating up and use it to water plants. We wash dishes in a container and use that water outside, too.

Obviously we use more water than a small property owner, but we are responsible users and should not be penalized for our basic and necessary usage by imposing a proposed 13% increase for a larger user.

We have complied with all recommended practices and actually exceed them. What we can’t do is change the size and configuration of our property.

Bud and Nan Flette

Glendale

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