The Davis City Council has tentatively approved hiking the water costs in order to find a better water supply. Though seeing yet another increasing expense is frustrating, the cost is necessary and reasonably small to ensure the safety of Davis water.
Davis currently gets all of its H2O from groundwater basins, while Sacramento gets its water from the American and Sacramento Rivers and San Francisco from the Tuolumne River.
Mayor Joe Krovoza asserted that the unsustainable nature of over-tapping the groundwater supply makes finding an alternate source of water necessary.
“You can’t be for the environment and then not want to pay for such,” Krovoza said.
The new plan would pipe water from Conway Ranch to Davis and Woodland. The project will cost $325 million in total, but Davis would only pay for $155 million, while Woodland would cover the rest.
Davis city water tastes notoriously poor. Many students use filters to improve the quality. This helps, but costs extra money anyway to pay for both the devices and replacement filters. Mineral build-up on faucets is also a persistent problem and can be a pain to fix.
Having this new surface water flowing in with the groundwater will make it easier for wastewater to meet environmental requirements.
It’s a simple yet unfortunate fact that improving water quality, and infrastructure in general, costs money. Wastewater doesn’t magically disappear when it reaches water treatment facilities. It must be cleaned and put back in the environment, and with greater awareness of our impact on the world around us comes the responsibility of managing it.
The increased cost is also for our own benefit. The problem with relying on a single source for all of the city’s water is that if an issue arises, Davis won’t have a back up.
According to Diana Jensen, Davis’s principal civil engineer, Davis wells are having issues with hexavalent chromium and may not meet safety standards after a reassessment in two years. Hexavalent chromium is a carcinogen when inhaled and an intestinal irritant when ingested.
But there is good news. The problems with the water are relatively small now, which is why the costs are relatively low. Krovoza estimates that the water bill will increase by about $1.50 per month for students with three roommates in a single-family home.
However, leaving the problem alone for too long could increase the cost dramatically. In order to avoid costly measures and potential illnesses later, we need to accept a small increase now.