You can’t live without water or money—unless you’re a hermit with good hunting/fishing skills.

As I reported in this week’s Islander, the water rate issue has not yet been decided. Here’s my take on it, for whatever it is worth.

As a mainland resident, I can’t say I jumped for joy when I first heard the proposal that mainland electricity users help pay for Catalina’s fresh water.

However, I can’t see how Island residents can possible foot the bill that they would be looking at, even if they have to pay it over a three-year period. A t0-year incremental payment plan might be possible, but I don’t know if Southern California Edison can wait that long. Time is as important to a company’s bottom line as cashflow and productivity. Edison is entitled to make a profit if they can do so legally.

And Edison officials certainly don’t want to bankrupt the Island. A bankrupt customer can’t buy anything.

If I were brilliant enough to have a solution, I’d offer it. I’m not that smart.

Usually, a reporter shouldn’t cover a story if he has a stake in it. In this case, it isn’t possible to avoid being involved. If I lived on the Island, I’d have a vested interest in the water bill. As a mainland electricity user, I have a vested interest in the outcome. The only person who could cover this story without having a stake in it would be a resident of another state.

For what it is worth, I could probably endure a small bump in my electric bill far better than an Islander could endure a large bump in his or her water bill. All I can say is, I hope all parties to the negotiations realize that their interests are intertwined.

Always a pleasure,

4 Responses to “Pondering water rates on Catalina”

  • Tom Conger:

    To quote Charles Kelley “In six or seven years of covering Catalina for the Islander, I’ve only visited the Island twice”, that would be like covering the Dodger’s or Laker’s and seeing a couple of games a decade. Although your comments may or may not be valid, stop commenting from afar. Respectfully a 50 year plus- very regular visitor. What’s your insight into Armstrong’s being “forced out”??

    • Charles Kelly:

      While covering a place in person has value, it is often necessary to cover a place from a distance. Modern technology makes it possible to cover communities from vast distances. For example: I once wrote an article about Mars exploration. My article included (NASA/JPL provided) photos of the planet that no man has yet set foot upon.

  • MKW:

    Two Harbors has doubled the cost to visitors of taking a shower, which used to cost 50 cents for 90 seconds. Now it’s $2 for 3 minutes 20 seconds.

    The “Accounting Office” is also telling visitors the rate hike is because folks would feed soapy quarters into the machines every 90 seconds, clogging them up.

    With the new rates however, it’s impossible to take a shower in 3 minutes, so you end up… feeding the machine with soapy quarters to get another 3 minutes 2 seconds.

    Mention that the soapy quarter issue will prevail to the Accounting Office and they tell visitors… the water rates have doubled. Seems from your blog post though, that this just is not true. It may happen, but hasn’t yet.

    Furthermore… there is the water conservation issue. It only takes about 5 minutes to everything done in a shower — we had men, women and kids try this to be sure. So the last 90 seconds is totally wasted water. Multiply this by the thousands of showers that will be taken this summer and it seems the bottom line truth is… making money is more important than water conservation. Despite the signs all over the place telling visitors that water is a “precious resource” that must be conserved!

    The Accounting Office informed us that the Catalina Island Conservancy owns/operates the showers. We are just finding out that this also may not be the case. Whomever owns it… the tourists are being gouged it seems.

    In Avalon a shower costs $3 for 5 minutes. Simple. No water wasted either, so everyone’s happy. Myself and several others tried to suggest this possibility… nobody is interested in hearing it.

    • Charles Kelly:

      If you could provide us with your full name and city of residence, we’d be willing to consider publishing your comments in our print edition.

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