By Ed Martin, Editor
Interim City Manager Ron Hoggard
Interim City Manager Ron Hoggard

The ongoing drought may end up drying up much more than Lemoore residents’ lawns. It could put a dent in the city’s water fund. The Lemoore City Council will consider a proposal Tuesday night, at his regular Tuesday meeting, to undertake a water rate study designed to raise the city’s water rates.

According to a memo from Lemoore Interim City Manager Ron Hoggard, the current drought has had significant impact on surface water storage, ground water supply, hydroelectric power and ultimately the Valley’s overall economy.

Governor Brown recently issued an Executive Order mandating that cities, like Lemoore, reduce their water usage by an average of 25 percent. He stated in his report that Lemoore is currently looking at a 32 percent reduction from 2013 levels.

As Valley groundwater is impacted by the ongoing drought, water quality issues may change. While there may be reduction in costs associated with pumping less water, water conservation will end up costing the city’s coffers as well. In other words, while Lemoore residents reduce their water needs, the costs of maintaining wells, repairs, water treatment, water blending, aren’t going away.

“In light of these and perhaps other factors,” stated Hoggard, “it is incumbent upon the City of Lemoore to examine its water rates going forward, just as many other communities are doing to stabilize their enterprise funds.”

Hoggard said that in a few weeks, when councilmembers begin reviewing the preliminary budget, they will see that water fund revenues are down in the current year and if the city’s resident’s meet the governor’s goals, the water fund will be deeply impacted.

On that note, Hoggard is recommending that the city implement a study from its engineer, Quad Knopf, to study a water rate increase. The cost is $15,000 and should take 90 days to complete.