Council members will study possible water rate hikes and 41 Interchange at regular meeting

By Ed Martin, Editor

Lemoore’s city councilmembers will hear things at their regular study session that most elected officials are normally loathe to hear: water rate hikes.

Thanks to the ongoing drought and federal regulations regarding trihalomethanes, councilmembers may have no choice but to increase water rates.

Trihalomethanes are potentially harmful byproducts formed when chlorine or other disinfectants used to control microbial contaminants in drinking water react with naturally occurring organic and inorganic matter in water.

The potential rate hike is also the result of an alternative compliance order the city received from the State Water Resources Control Board, the statewide agency ordered to impose meaningful water restrictions on all the state’s urban water users, including commercial, industrial and residential users.

Last fall, Lemoore failed to meet its 32-percent reduction standard and asked the State Water Resources Board for an alternative compliance order, which it received. The city basically pleaded with the board that because of large industrial water users, such as Olam and Leprino, meeting the state-imposed requirement was difficult.

Governor Brown issued an executive order last year that imposed restrictions on urban water users. Many communities in California have been challenged by the tighter restrictions, but some have met their goals as well.

Included in Lemoore’s Alternative Compliance Order were caveats regarding a rate study, identifying the city’s highest water users, developing a plan for engaging large water industrial users to maximize water efficiency, and more.

The message behind the water study session is that Lemoore’s residents should expect a rate increase in the coming future.

Councilmembers will also review a massive CalTrans Traffic Study Report for Bush Street and State Route 41. Councilmembers recently approved an expenditure for $20,000 to have Caltrans study the expansion and traffic flow of the existing interchange at Highway 41 and Bush Street.

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