To the Editor:
I believe rezoning the watershed from residential to commercial is detrimental to the City of Enterprise and its population. Perhaps the increased risk of contamination to our water supply is an abstract notion. Will viewing it in more immediate terms make it problematic?
The increased risk will require changes in the way the city monitors our water.
Monitoring will be more frequent and test for more contaminants. Naturally this will increase the cost of our water supply. There are monitoring wells in the watershed, still in place from the previous time this area was zoned commercial, so that expense will only be activation. Comparing water expense to other municipalities may be the best indication of future rates.
The Enterprise current water rate is $24 for basic residential water supply with fluoride treatment. It is supplied by underground springs and this cost does not include septic or minor fees.
Elgin, with a similar population, is $30.50, not including septic and fees. Their water supply is from artesian wells and usage of two reservoirs above the town. No treatment is necessary. This is 27 percent over Enterprises rate.
Union also has a similar population, and a rate of $26.50, which is 10 percent over Enterprise. The supply is treated and pumped well water. Not a bad rate until we learn this includes an automatic 2.5 percent annual increase. Does your income include an automatic increase?
North Plains, a similar population on the west side of the state, draws local stream water which is treated from a regional supplier, pumping it into a reservoir above town for $47.50 per month. At a cost 98 percent greater than Enterprise, treatment almost doubles the water rate.
While it is impossible to tell what the face of contamination would look like; we do know the city would review the increased risk and liability for water supply to the community. Water rates must be adequate to support delivery. This is not just the other guys problem, if you are a customer of the city water it is also your problem.
It is true we do not know our water will be contaminated or how severely; but the city recognizes the risk is increased by rezoning. We can maintain the attractive water rate; it is not too late. Contact our County Commissioners and express your concern about additional risk to our watershed.