An Open Letter to John Brown, Attorney, BBK, Best, Best & Krieger Law Dear Mr. Brown,
On February 5, 2014, I attended the meeting of the Hi-Desert Water District held at their offices in Yucca Valley. During the short 3 minutes allowed during Public Comments to address the Board, I expressed my concerns regarding commercial solar farms and the large amounts of water required during construction of the project and ongoing high water use to keep the solar panels clean.
Specifically, I spoke about the Yucca Mesa area serviced by HDWD but not located within the Town of Yucca Valley boundary, it is in San Bernardino County. The Town of Yucca Valley recently passed an ordinance prohibiting all commercial solar projects and present wording does not exempt municipalities or the Hi-Desert Water District. The HDWD is presently exploring a 7 acre solar project located near the recharge facility they own which is within the town’s boundary.
There is only one well up on the Mesa, 20West, which has been over drafted in the past. There are hopes the new Ames-Reche recharge will replenish that well with State Water Resource Project water from up north, however, there is ZERO allocation for this year for any state water deliveries due to the severe drought.
I asked that ONE board member request this issue to be placed on the agenda for discussion seeking direction from your office regarding any HDWD position on granting Will-Serve letters to possible solar farm operations on the Mesa which is not prohibited in the County of San Bernardino. While asking for this as an agenda item, and with three heads nodding in agreement, there was no request for this concern to be placed on the agenda.
By ignoring my concerns, the HDWD Board of Directors will have failed in their fiduciary responsibility to their rate payers by not taking a pro-active stance to frame a position or policy regarding will-serve letters for high water use solar farms on the Mesa. At a recent presentation by the Big Horn Water District General Manager, Marina West, she expressed her concerns about a solar project that is expected to consume 16% of her annual water production just for the construction. That agency is in the San Bernardino County boundary too.
I posted a recent story about the city of Ridgecrest,California, who cancelled a commercial farm project because the water usage was going to exceed the recharge of the well they intended to use. Citing the severe drought, they also requested the applicant to do another EIR addressing the water issue. Story>LINK
Please let me apologize in advance for posting this concern in a public forum but apparently it is the only way to get the attention of the HDWD Board of Directors while also informing the public. This Open Letter also serves as officially placing the HDWD on notice for failure to take action to protect our limited water resources on behalf of the ratepayers especially during this heightened state of severe drought.
Thank you Mr. Brown for attention to this serious matter.
Margo Sturges, HDWD Ratepayer
Citizens4Change & Responsible Government
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