By Paul Lauenstein
Sharon's conservation-oriented water rates benefit everyone.
- The cost of supplying the community with water is lower when residents conserve. Improved water use efficiency is saving Sharon tens of thousands of dollars every year in electricity for pumping the wells and chemicals for treating the water. It is also helping to avoid the need to import costly water from MWRA, build a multi-million dollar high pressure service district, and/or construct a multi-million dollar filtration plant for Well 6.
- Installing more efficient toilets, washing machines, shower heads and faucets, and fixing leaks pay back faster when water bills are based primarily on actual water usage, rather than a high fixed base fee.
- Water quality is improved by avoidance of pumping water from Well 6, which is stained brown with iron and manganese, or Well 2, which has nitrates from septic systems.
- Those on fixed incomes can control their water bills by conserving.
- Even large families can minimize their water bills. A family of six using 25 gallons per person per day pays only 89¢ per day for 150 gallons – less than the cost of a 20-oz. bottle of Dasani.
- Conserving water creates water supply capacity to support growth and development.
- Adequate groundwater supports a healthy local environment, which in turn enhances our quality of life – and our property values.
- Water conservation reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Sharon is currently saving about $30,000 per year worth of electricity for pumping its municipal wells, thanks to the 100 million gallon per year reduction in residential water usage, creating a more sustainable future for our children and grandchildren and setting a good example for other suburban communities.
- Those who want to water their lawns are not thwarted by irrigation bans, thanks to others who create water supply capacity by conserving. Outdoor water use can be minimized by installing sophisticated irrigation system controllers, or cultivating a rain-only lawn.
- The Water Department does not have to worry about enforcing irrigation restrictions because those who cheat are automatically penalized by a higher water rate.
Replacing Sharon's ascending block water rate structure with a low single rate and a high fixed base fee, as some have proposed, would undermine the incentive to conserve water, Sharon's most valuable natural resource.
Please support Sharon's conservation water rates by signing the petition at: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/keep-conservation-water-rates/ and passing the word to friends and neighbors.
For more information, read about the water rate issue and take the virtual tour of Sharon's water resources at: http://www.sharonfoc.org/interest.html.
Paul Lauenstein is a Sharon resident.