Sharon Water Committee Recommends Lower Rates for Heavy Water Users
The following letter was submitted to Sharon Patch by resident Paul Lauenstein.
The Sharon Water Management Advisory Committee voted on Feb. 28 to recommend leveling Sharon’s conservation-oriented, ascending-block water rates.
If adopted by the Sharon Board of Selectmen, the new rate structure would reduce the rate paid by the town’s heaviest users, such as those with expansive lawn irrigation systems, while increasing rates for households that use less water.
Water committee members cited a need to be fair to large families, pointing out that the current rate structure tends to hit them harder than households with fewer occupants. However, the leveled rate structure they recommended would increase water bills for conserving households of all sizes, including a majority of large households that use water efficiently. Overall, the change would shift the financial burden of providing the community with water away from heavy users onto those who conserve.
Household water use efficiency varies widely in Sharon, from less than 25 gallons per person per day to well over 100 gallons per person per day.
High demand for water in summer can compromise drinking water quality and fire safety, and degrade the environment. Improving water use efficiency has accommodated Sharon’s rising population since the 1990s.
However, future development such as the Sharon Commons mall and new housing will require further improvement in the town’s water use efficiency. Otherwise, the capacity of local wells to provide high-quality drinking water will have to be increased, or water from an outside source such as Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) will have to be piped in, either of which would cost millions and increase water bills for everyone.
Gavins Pond Road