This isn’t water privatization

By From page B4 | February 27, 2013

I appreciated the Prices’ warning about the privatization of our water supply. I, too, was deeply concerned about a private company controlling a vital resource like water. The cities that have privatized water have usually come to regret it, and have spent large sums of money to undo it.

But that involved privatization of ownership. In this case, the company hired will be under management and control of the Woodland-Davis Joint Powers Authority. The company will not be selling Davis water; they will be operating the system for us. That is a huge difference.

There are some very good reasons to have the same company that builds the system operate that same system for 15 years. If they are to operate it profitably for such a long period, it is in their own economic interest to design it to be efficient and to build it properly so it doesn’t break down (and cost them money). At the end of their contracted period, there will be a required inspection to be sure that the system has been maintained properly. If it has, the large sum in the maintenance fund that the company is contracted to maintain will then be released to them. This assures the company will properly maintain the system throughout the life of the contract.

This is a good way to get the best-trained people to design a good system, build it properly and to have their feet held to the fire to operate it well for a time period. They won’t own it, sell the water or have the water system as theirs. They will be working for us, and we can fire them if we want to before the 15 years are up.

But for right now, it’s a good way to hire some people who know what they are doing, who have experience in operating a system like this, and who have a stake in designing and building a good, efficient and cost-effective water delivery system.

Randy Mager

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