President’s Message – September 2018

Our regular Quarterly Members’ Meetings have always been well attended and, I hope, have always provided information and advice helpful to our members.  We do get feedback after the meetings and we are grateful for the guidance and encouragement we receive from those who share those four evenings a year with us.

In the dozen weeks between meetings we listen carefully to questions and expressions of concern from our members and that helps us to choose the themes and speakers for our next meeting. In the last several weeks we have responded to more than a few questions about how to handle the financials connected with “purveying” (i.e. selling) potable water to our neighbors.

Producing, treating, storing and distributing safe drinking water to those who trust and depend upon us as owners, operators and managers of their main source of water is a serious responsibility.  The assured availability of that water – and especially its quality — is not only pertinent to the health of those who purchase it but is a vital factor in determining the value of their homes and properties.

Purveying / selling potable water is similar to most retail businesses.  The purveying organization must match the price of the water to the whole cost of obtaining it and making it available.  At least some of that cost is driven by the special rules imposed by our federal and state governments to ensure that our “product” will not sicken the buyers.  In some special cases, like here on Whidbey Island where we depend on a sole source aquifer, our state government also wisely encourages conservation and pricing can be used as a tool in that regard.

For our meeting on September 18th (5:00 – 7:00 pm at Coupeville Library) we have assembled a panel that will offer thoughtful and informed suggestions about arranging the finances of a typical small water system.  I hope to see all of you at the meeting.

Warm regards, Jim Patton