Claim: No government takeover of a water system in California in the past 20 years has resulted in lower costs to customers.
Facts: Ojai’s recent public buyout proves that public ownership can lower water costs substantially. They were able to pay for the purchase, do repairs and still lower costs to customers.
There have only been five public water buyouts in California over the past 20 years, largely because 83% of California’s water systems are already publicly owned. Most of these examples are tiny systems like Felton, whose system needed extensive repair. They used their public ownership savings for repairs and buyout costs and basically broke even. But the savings to their customers over time is dramatic.
Water costs drop when you eliminate profit. Over time our bills would be much lower than what Cal Am would charge. But the immediate savings can’t be known until the feasibility study is done and a purchase price is estimated. The $1 billion that Cal Am claims they are worth maybe about three times higher than their true value. Remember, in an eminent domain case a court will rule on a fair price.