Readers Write: Why was IWD bill so high?

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It has come to my attention that a few other people, other than myself, have had problems with outrageous Idyllwild Water District bills.

I am a part-timer. I work in Los Angeles. When I can, I enjoy time in my Idyllwild cabin.

For over 50 years, the water bill averaged $28. And in this time of drought, I never used so much water as to receive the higher-tier penalty charges for excessive use.

When I left my cabin in early May to return to Los Angeles, as we still had freezing nights, I opened all of my faucets in the cabin, put in anti-freeze, and closed the main value. I did not return to Idyllwild until the last weekend of May.

A serviceman came to my door and warned me there would be a very high charge for the month. “Why? I was only here three or four days this month.”

The bill for the month was over $1,400. This bill includes the higher-tier charges.

In those weeks, I had not occupied the cabin. The main valve remained shut. Anti-freeze remained in the lines.

Had a tanker truck pumped thousands of gallons of water from my line?

To prevent freezing of the pipes, I had opened all the faucets inside the cabin.Even if someone had stolen the water by opening the main valve and running hoses to my outside faucets, the house would have been flooded. And the volume of water taken would have required parking the truck on my road for days.

Even if there had been a broken pipe — a river of thousands of gallons? — there would have been a new gulley down the hillside.

Robbery? A broken pipe? Not possible.

With an average bill for years of $28, I am dismayed that I am being required to pay for water that I did not use. The district claims that the meter was working. No one can explain the vast volume of water recorded by the meter.

I offered to compromise and pay for the water at the lower tier. The district refused to lower the bill.

This is the first time in over 56 years we have had such a problem. I had hoped that it could have been resolved. I did ask for a new meter and a new valve. But I still must pay for the water I did not use.

Nancy Pearlman


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  1. Is it possible this was a misread of the meter? It has not happened to me in Fern Valley, but it has happened several times here in San Diego. The bill should state what the meter read each time. Check to see if it matches your bill. You will have to physically check the meter at your Idyllwild home.


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