OUR VIEW: It’s time to end the Donner Lake Crisis
The people of Donner Lake have spoken. More than 85 percent of them, in ballots recently tallied, voted to have the Truckee-Donner Public Utility District take over their failing water system.
And judging by his actions, Bob Fortino, owner of the Donner Lake Water Co., could not care less.
The “Donner Lake Water Crisis” has now been going on for nearly a year. It was last June when the boil water notice was given. But intermittent system outages and alleged health problems have been going on for years before that. The system out there is beyond decrepit -it is unsafe. And the current owners have had years to repair that system, years in which they have consistently failed to make those changes.
So, what was the Donner Lake Water Co.’s first reaction on behalf of Donner Lake residents, their paying customers who obviously don’t want their business anymore?
First, they filed yet another lawsuit against the TDPUD challenging the legitimacy of their environmental documentation, and then, they asked the state of California for more money to repair their system – money which, of course, will come out of taxpayer pockets.
At last count, Donner Lake Water Co. is seeking more than $15 million in state funds for replacement of their distribution system alone.
Del Oro Water Co., Donner Lake Water Co.’s parent company, should act with expedience to sell their Donner Lake facilities to the PUD, and not delay the process further with specious lawsuits – this latest is the third they’ve filed in the past year. Litigation instead of negotiation appears to be their motto.
It is past time for Del Oro to bow gracefully out of the Truckee water business and let the PUD acquire their system.
The people of Donner Lake, sick and tired of nearly a year’s worth of boiling water, deserve a solution.
So far, Donner Lake Water Co. has done nothing but prolong a crisis that will only get worse as summer begins.
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