The saga of Lauri Lane

Guest CommentaryJuly 1, 2014 

Lauri Lane is a street of about one block, that comes off Highway 49, and has about 30 families living here. About 45 years ago, when the small subdivision of Lauri Lane was created, a water line was laid using a black rubber pipe. This pipe keeps breaking, is eaten through by gophers, and is considered illegal by the state's water department, but it is still in use by the families on Lauri Lane.

When I first bought my little house in 1990, the older men in the neighborhood used to walk the water lines, and fix them when they broke. Then, there was no charge for the water, although families would pitch in and pay for repair materials. These men of valor eventually passed on and a water meeting was held in a home on Lauri Lane, during which Madera County offered to take over the system. I was at the meeting and voted with others to turn the system over to them because lines were always breaking, and we were always running out of water, even in good water years.

A few years later, when Harry Baker was supervisor, he was instrumental in having good quality water pipe laid from Dillon Estates to supplement our water supply. That hook-up is still in place, and is used along with the two existing wells on Lauri Lane. According to the latest water reports, the existing wells are high in nitrates and other contaminants. Meanwhile, our water bills have risen from $60 quarterly to $288 quarterly, or $96 per month for water we are not supposed to drink.

To continue with this saga, a few years ago Lauri Lane was awarded $1 million from the state of California to fix our water system. What happened to that money? About five years ago, we were told by Madera County that they were going to run a new water line down the center of Lauri Lane, with an outlet to each house, where water meters would be installed. I myself would love water meters to be installed, and to be charged for just the water I use, however, this has never happened. Also, for one year, we paid double our water bills, in order to fix the system, with no results. Another well was dug next to the old well in Dillon Estates. It was supposed to be a good well, and to have passed all the water tests required by Madera County and the State of California, but there were no new hook-ups.

Meanwhile, the other well's pump broke, and became stuck in the pipe of the old well, and no one can get it out. So why isn't the other well being hooked up, since it is right next to the existing pipe? Whoever you call or ask, no one knows, be it Steve Norman (special district manager) or Supervisor Tom Wheeler.

I was also told that it would save Madera County thousands of dollars if the district of Lauri Lane and Dillon Estates were combined as one water district. It would have to be voted on, but even most of the people in Dillon Estates agree with this. Why can't they start this project, instead of doing nothing, and just providing us with empty promises? It is beyond my comprehension.

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