Investor-Owned Utilities Deliver Quality Drinking Water and Peace of Mind

Safe and reliable drinking water is a service that southern California residents appreciate, especially when one considers that the region?s annual rainfall totals reflect desert-like conditions.
People turn on the faucet and water flows, but few residents actually realize what?s involved behind the scenes. They don?t understand their local water provider has a team of experts working hard every day to ensure drinking water is safely and efficiently delivered from its source to their tap.

As executive director of the National Association of Water Companies, the organization representing investor-owned water providers in the United States, I take great pride in working with some of the country?s most experienced water professionals including scientists and engineers, conservationists and customer service specialists who are devoted to one common goal: ensuring your family?s drinking water is protected and reliably delivered to your home.

Recently, Hawthorne residents in Los Angeles County experienced the benefits of investor-owned water providers first-hand, due to an extraordinary and challenging situation. Golden State Water Company, which serves more than 1 million people in California, was in the process of capping an out-of-service well when monitors identified levels of naturally occurring methane gas. While methane gas occurs throughout California, its presence in close proximity to a well required immediate action. Although methane is not dangerous to humans when it is released into the atmosphere, Golden State Water Company and local authorities including the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the Department of Public Health and other agencies left nothing to chance. Approximately 37 families were evacuated while the situation was addressed.

Golden State Water already had its in-house experts in water quality, hydrogeology and well operations working to develop a plan to stop the release.?The company complemented its team by bringing in the world?s premier private well-capping company, Boots & Coots, to assist with the project. Boots & Coots is a well-known division of Halliburton and the premier team that has capped dangerous, burning oil wells in the Middle East and other parts of the world.?That?s another benefit of investor-owned water providers ? they have the resources and relationships to address any challenge in real time.

For two weeks, the Golden State Water team worked closely with public agencies to stop the leak and permanently seal the well so that families could return home. Taking care of local residents was a top priority. The families were placed at local hotels where their lodging, meals and even pet-expenses were fully covered. The company also made sure to update these families as well as other residents and community leaders throughout the event.?While people are certainly inconvenienced when these kinds of situations arise, they appreciate it when information is provided in a timely manner.

Nobody ever wants to face a crisis situation, but knowing that your local water provider has access to the best resources and is committed to taking great care of customers personifies America?s investor-owned utilities, including Golden State Water Company.?They are investing wisely to maintain the local water system and they have experts on staff to address any situation. They care enough to operate a 24-hour customer service center where, day or night, you can speak to a live person who will answer your questions.?

Safe and reliable water service is the lifeblood of our communities, essential to the survival of every individual, family and business. Investor-owned water providers take great pride in protecting this invaluable and finite asset.? It?s the right way to do business and it?s the right way to serve as a steward of the world?s most precious natural resource.

Michael Deane is executive director of the National Association of Water Companies (NAWC) and a frequent contributor to UIM.

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