The community of Horizon Six will be spared water rate increases, after that decision was postponed by Mohave County officials last week. Now a small group of Horizon Six residents will have six months to seek their own solution for repairing the community’s dilapidated water system, before rates again come under review by the Mohave County Board of Supervisors.
An increase to residents’ water rates was proposed earlier this year by the Mohave County Public Works Department, with multiple options for improving the district’s 36-year-old water system. The increase will be postponed in lieu of efforts by a committee of Horizon Six homeowners to secure a bond needed to pay for an assessment of the system. Although those efforts have been stymied due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the committee now will have until August to compile a petition of at least 155 signatures from Horizon Six residents.
“The proposal to increase our water rates is premature,” said committee member Sharon Gomez on Tuesday. “We’re working diligently to petition a bond, but the coronavirus hit at the same time as the petition went out. We wouldn’t hold a meeting or petition residents until November … the committee has had nothing but difficulties with the petition.”
According to Gomez, raising the district’s water rates won’t be a quick or easy solution for residents. If rates are increased, it would still take at least five years for the district to repair the system’s five pressure-release valves, Gomez said, even as the district’s water infrastructure worsens.
Committee member Mary Van Roy said not many Horizon Six residents are even aware of the issue.
“Talking with our property owners, we see trust has been a huge issue,” Van Roy said. “People have water flows in their homes, so they don’t see the problem.”
According to statements by Mohave County officials in November, the Horizon Six water system is rife with problems. Of 38 air-release valves installed when the system was constructed in 1984, many have since been buried or paved over. The system remains under constant pressure as a result, despite regular maintenance by county employees.
As of November, all of the system’s pressure-release valves remained inoperable. Despite a $187,000 expense to replace new water pumps for the system in 2017, those pumps were only the most immediate concern at the time.
Securing a bond for assessment of the district’s water system, which is required before any future repairs are made, will ultimately require a $176 investment, per lot, by Horizon Six residents. Mohave County Public Works Director Steve Latowski says that bond and possible rate increases will not be mutually exclusive.
In 2019, Lake Havasu City officials ended a long-standing fire protection agreement with the district. According to the Lake Havasu City Fire Department, fire hydrants in the district could not provide water pressure necessary to provide fire protection for the community. And of the district’s 40 fire hydrants, six were found to be completely inoperable.
Horizon Six residents who would like to sign the petition, or want more information about the topic, can contact the Horizon Six committee at Rockla18@yahoo.com.