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EID has set residential water rates higher than costs for 35,000 ratepayers to subsidize 700 “preferred” small farmer customers.
Currently, all EID outside irrigation water over .25 acre-feet is sold to small farm customers at $49 per acre-foot while residential customers pay between $697 and $829 per acre-foot.
So who are these “small farmers” that residential ratepayers are deeply subsidizing?
Many are hobbyists living in upscale estates on multi-acre lots in Greenstone country with two-dozen olive trees or a minimal number of grape vines to satisfy EID’s minimalistic small farm criteria. They only need to promise $1,000 in crop revenue at some future date. Do these “Small Farm” rate opportunists add any economic value to El Dorado County? No, but they sure get cheap water that saves them thousands of dollars each three years they are “small farm” certified at residential ratepayers expense.
Other small farmers are folks that want to grow some crops to donate to their neighbors or favorite charity. While socially noble, why should residential ratepayers be forced to subsidize neighbors and favorite charities not their own?