In what might appear as a strange pairing, the city of Missoula, Montana and Apple Valley, California are collaborating on how to take back their local water systems. As reported by the Missoulian, the water systems for both cities are owned by the same company, The Carlyle Group. They are collaborating to develop ideas and strategies for returning their water systems to local control. Rate hikes, sky-high residential water bills and complaints from local citizens are motivating both cities to take a stand.
Missoula is further along on the process than Apple Valley. Already this year, Missoula offered to purchase its water system for $50 million and $65 million, both of which were rejected by The Carlyle Group, who has valued the water assets at $120 million. Missoula has filed an eminent domain action to acquire its water system, with trial set for 2015.
So far, Apple Valley is planning to value its water assets to begin a similar process. Though eminent domain is not the route Apple Valley wants to take, it does present a path to ownership.