Very few people today would take the risk of driving a 50-year-old car on an interstate highway, let alone pay for fuel for the gas hog. Even fewer would consider driving a horse and buggy to work.

    That’s why Ketchum voters should go to the polls at Hemingway Elementary School next Tuesday and approve an estimated $450,000 bond issue to replace old water lines that are plaguing the city by regularly leaking and breaking.

    Ketchum’s water system is paid for with user fees. The bond issue will be paid back with the fees and savings from maintenance costs. The city says that upgrading the lines shouldn’t precipitate higher water rates.

    The water lines, which were part of the old private Ketchum Spring Water System that the city acquired decades ago, are costing every business and resident money in user fees for wasted water and maintenance. The city estimates it spends up to $25,000 a year to plug leaks and fix broken pipes.

    The developing desperate water situation all over the West is another reason the water lines should be replaced. There’s no reason any city should waste large amounts of water if upgrading a delivery system can stop the loss. Unless weather patterns change dramatically, our lives and our food supply will depend on wise water use all over the region.

    Ketchum decided to meter water use early on and already has a rate schedule that helps conserve water by charging higher users higher rates.

    Maintenance costs will only get higher as the system gets older. Patching the patches simply will not get the city the complete system it needs. The city has put off replacing the old lines long enough. Voters should give the city a big go-ahead on this one.

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