Ombre Ga’chong: Daily water outages just one of several perennial problems elected officials fail to fix

By Lee Webber

What is an Ineptocracy?

According to a T-shirt I purchased it is “A system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.”

Doesn’t that sound a lot like what we are currently seeing out of Washington, D.C. but also in other areas of our government as well?

As we continue our march toward the coming general election it would also do us good to remember one of Ernest Hemingway’s great but very simple quotes, “Never mistake motion for action.”

One of the things we always get a lot of during election time is motion or, the promise of change, out of those who are running for election or re-election.

They want the voting public to believe that all their motion promises and activity leading up to the election are true and realistic indicators of the type of action they will be taking, if elected or re-elected.

Unfortunately, if their former motion, platforms, promises and productivity are a real indicator and were focused on the betterment of the majority of people on Guam then Hemingway’s quote is very true.

Because of all those things that are promised, very few ever actually get turned into “action.”

Let’s take a moment and look at the Guam Water Authority (GWA) as an example.

Last week it was announced by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) that GWA received approval for a 5.5 percent rate increase that will take effect in October (next month) of this year.

It was also announced that another two rate increases of 5.5 percent are planned for 2023 and 2024.

So, in reality you can look at seeing increased costs for water for the balance of this and for at least for the next two successive years. 

If you translate that into action it means you will be flushing more of your hard-earned cash down the toilet!

But wait; we all know that the GWA service on Guam has always been stellar!

We never have water outages, low pressure in our sinks and showers or water outages at our homes and businesses. 

Or have we?

In reality, it is extremely rare that a day goes by without a minimum of at least one of those text messages from the Guam Waterworks Authority informing us of an outage in our area or, at the very least, reduced water pressure.

Or worse, there is a major break in a water line that places an entire section of a village or the entire village in a waterless situation.

If we are not ensuring that the water filtration and purification systems are working properly, we are in an infinite loop of repairing the dilapidated system of old water lines that feed water around the island.

Old water lines that are forever cracking or breaking and creating the necessity to dig holes into newly paved highways or byways and causing not only water outages but the never-ending stream of traffic problems with which we all must suffer through during peak drive times.

Now take a moment and ask yourself how many incumbent elected officials’ as well as those seeking your vote have promised to address these issues?

How many incumbent elected officials have actually made significant progress in keeping the water flowing in an uninterrupted manner to your home, business or entire village?

Better yet, how many have even attempted to do any significant work in this critical area that impacts the very survival of every member of our community, our schools, hospitals and other critical agencies and businesses?

Remember, you can actually survive without electrical power but not fresh water.

Guam Waterworks Authority employees seem to be doing their best to get our bills out on time, install modern metering and billing systems and have established a functional system of notifying us of outages. But what is being done to prevent those outages in the first place?

We have a leaky antiquated delivery system – much of which may well have been installed by the U.S. Navy during the initial rebuilding of the island following World War II – that really has been in need of replacement for too many years now.

How much of the water that is pumped through these antiquated lines leaks back into the aquifer only to be pumped back through the same lines again and again as hard working GWA employees do their best to keep the system working?

So, flip a coin in your mind and select another perennial problem area we can look into next week as we continue to work our way toward election day.

In the meantime, remember all of these discussions as you head to the polls.

Remember to vote for the people who you believe will work seriously to resolve this myriad of perennial problems that have plagued our beautiful island home for far too long.

And, remember those who have been in office and not worked to resolve them as well as those who have.

Vote only for those who are truly capable of and committed to working to make Guam better for us all.

Remember, when you vote, you are all alone in that voting booth where no one is watching (so choose carefully)!



  • Mike Carlson

      09/29/2022 at 9:54 AM

    this writer, once again, lays blame for Guam’s water woes on “elected leaders”, claiming they have failed to resolve the subject of his op-ed. so who are these “elected leaders” that should be addressing Guam’s water system? in 2002 the Consolidated Commission on Utilities (CCU) was created to do the very job this writer wants done. using the writer’s own statements, “…remember those who have been in office and not worked to resolve them as well as those who have…” since the CCU is tasked by law to oversee the water system, why doesn’t this writer specifically call out the CCU and its incumbents? is it because he doesn’t know the system that has been in place for more than 20 years?! or is he just deflecting attention from his favored “elected leaders”?

    • Isn’t it ironic, that the only person with a thin skin, who commented on this very good, tongue in cheek column is a person, fully vested with the Guam legislature. Apparently working for the Guam legislature dulls your reading comprehension and your lack of humour.

      • mike carlson

          10/03/2022 at 10:27 AM

        i was already laughing after reading the column, but thanks for letting me know it was meant to be “tongue in cheek” and taken as humor…couldn’t agree more!

    • Lester Carlson

        10/01/2022 at 4:13 PM

      Mike is absolutely correct, Lee is out of touch yet all of a sudden wants to be relevant. Facts not fiction, the Truth Shall prevail.

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