Thanks to Council Members Chris Riley and Mike Martinez and their aides Marisa Ballas, Andrew Moore and Water Utility staff Dave Anders, Rusty Cobern, Alice Flora, Lora Schneider, and Darrel Culberson our four-year wastewater nightmare ended this year.

For the first time since starting our farm in 2006, we are not billed for unused wastewater services when our four acres of crops are irrigated or our animals drink water. Our landlord finally installed a separate water meter for our fields.

Wastewater, which is more expensive than water, has cost our farm almost $10,000 in fees for services we never used. This long ordeal has been exhausting both financially and emotionally.

Only when we brought together CIty Hall, Sustainable Food Policy Board and Austin Water Utility was this situation fixed, not just for our farm, but for all urban farms and community gardens.

Thanks to everyone involved, especially Marisa Ballas, who kept our cause alive when we had lost hope.

Though the battle for affordable water for sustainable, organic farms is not done (and we are still out $10,000), this is a step in the right direction. What’s needed now is an agricultural rate for water. Local growers feeding local citizens need to be encouraged.