Amidst the drought precautions and pandemonium, the Alameda County Water District (ACWD) may want to question its priorities in 2014.

The first and oldest county district in California is celebrating its upcoming centennial by forking over $280,000 for the publication of two history books honoring its history. If it sounds self-serving, it is because it is.

$219,000 will go towards the Water Education Foundation—a Sacramento-based non-profit whose mission is to educate the public about the importance of water resources—for production, while another $60,000 will be paid to Paul Piraino—the ACWD’s former manager—to research history of the agency and serve as the main author of the books.

Piraino already collects nearly $250,000 in an annual pension for his 27-year employment with the ACWD.

The decision to publish the history books comes on the heels of the district’s recent move to raise its rates by 7% for the twelve consecutive year.

“It’s a waste of ratepayers’ money,” stated resident Eric Tsai in an interview with the Fremont Bulletin, suggesting the district would do better spending the money on “replacing pipes or paying off its debt.”

“If they have money to spend on books,” Tsai continued, “they can always give that cash back to the ratepayers.”

The Alameda County Water District serves 336,000 customers in Fremont, Newark and Union City.

Read more about the ratepayer-funded history lessons at the Fremont Bulletin