Finding Solutions for Growing Water Demands
While the memories of the summer of 2020 fade into the past, it is hard to forget the lack of rain and sustained drought over these months. This dry weather proved to be difficult for the City water system to keep up with the increased demand of summer consumption and our growing community. Fortunately, City staff was able to meet our daily demands by maximizing the wellfields, treatment plant, and storage facilities. Many customers assisted by reducing their irrigation usage.
This summer identified areas for improvement in our water system, and City staff and administration have since been working with a consulting engineer to determine solutions to meet the growing water demands of our community. This study has shown that the City’s supply (wells) and storage (water tower) should both be expanded to increase capacity. As we work to finalize the details of how to provide additional supply and storage, we must also consider how to fund these significant improvements. At the last few City council meetings, the council has considered a rate study performed by an outside agency. This study proposes a 20% rate increase for 2021 and a 15% increase for 2022 to provide the necessary funds to meet the capital improvement needs and to keep up with the increasing expenses in our water utility. The rate adjustments also include a summer usage rate that is slightly higher than winter water use. The last rate increase occurred in 2014.