Archive for the ‘Customers’ Category

March 8, 2017

Why You Should Stand Against HF 484


House File 484
is a bill that would disband the governing boards of the Des Moines, Urbandale, and West Des Moines water works. If signed into law, these three independent utilities would be forced to turn over management and their assets to the city councils in each city.

This is a diversion

  • There is no drinking water quality crisis in the Des Moines metro area that would necessitate the state legislature stepping in.
  • The real problem is source water quality in the state. The Legislature should be focused on water quality – not local water production.
  • Metro utilities have done an outstanding job for decades of planning and implementing the supply, treatment, and transmissions projects necessary to ensure everyone in the metro has access to quality water in adequate quantities at reasonable rates.

Legislative overreach

  • This legislation stands in stark contrast to Home Rule (the right for local self-government)
  • Iowa Code Chapter 388, states that a city may establish or dispose of a city utility, but it is subject to the approval of the voters of the city.
  • This legislation takes the right to vote out of the hands of the citizens of Des Moines, West Des Moines, and Urbandale.
  • Approximately 15 years ago, West Des Moines asked the citizens of West Des Moines to vote on dissolving their water board. More than 90% of the voters said no. This legislation will allow them to take over the utility without it going to the voters.
  • This is clearly an effort to bypass existing law and the will of the people.

Current version of the bill doesn’t even address regionalization

  • The amended bill doesn’t create a regional water authority, which was ostensibly the reason for the original legislation.
  • Regionalization, in and of itself, is not necessarily a bad thing. This is why a coalition of 22 metro water utilities commissioned a study in 2014.
  • House File 484 would dismantle in an instant all of our accomplishments today. The metro water utilities will find a solution to our region’s future water needs by continuing the dialogue, not dismantling what has already been done.

Why water boards were set up independently

  • Water utility boards were set up independent from city councils for a reason – to protect a public health necessity from politics. Simply stated, it is an independent local water utility owned by its customers and it works, and has worked for 100 years.
  • There is absolutely no need to dismantle the water boards in the metro area that have decades of experience of delivering safe and affordable drinking water, and have long histories of financial diligence that have resulted in healthy water systems at relatively affordable rates.
  • Currently, water rates are reinvested in the water system, funding imperative capital improvements – for example, over $3 million this year in water main replacement projects for Des Moines.
  • It is no secret the City of Des Moines needs new revenue sources. If assets, responsibilities and revenue are transferred to City of Des Moines, portions of water rates could be funneled to the general fund of City of Des Moines, circumventing needed infrastructure plans.
  • Takes the management of delivering safe and affordable drinking water from professionals and puts in the hands of politicians.

Why you should stand against HF 484

  • This is a solution looking for a non-existent problem.
  • The legislature is sticking its nose where it doesn’t belong.
  • The proposed legislation actually impedes the regions ability to create a regional water authority.
  • House File 484 sets a dangerous precedent for all of Iowa’s 500 independent utilities boards.
  • Legislation could impede economic growth as it puts a freeze planning and construction of new water treatment facilities.
  • House File 484 is an example of politics at its worst. This legislation is clearly retaliation for the Clean Water Lawsuit, and shows no regard to the 500,000 people who depend on Des Moines Water Works for clean and affordable drinking water ever day.
  • As we saw in Flint, Michigan, when financially strained cities make decisions for purely economic reasons, the results can be catastrophic.

 

Posted by: Laura Sarcone 8 Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Board of Trustees, Customer Service, Customers, Rates November 21, 2016

2017 Budget and Water Rates

Des Moines Water Works staff has proposed Des Moines Water Works’ 2017 calendar year budget, which includes revenue from 2017 rate increases for all service areas.  The Board of Water Works Trustees will hold a public hearing for the proposed 2017 budget on Tuesday, November 22, 2016, at 3:30 p.m. at Des Moines Water Works’ general office, located at 2201 George Flagg Parkway, in Des Moines.

The Board approved a 10 percent rate increase for most customers at their October meeting. The rate increase equates to an additional $2.78 per month for water charges for a four-person household (using 7,500 gallons) in Des Moines.  Alleman customers will see a 15 percent rate increase based on capital improvements made to their water system.  In addition, a five percent increase for the Wholesale With Storage rate was approved.  The rate increases will result in approximately $3.3 million of increased water revenue for 2017.  New water rates will go into effect April 1, 2017.  For a complete listing of Des Moines Water Works’ 2017 water rate structure, visit www.dmww.com/about-us/announcements.

The proposed 2017 budget includes $62 million of operating revenue. Additional funding from outside entities of nearly $16 million will fund joint projects.

The proposed 2017 operating expenses are budgeted at $41.6 million, an increase of $1 million from 2016, primarily due to increases in labor and benefits and plant maintenance expenses.  Capital infrastructure costs are budgeted at $29.6 million. Additional funding sources of $16 million leaves approximately $13.6 million of capital projects to be funded from the utility’s revenues. This compares to approximately $10.7 million of capital projects budgeted from the utility’s revenues in 2016.  In addition to operating and capital expenditures, $5.3 million will be spent on debt repayment.

As the Board moves toward greater investment in the water utility’s infrastructure, rate increases and annual budgets will be more consistent with the challenges of producing and delivering safe drinking water.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in Board of Trustees, Customer Service, Customers, Rates October 27, 2016

Automated Notification System

Des Moines Water Works uses an Automated Notification System to notify customers of various emergencies via automated telephone message.  The alerts are geographically defined and can include emergencies such as water outages, boil advisories and important public health or safety notifications.  Recipients’ Caller ID will display Des Moines Water Works (515) 283-8700.  If you miss the call or would like additional information, call (515) 283-8700 to speak with a representative.

It is very important that Des Moines Water Works has your current phone number(s) on file.  Update your account profile online at www.dmww.com with your current phone number (select log-in or create a new account at the top of the page) or call a Des Moines Water Works Customer Service Representative at (515) 283-8700 to ensure your phone number(s) on file is up-to-date.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone 3 Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Customer Service, Customers November 9, 2015

2016 Budget and Water Rates

The Board of Water Works Trustees has proposed Des Moines Water Works’ 2016 calendar year budget, which includes revenue from 2016 rate increases for Des Moines, total service, and wholesale water customers.  The 10 percent rate increase for all customers, approved by the Board in October, equates to an increase of about $2.55 per month for a four-person household (7,500 gallons) inside Des Moines.

The rate increases will result in approximately $3.2 million of increased water revenue for 2016. As the Board moves toward greater investment in the water utility’s infrastructure, rate increases will be more consistent with the challenges of producing and delivering quality water.

The proposed 2016 budget includes $59.4 million of operating revenue. Operating expenses are budgeted at $40.6 million, while capital infrastructure costs are budgeted at $22.2 million.

The Board of Water Works Trustees will hold a public hearing for the proposed 2016 budget on Tuesday, November 24, 2015, at 3:30 p.m. at Des Moines Water Works’ general office, located at 2201 George Flagg Parkway, in Des Moines.

New water rates will go into effect April 1, 2016. For a complete listing of Des Moines Water Works’ 2016 water rate structure, visit www.dmww.com/about-us/announcements.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , Posted in Customer Service, Customers, Rates April 7, 2015

Maffitt Reservoir Boat Permits

Maffitt Lake shorelineLast year, over 200 canoe, kayak and paddleboard enthusiasts enjoyed the beautiful water and views at Maffitt Reservoir and Park. Interested users must purchase an annual permit to launch their watercraft at Maffitt Reservoir. The annual boat permit can be purchased for $20.00 at Des Moines Water Works’ General Office, located at 2201 George Flagg Parkway, in Des Moines. No motors or sails of any kind are allowed, which helps ensure the lake remains a high quality water source for the area’s drinking water supply.

Dale Maffitt Reservoir is a 200-acre lake that sits amongst the tall oaks overlooking Des Moines Water Works’ L.D. McMullen Water Treatment Plant. The lake, primarily located in Polk County, also has corners that reach into Warren, Dallas and Madison Counties. The reservoir was constructed in the early 1940s, as a backup water source and named in honor of then General Manager of Des Moines Water Works,Dale Maffitt. In 2000, Des Moines Water Works began operating the L.D. McMullen Water Treatment Plant at Maffitt Reservoir in an effort to produce enough water for Des Moines and surrounding areas’ growing
population. For decades, nature lovers and anglers have enjoyed the serenity of the lake, as ducks, geese, river otter and a multitude of fish species call it home.

Park hours are 7:00 am-8:00 pm (Standard Time) and 6:00 am-9:00 pm (Daylight Savings Time). Take Army Post Road west, across Interstate 35 and follow the signs.

For more information on the use of canoes, kayaks and paddleboards on Maffitt Reservoir, please contact Des Moines Water Works at (515) 283-8700 or visit www.dmww.com/parks-events/maffitt-reservoir.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone 4 Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in Customers, Maffitt Reservoir, Parks March 31, 2015

E-statement Rebate

credit card onlineEnroll in E-statements and receive a $5.00 rebate on your next water bill. To sign up, visit www.dmww.com to set up an online account. Once logged into your account, simply select Go Paperless from the top green navigation bar.

There are many advantages to choosing E-statements. They are convenient, environmentally friendly, help prevent identity theft and they help reduce costs, which in turn, helps keep water rates low.

For more information on E-statements, visit www.dmww.com or contact a Customer Service Representative at (515) 283-8700.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone 1 Comment
Labels: , , , Posted in Customer Service, Customers March 24, 2015

Make the Call Before You Dig!

DSC_2038Do you have projects this spring or summer requiring digging in your yard?  Before you dig, be sure to include the most important step in your project plans: IOWA ONE CALL. Iowa One Call services are FREE and telephones are answered 24 hours a day. Utilities, including Des Moines Water Works, have 48 hours after you request to locate any underground facilities they have in the area and mark their location with flags or painted lines. After the excavation area is marked, you will be able to avoid any underground services, preventing a loss of vital services and added expenses for repairs.

Simply call 811 before you dig. It’s fast, it’s free, it’s the law! You can also access important information at www.iowaonecall.com.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in Customer Service, Customers March 17, 2015

Water Quality at Home: “Cloudy Water”

Cloudy WaterThroughout the year, Des Moines Water Works receives calls from customers who say their tap water appears milky white or cloudy. In the majority of cases, the cloudy water is caused by harmless air bubbles, but sometimes it can indicate a plumbing issue. Fortunately, determining the cause is as simple as filling up a clear glass with water and setting it on the counter.

  • If the water clears from the bottom of the glass to the top, the water has air bubbles. This reaction sometimes occurs when cold water from underground mains enters warmer pipes inside your home. Since cold water holds more dissolved air than warm water, as water warms, air may be released as tiny bubbles when a tap is turned on. The water is safe to drink, the discoloring is just the result of a harmless reaction.
  • If the water in the glass clears from the top-down, and white or grey particles settle to the bottom, this may indicate a water plumbing issue. Call Des Moines Water Works at (515) 283-8700 and staff will assist in diagnosing the problem and provide a list of qualified plumbers.

For more information on water quality, visit www.dmww.com/water-quality.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Customers, Water Quality March 5, 2015

2015 Environmental Impact Awards

Envir. Impact Award LogoIn central Iowa, we are very fortunate to have many organizations that make environmentally sustainable practices a priority. To recognize their efforts and identify the positive impact they make on our communities, the Environmental Impact Awards were established.

Partners Make the Environmental Impact Awards Possible
Des Moines Water Works joins Greater Des Moines Partnership, Center on Sustainable Communities (COSC) and Metro Waste Authority to recognize local organizations and leaders dedicated to sustainability in the Greater Des Moines area. If you know, or are associated with an organization that should be recognized for their efforts, please consider submitting an award application for the Environmental Impact Awards.

Applications Available Online

You can nominate an organization in these areas:

Best water management practices will receive a special honor.

Applications for the Environmental Impact Awards will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 11.

2015 Award Recipients Announced on Earth Day
Winners will be announced on Earth Day, April 22. Award recipients will be honored at a luncheon on May 20, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., at the Windsor Heights Community Center in Colby Park.

For more information, contact the Greater Des Moines Partnership at (515) 286-4950.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , , , Posted in Conservation, Customers, Environment, Water Quality July 8, 2014

Using Water Wisely

Watering with garden hoseHot, dry weather is upon us. By far, the highest water use during hot, summer days is for lawn or turf irrigation. There are many sophisticated automated, in-ground lawn sprinkler systems in use today; however, these systems require regular maintenance to operate efficiently. Even the most properly maintained system can be operated unwisely.

Des Moines Water Works, in cooperation with other Des Moines metro area water utilities, has developed the “Using Water Wisely” program. This is an educational, voluntary customer program aimed at reducing water use during hot, dry summer days. Customers can do this by eliminating lawn watering during the hottest part of the day (10:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m.). This watering approach reduces the peak load on water facilities which extends their capacity and useful life. In addition, it is important to remember:

  • Test irrigation systems each spring to ensure there are no leaking sprinkler heads and that each head is properly directing its spray onto the turf and landscape.
  • For in-ground irrigation systems, install a moisture sensor that will turn off the irrigation system during its normal run cycle when there has been sufficient rainfall.
  • When possible, avoid laying sod or grass seed during the month of July and the first three weeks of August. These typically are the hottest months of the year. New sod has no established root system and therefore requires daily watering during hot summer days to keep it alive. Beginning the last week in August and through the fall is the best time for laying sod and grass seed.
  • Consult your preferred garden center, lawn or landscape professional for tips and consultation for your specific lawn and landscape care and watering needs.
Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in Conservation, Customer Service, Customers