Posts Tagged ‘Regional Water Utility’

January 10, 2019

Water Regionalization Update

Des Moines Water Works has been an independent water utility since 1919. For 100 years, it has provided Des Moines with safe and abundant drinking water that has allowed the city to flourish. Since 1934, Des Moines Water Works has been providing drinking water to central Iowa communities outside of the city of Des Moines, helping the entire region grow and providing savings through economies of scale.

While Des Moines Water Works currently acts as the primary regional producer of water, we believe current and future challenges for producing water could be better met through expanded representation and involvement in decision-making, rate-setting, and capital planning, and by more equitably sharing costs and spreading the assumption of risk among the people and governments of the region.

In recent years, Des Moines Water Works has worked alongside its suburban wholesale customers to find appropriate ways that they could be included in important ratemaking and planned infrastructure decisions. Over the past two years, these discussions have been formalized and professionally facilitated by FCS Group of Redmond, Washington, with the goal of providing a pathway to create a regional water production authority for central Iowa that maximizes water resource management.

The formal discussions between three local independent water utilities (Des Moines Water Works, Urbandale Water Utility and West Des Moines Water Works) and surrounding communities have been beneficial. Each community and entity brings its own unique perspective and specific needs to the table, and after spending hundreds of hours listening and discussing these important issues, we are all more aware of each community’s needs regarding water now and into the future. At the same time, other communities and water producers are still actively pursuing new water production expansion of their own, which only complicates matters even more.

The good news is that the lines of communication between all parties remain open and productive. Des Moines Water Works will continue to invest time and resources to find a solution that will benefit the community at large. Safe and abundant drinking water is not just a necessity for continued economic growth in our area, but it is a vital necessity for life itself.

While an acceptable model for expanded regional governance of and participation in water production in central Iowa has yet to be developed, Des Moines Water Works remains committed to working with all parties interested in exploring ways to increase participation and representation in the governance of water production.

As we continue to explore water production solutions for the region, we will keep you updated on public meetings and important information. View information from the process thus far at:

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in About Us, Board of Trustees March 17, 2014

Regional Water Production Study

Local DSC_1446and national experts agree that water rates are on the rise, in part due to deteriorating infrastructure and rising debt among utilities. The Central Iowa Regional Drinking Water Commission (CIRDWC), a body of elected and appointed officials from central Iowa formed by 28E agreement to provide water system planning for the entire region, is proposing a study be performed by an independent consultant to evaluate the feasibility whether a regional water production utility can provide better service and accommodate future demand. The estimated $250,000 study could show whether merging area water production utilities, most of which already receive at least a portion of their water from Des Moines Water Works, could result in lower rate increases and better service in the future.

The main driving factor of the study is to assure central Iowans have reliable sources of water and it is being produced at a reasonable cost. A regional model has the potential for several other benefits, including:

  • Financial savings by spreading overhead costs, engineering costs and other expenses over a larger customer base
  • Improved long-term planning about where new treatment plants should be built and how to address potential water shortages
  • A more representative government structure

“It is smarter for the region to combine its production operations and expand together, rather than individual cities investing in their own treatment facilities at greater cost to consumers and without coordinated planning,” said Bill Stowe, CEO and General Manager, Des Moines Water Works.

Stowe pointed to the Wastewater Reclamation Authority as a model for successful collaboration. The organization includes 17 local municipalities, counties and sewer districts. The City of Des Moines is the operating contractor, but membership to the governing board is based on population.

The proposed study will focus on the potential outcomes of combining drinking water treatment and production services and assets, but not distribution. If efforts to establish a regional utility do move forward, the responsibility of delivering water to customers and setting distribution rates would remain with individual cities and water providers.

A Request for Qualifications will be issued this spring to identify a consultant to complete the study, which could take six months to complete. As a preliminary step, the feasibility study will identify what options are available and does not mean a regional water production utility will ultimately be pursued.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , , , , , Posted in About Us, Board of Trustees, Customer Service