CBJ water rate study underway

A Water Supply Plan that considers Salmon Creek as the best opportunity for expanding Juneau’s water system does not mention conservation.

While conservation may well be important, CBJ Engineering Director Rorie Watt said it probably wouldn’t happen in Juneau until customers are metered.

“Conservation is going to happen with community-minded people who are disposed toward conserving, but the bulk of the public is going to need to see the economic impact of using more or less before they really embark on big conservation measures,” Watt told the Assembly Committee of the Whole on Monday.   

He said metering water customers would cost the city about $5 million.

While metering isn’t part of the Municipal Drinking Water Supply Plan, a rate study is underway. Watt said the study will look at equity and whether different classes of users are paying their fair share.

“What I hear anytime I go to the Utility Advisory Board is ‘pay for use.’  That’s what the utility board believes in; I think that’s what your staff believes in as well. Pay for the water that you use,” he said.

The rate study is being conducted by the CBJ Public Works Department. Watt said he expects it to recommend changes in the allocation between users groups “so that people pay the cost of what they use.”    The study will be finished in about a year.

The Assembly Committee of the Whole has moved the water plan forward to the regular Assembly.  It likely will come up for a public hearing sometime next month.

The plan is intended to guide Juneau’s water system and management in future years.

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