April 10, 2013
Water Services Department implements consultant and staff recommendations
More than $20 million has been saved by the City of Phoenix Water Services Department following implementation of a consultant’s recommendations and staff ideas. The savings are the primary reasons that Phoenix’s water and sewer rates will not increase in 2013. Water Services’ operations budget for next fiscal year is projected to be $11 million less than this year’s budget.
Water Services staff have accomplished most of the consultant’s task list as confirmed by a Citizens Advisory Panel, formed to review the study. “In this city we are committed to innovation and efficiency and we can see it at work right here in our Water Services Department,” said Mayor Greg Stanton. “I’m also committed to preparing our city for a strong future through sustainability in as many city services as possible, and I’m proud to see our water systems implementing that through conservation and solar programs.”
Actions leading to the savings include: reduced chemical costs, eliminating positions, energy conservation measures, reduced debt service from the sale of the city’s McMullen Valley water farm property, sewer operating efficiencies, and installation of a 7.5 megawatt solar panel system at the Lake Pleasant Water Treatment Plant.
“We take our tap water and sewer systems for granted because there are so few service interruptions and we don’t see the massive infrastructure needed to serve our customers,” said Councilwoman Thelda Williams, chairwoman of the city’s Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee. “12,000 miles of water and sewer lines, treatment plants, booster stations, fire hydrants, reservoirs and especially the people that make it all work keep us safe and comfortable 24/7.”
“Phoenix Water Services has done an excellent job of lowering costs while enhancing services,” said City Manager David Cavazos. “The fact that we have high-quality tap water that meets or surpasses Environmental Protection Agency requirements, a stable supply, and the fifth-lowest water and sewer bill of the nation’s 20 largest cities – in the desert – is amazing.”