Southern Delivery System: Colorado Springs city council approves water rate hikes

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Colorado Springs City Council voted 8-1 Tuesday to increase water rates 12 percent in 2011 and 2012, largely to pay for the costs of the Southern Delivery System. Councilman Tom Gallagher was the lone vote in opposition to the rate increase…

Colorado Springs Utilities officials say similar increases will be needed each year until the project is completed in 2016. That will double rates, which are now at the midpoint for cities on the Front Range. The increase also is needed for maintenance on an aging infrastructure, such as a break on the Homestake Pipeline last month when a boulder fell on it. The line is still being repaired. The rate increase will amount to about $5 per month each year for the average home in Colorado Springs

More coverage from Eileen Welsome writing for The Colorado Springs Gazette. From the article:

The city-owned utility plans to seek a 3 percent rate increase in 2017, no increase in 2018 and a 2 percent rate increase in 2019, the forecast shows. Utilities spokesman Dave Grossman emphasized that the proposed increases are based on assumptions that could change dramatically in coming years. “A dry or wet summer can change the amount of revenue by millions of dollars,” he said. The increases will come on top of six planned 12 percent rate hikes scheduled for 2011 through 2016. The six increases come after a 40.6 percent rate hike that went into effect in 2009 and a 6.2 percent increase that went into effect on Jan. 1. In sum, that means that water bills for CSU customers could more than triple from 2008 to 2019, with the typical residential bill going from $24.67 to $76.37. Utilities officials have said the bulk of the rate hikes will pay for SDS, while the rest will be used for repairs and upgrades on existing facilities.

More SDS coverage from Charlotte Burroughs writing for the Cañon City Daily Record. From the article:

The workshop provided information on the opportunities for businesses regarding work related to the new Southern Delivery System. “We’re really excited to be moving out of the permitting phase that we’ve been in for seven years and move into the implementation phase to get rolling with construction here,” said SDS Project Director John Fredell. “That’s a huge step forward for the project.” He stressed there are real regional opportunities and benefits in terms of employment for the businesses in Fremont County. Available jobs include carpentry, civil contractors, job site trailers, electrical, equipment, insulation, gravel, landscaping, welding, truck drivers, rebar and more. “We’re already seeing that come to fruition,” Fredell said. “One of the first pieces of work we’re going to do is the dam connection to Pueblo Reservoir.”

Fredell estimated the major permits would be completed by the end of the year. It also has its record of decision from the Bureau of Land Reclamation and is nearing 30 percent of the initial components from the Army Corps of Engineering. “We only need about 100 permits to actually build everything for the projects,” Fredell said. But the company also needs to attain about 300 land acquisitions before it begins construction. “We’ll be ready to start up in 2015 or 2016,” he said. “In 2010, we plan to complete the dam connection. We also have to put in some pipe on the other end of the pipeline at Mark Sheffield Road.”[…]

SDS will be completed in two phases, which include the Juniper Valley, Williams Creek and Bradley pump stations then 62 miles of underground pipeline and a water treatment plant, which initially will treat 50 million gallons and then be expandable to more than 100 million gallons. “The first piece of the dam will connect to the north outlet works, which will begin later this summer or early fall,” Fredell said…

Phase 2 is roughly between 2020 and 2025, which will expand the pump stations, the water treatment plant and building Williams Creek Reservoir and Upper Williams Creek Reservoir. “We won’t build phase 2 all at once,” Fredell said. “We’ll start with Upper Williams Creek first, expanding the treatment facility then Williams Creek last.”[…]

When asked how to bid on the projects, Fredell said it would post a general list of jobs to bid on every week. To stay in touch with the program, register for the e-newsletter or e-mail sdsinfo@csu.org or http://www.sdswater.org.

More Southern Delivery System coverage here and here.

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