Colorado Springs: Utilities board okays water supply regional partnerships

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From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Eileen Welsome):

Mayor Lionel Rivera and Utilities CEO Jerry Forte hailed the decision as a historic vote, saying it would benefit not only the utility’s ratepayers, but other water consumers throughout the county. “It’s a win-win for everybody,” Forte said…

Under the new policy, which still has many details to be worked out, the regional partners would be charged a premium for water service that would be higher than what the utility’s current customers pay. A portion of that would go to the city’s general fund and another portion to Utilities.

The Utilities board, which consists of members of the City Council, voted 6-2 to move ahead with the regional partnerships. Councilmen Randy Purvis and Tom Gallagher cast dissenting votes. “I’m opposed to using our water,” Gallagher said, questioning whether Utilities would have an adequate water supply to meet demand during times of drought. Gallagher said he was also concerned about whether the utility would be able to accurately assess the hidden costs associated with delivering the water — such as electricity used to drive pumps — to the regional partners.

But Rivera insisted that the regional partnerships will be a good deal for the city and the utility. “If we have excess capacity that we’re not using, then we’re not being good stewards of our resources,” he said. “It will be a huge benefit to be able to sell water that we don’t need.”

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