Cost of Service Study and Rate Analysis
In 2015 the City reviewed current water system capital needs and performed a cost of service study and rate analysis. A special City Council meeting was held on October 8 to provide information on the water rate study. The same presentation was provided to the Nampa Board of Appraisers on November 2.
Recent Water System and Operational Improvements
The Nampa Waterworks Division has been working diligently for the past several years to improve operations, evaluate system conditions and forecast current and ongoing needs.
In 2009 the Division began developing an asset management program to evaluate the existing pipeline, valve and hydrant infrastructure. The program implemented a systematic valve and hydrant replacement program in 2011.
Technology improvements have allowed the Waterworks Division to better evaluate repairs and prioritize pipeline replacements to ensure that the most critical pipelines are repaired first.
The Division has also created a systematic domestic well rehabilitation program. Wells are critical system starting points, without supply entering neither service can be provided. The rehabilitation program works to ensure the overall station is rehabilitated on an ongoing basis to avoid failures.
In 2014 a water master plan was completed to identify additional supply, fire protection, and pipeline needs. The list of identified capital projects is large and has tipped the scales toward increased funding needs.
The master plan and subsequent Capital Improvement Plan update has identified $33.4 million in needed domestic water system improvements over the next 10 years. The vast majority of the identified projects are pipelines which are either undersized and therefore do not provide adequate fire protection or are so old that they are approaching failure. Future master plans will likely require an increased level of investment as the planned replacement cycle is 216 years for pipes likely to only last 75 to 100 years.
Cost Minimization Efforts
The Nampa Waterworks Division has not requested a significant rate increase in the past 6 years. Instead, the Division has worked to minimize operations costs and utilize reserve funds.
The Division has implemented a work order system to better track costs and identify operational efficiencies. Staff levels and staff assignments have been evaluated. The Division’s strength in operations and maintenance has become the focus while major construction activities have been outsourced. A meter replacement and automatic meter reading program was implemented in 2010 with reserve funds. The program over time will lead to more operational efficiencies, customer equity and improved meter read data.
The 2015 cost of service study has identified a need for increased funding. Without increased funding none of the planned capital improvements could be completed, as revenues today just barely cover operations and maintenance costs.
Public Involvement Opportunities
Community open houses were held on: