by Pam Zubeck
Colorado Springs Utilities has now provided an answer to our question yesterday about the push for people to use less water. Won't reduced usage mean Utilities will have to raise rates even more, to generate the money it needs?
Here's the response:
Encouraging conservation is the right thing to do for many reasons:
1. Using less water reduces strain on the environment and natural resources.
2. When residents or businesses lower their water and energy usage, their monthly bill is reduced.
3. Conservation keeps rates lower in the long-run. When the community reduces its water or energy use, it helps the utility delay the need to build new infrastructure. For example, in 2003 we projected the need date for SDS to be 2007. The lower per capita usage that we're now seeing has allowed us to push back that need date to 2016. So if it were not for conservation, customers would have been paying higher rates for the last several years to pay for new infrastructure.
Increasing water infrastructure costs and rates are a reality for many water utilities, even for those that do not have a large water project in the works:
Colorado Springs Utilities
Public Affairs Division
With water bills doubling in the next six years, you might want to find out how to scale back usage. On Thursday, the city is hosting a free "green bag" lunch meeting at the City Administration Building, 30 S. Nevada Ave., #102.
In a press release, the city's tax-supported government says it spent $2.3 million on water last year and, without conservation efforts in place, could expect to spend $4.5 million by 2016.
"Yet, water conservation information, rebates and programs exist to help all of us adjust," the press release says.
Utilities water conservation specialist Scott Winter will share information on residential and commercial rebates and retrofits, including toilets, clothes washers and free spray valve nozzles (for cafeterias, restaurants, and other industrial users) for those looking to implement water-saving measures.
The release also notes:
In addition to cost savings, conserving water reduces emissions from wastewater treatment plants, reduces wastewater charges, protects aquatic life, provides more water for agriculture and the environment, and saves energy.
Each month, the City Green Team sponsors a lunch-n-learn topic on environmental issues. Questions? Contact City of Colorado Springs Sustainability Coordinator Carrie McCausland, 719-385-CSGN (2746) or email@example.com.