Water Renewal Utility Plan

For decades, Boise has worked diligently to plan and build infrastructure to protect the river, keep our community safe and clean and accommodate the changing needs of our growing city. Even with responsible planning, Boise faces challenges related to funding, regulations, and a fast-changing environment.

As one of the fastest growing cities in the country, additional pressures continue to be placed on our water renewal system infrastructure. Fortunately, Water Renewal Services has been putting years of work into staying a step ahead, which has paid off by positioning the utility to be flexible rather than reactionary in making future investments.

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Why do we need a Utility Plan?

Like any business, a long-term plan is key to success. While we are federally mandated to have a plan, to us it’s more than a requirement. It’s a way to look ahead and set a strategic direction for our Water Renewal Services and at its core is designed to answer these questions:

Infrastructure Condition

How will we ensure the infrastructure that safely cleans our water and protects our public health remains in proper condition?

Capacity

How will we meet the increased needs of our community as we continue to grow, and new regulations reduce efficiency?

Regulatory Requirements

How do we continue to stay ahead of the curve and plan for known and unknown future federal and state water quality mandates?

Customer Expectations

Do we only meet the minimum required by law or rise to meet the environmental priorities of our community?

Where We’re Going

Over the next several months, we’ll be delivering several presentations to city council and the public to discuss our plan and gather further community input. This summer, we will request city council approval on the strategic direction set in the Water Renewal Utility Plan. The presentations will explore the following key areas:

Clarifiers

Infrastructure Condition

Boise’s Water Renewal Services manages approximately $2 billion in existing assets. The two water renewal facilities, Lander Street and West Boise, were constructed in 1949 and 1976, respectively. The nearly 1,000 miles of pipe that convey used water to these facilities was installed as Boise expanded, with some originally installed in 1891. These critical infrastructure components are nearing the end of their usable lives. In order to create a more robust system to accommodate public needs, the system requires repair and replacement with updated used water treatment technology.

The water renewal system has historically experienced low levels of infrastructure failure as a result of continued investment in and maintenance of the system. Water Renewal Services has focused funding on the most critical infrastructure projects, using assessments to identify those assets that are both critical to the continued performance of the water renewal system and those with deteriorating condition.

Water Renewal Capacity

Providing enough water renewal capacity is fundamental to continued prosperity and quality of life in Boise. Residences and businesses rely on continuous access to the water renewal systems to support their everyday lives. The system currently collects and renews approximately 36 million gallons per day of used water during the periods of highest demand. Based on anticipated population and economic growth, the amount of used water the utility will need to clean is expected to increase by over 35 percent by 2040. The city has been proactive in planning for this expected increase but will still need to increase the capacity of the water renewal system by approximately 20 percent.

What's Next?

The Mayor, City Council and the public will have opportunities to hear about the above topics in the coming months. We anticipate presenting in front of city council this fall and will request a city council vote on whether to approve the strategic direction for Water Renewal Services.

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