Water Renewal Utility Plan

Water Renewal Services is the city’s utility responsible for renewing more than 10 billion gallons of used water (commonly known as wastewater) per year. From the shower to the kitchen sink and toilet, from homes to businesses, large industry to hospitals and schools, every drop of used water travels through some of the more than 900 miles of underground pipes to one of two water renewal facilities.

Since 1949, all Boise's used water has been cleaned to a high level, then put in the Boise River just to flow downstream and out of our community. Seeing on the horizon changing water regulations, rate affordability, the condition of our infrastructure, the capacity in our system and the impacts of climate change, in 2017, the city began an effort to consider what our water future could look like if we prioritized local-level solutions, planned for water scarcity and balanced the values of our diverse and ever-growing community.

The Water Renewal Utility Plan is the result of that effort, integrating thousands of pieces of public input, technical evaluations, and comprehensive analyses of the regulatory, affordability and environmental implications for the future of how we collect, clean, and recycle water in our community.

Check back each week to read new online stories, view the memos to council, and give us feedback.

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 & Climate Change

How do we plan for known and unknown federal and state water quality mandates? How do we adapt our utility in response to a changing climate?

Community Expectations

Do we only meet the minimum required by law or rise to meet the environmental priorities of our community? How do we balance this with rate affordability?

Clarifiers

Get Involved

The public will have the opportunity to learn about the components of the Water Renewal Utility Plan along with Boise City Council. Each week, we’ll post online stories about the details that comprise the Water Renewal Utility Plan including:

  • Infrastructure Condition + Capacity | August 4
  • Climate Change + Regulatory | August 11
  • State of Recycled Water | August 18
  • Community Engagement + Expectations | August 18
  • Financial Capacity + Affordability | August 25
  • Recommended Approach | September 1

Boise residents will also be encouraged to review the information and provide comments and feedback that will be collected and presented to City Council with the recommended approach.

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Weekly Water Stories

Boise River during a clear summer day

A Plan for our Community by our Community

July 27, 2020

The City of Boise’s Water Renewal Services processes, treats and cleans more than 10 billion gallons of used water per year. Commonly known as wastewater, the water that flushes down the drains of Boise homes and businesses travels through over 900 miles of underground pipes and enters one of our two water renewal facilities. From there the water is renewed to a high quality before it is sent to the Boise River to flow away downstream.

In 2015, the city began to ask if there is a better way to use our water. We started to plan not only for aging infrastructure, a quickly growing city, and increased regulatory requirements, but also to make sure we are providing the best service to our community and making the most of our water resources.

The result of this planning is the Water Renewal Utility Plan. Staff combined thousands of pieces of public input, technical evaluations of the possible options for renewed water, and comprehensive analyses of the regulatory, affordability and environmental implications.

The Water Renewal Utility Plan is built by Boise, for Boise. The recommended plan will:

  • Pair traditional wastewater management with innovative, sustainable solutions
  • Keep a certain amount of clean, renewed water in our community as a method to build resiliency and prepare for water scarcity
  • Allow the city to set the course for scalability of recycled water
  • Proactively and prudently manage our existing infrastructure
  • Protect the Boise River and our local environment
  • Reflect the feedback from our community
  • Balance affordability with innovation

Read the full introductory memo

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