The Water Renewal Utility Plan is Built for Boise, by Boise.
August 19, 2020
It’s safe to say not every conversation starts this way, but it was nearly four years ago that we asked Boiseans the question “What do you want out of your wastewater utility?” We knew reliability would be a big one- you want the pipes to work, the water to flush. But we also wanted to know about the bigger picture. What does our community value in water, what are your priorities, what are your concerns? We treat and clean 30 million gallons a day of water. Once cleaned, what should we do with that water?
To build a plan that truly represents our community, we had to hear from our community. We sought all types of feedback, pursued genuine conversations with different groups in our community, and provided over 20 unique opportunities for residents to get involved. From engagement online and in person, through surveys, focus groups, presentations, one-on-one meetings and a community advisory group, we wanted to hear from different people in new ways. To date, we’ve collected thousands of pieces of input, representing our diverse city from different income levels, professions, ages, races, ethnicities and backgrounds. From several years of listening to the community, here are a few themes that emerged:
- Our community’s identity is tied to the Boise River
- Environmental protection is valued over having the lowest water renewal utility bill
- Innovation is part of Boise’s identity
- Concern about the impact of growth and climate change on our community
- Support for recycling water
But collecting input is only half of the equation. Our community wants to know that their feedback means something— that it doesn’t just get filed away or that the outcome has been predetermined. It was important to us that the voices in our community genuinely helped shape this plan. Based on the feedback we received from residents, we crafted a plan that first and foremost prioritizes the Boise River. The plan to be considered by city council recommends localized solutions that will increase our resiliency and reliability while maximizing the environmental benefits of water recycling.