Water Renewal Stories

aerial image of Boise, Idaho

The Proposed Plan

September 1, 2020

Sometimes important changes can happen from the place you least expect. As our city faces challenges from climate change, growth and aging infrastructure, the service that you use every single day, but likely don’t think about often, is adapting to find solutions. Water Renewal Services has always protected public health and our environment by treating the used water from homes, businesses and industry every day, and that will never change. But nearly five years ago, we set out to look at things differently. We found that not only can we do more, but we heard loud and clear that you expect us to do more.

We collect 30 million gallons of used water every day. From that, we produce clean water that gets put into the Boise River to flow downstream. To help solve some of the challenges we face, we looked at nearly every option, turned over every rock, and developed a spectrum of ideas from keeping the status quo and continuing to put all that water into the river, to highly purifying the water for drinking and everything in between. We set out with several rounds of community involvement, collecting thousands of pieces of feedback from Boiseans, coupled with a robust and comprehensive business case evaluation that included detailed technical, risk and financial analyses to narrow down the options. Then we “stress tested” those options for different future planning scenarios like climate change, economic downturn, shifting community values until we finally arrived at the Water Renewal Utility Plan- a plan that provides the lowest-cost option while still meeting our unique community values. This is not a cookie-cutter plan, rather it is a plan built for Boise, by Boise. Here’s a snapshot of what the plan proposes:

We heard from our community that the Boise River means everything:

  • Enhance the health and uses of the Boise River through restoration projects and increased water renewal

Our community said that reliability is key, the system needs to work:

  • Reinvest in our existing infrastructure by repairing, replacing and upgrading crucial system components

We heard that we should be using the right water for the right purposes:

  • Support our local economy by establishing an industrial water reuse program to take the water they give us in their processes, treat it and turn it right back around for them to use again

We heard that we should recycle our water in new and different ways:

  • Develop a recycled water program and recharge our aquifer for future use

We heard that resiliency in our system is critical and we need to mitigate risks by decentralizing our infrastructure:

  • Add two new water renewal facilities

We heard that balancing all the above with the ability to pay is important:

  • Create new affordability programs and explore new options to pay for improvements

We encourage you to read the plan and tell us what you think. Your comments will be shared with city council, and you can attend a public hearing on September 15.

Read the Memo to Boise City Council

Download the Final Plan

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