Water Renewal Stories

Inside of a water services pipe

Water Renewal Infrastructure

The Importance of the Two C’s (Condition and Capacity)

August 4, 2020

Whether at home or at work, we all expect reliability out of services we pay for. That includes when you flush or when water flows down your drain. Chances are, you probably don’t think about Water Renewal Services in your day-to-day life, and that means we are doing our job right. From hospitals to schools to breweries, homes and small businesses, we provide a critical service – collecting your used water, treating it, and making sure we keep our community and our river clean. For decades, Boise has worked to plan and build all the pieces and parts that treat our city’s used water. We have been thinking ahead to keep our high standards of reliability as our city grows. Even with all that planning, our city has reached a point where we need to make significant investments in our water renewal systems to keep the reliability you depend on.

Aging Infrastructure

Boise manages approximately $2 billion in water renewal infrastructure, making the system the largest asset that the city owns. While we are continually working to maintain the state of all our infrastructure, many sections of pipelines and facilities are getting older. Some original sections of Boise’s pipe were originally installed in 1891.

In addition to nearly 1,000 miles of collection system pipeline and 20 lift stations, Boise’s Water Renewal Services operates these facilities:

  • Lander Street Water Renewal (Constructed in 1949)
  • West Boise Water Renewal Constructed in 1976)
  • Twenty Mile South Farm (Purchased in 1994)
  • Utilities Maintenance (Constructed in 2002)
  • Dixie Drain Phosphorus Removal (Constructed in 2015)

Data shows that 20% of the pipe and 50% of the overall system is nearing the end of its useful life and needs to be replaced.

Ensuring the Capacity to Treat More

Currently, the city collects and renews 36 million gallons of used water per day during the highest use. Over the next 20 years, our city is anticipated to grow significantly, and water quality regulations will become more stringent. While we've been proactive in planning for future regulations, economic and residential growth, we will still need to increase the capacity of our system by 20%. Our existing water renewal system has served our community well, but we need to expand and repair our infrastructure to continue to provide reliability and a clean city and river.

Needed Investment

Over the next 20 years, the city’s water renewal system will require an investment of between $380 - $580 million to replace aging water renewal infrastructure and $240 - $350 million to address future capacity needs. Delaying repairs and improvements poses a high risk of potential system failure, possible public health issues, emergency repairs and, ultimately, higher costs to ratepayers.

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