WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Change is coming, when it comes to the governmental pipes that bring water to customers in the metro area and beyond. A group of water providers have been holding meetings and studies for several years to determine a model for water agencies to work together.
“In establishing Central Iowa Water Works, metro water utilities will move forward collaboratively to face the water quality and quantity challenges that we must manage as our region continues to grow,” said Ted Corrigan, CEO and general manager of Des Moines Water Works, in a news release. “The formation of CIWW allows for effective planning and management of our water resources, which will help ensure our shared water system provides safe, sufficient and affordable water today and into the future.”
The effort has been promoted in the metro by the Des Moines Water Works, the West Des Moines Water Works, and the Urbandale Water Works.
“We are all getting our water from the same rivers and aquifers, and we are all trying to grow and add to the quality of life of our communities,” said Dale Acheson, general manager of the Urbandale Water Utility. “The more we can work together to avoid costly duplication in water source development and treatment plant expansions, the better we can focus on growth and resiliency for individual communities as well as the entire region.”
Both Des Moines, and West Des Moines Water Works managers were meeting with the public at meetings in each city. The sessions were intended to answer questions for the public members. Formal hearings on any action would take place later.
“Water is an essential and finite resource that every community in the metro needs to grow and thrive,” added Christina Murphy, general manager of West Des Moines Water Works. “As we look to the future, we are facing many of the same challenges, and we have a fiduciary obligation to our customers to ensure ample water today and tomorrow. Collaborating on CIWW gives us more tools and opportunities for the future.”
Murphy cited the fact that Des Moines now uses less water than the suburbs combined.
“The main thing driving this is that the suburban communities now consume 55% of the water produced in the metro, so Des Moines is not the biggest customer anymore, and so the suburban communities want to have a more of a voice and how rates are being set.”
Des Moines Water Works has been doing most of the leg work on managing a regional water supply.
“Looking for fair and equitable distribution of the cost of producing water, and resiliency making sure they were able to provide water to everyone when they need it,” said Corrigan.
Water customers should not notice this change. They will still contact their local water department and send payments to that agency for water.