DES MOINES, Iowa — Just last week, Des Moines Water Works released its plans and the framework for a regional water utility, Central Iowa Water Works.
Des Moines Water Works said the idea of a regional water utility has been in the works for years.
“As the suburban demand grew and the amount of water that was delivered to the suburban communities became more than 50% of what we produced, there’s just some feeling in those communities that they should have some say in the rate setting and the future planning for the utility,” Des Moines Water Works Interim CEO Ted Corrigan said.
Corrigan said this does not mean Des Moines Water Works is going away; it will continue to serve the 20 communities it does now.
Having a regional utility simply means each city or community in central Iowa would be a part of a regional board.
“Fairness is an important part of what we are talking about here. We want to work together to ensure that the rates that everyone is being charged are fair and to ensure that we are planning properly for the entire metro. So it’s a division of responsibility. It’s a sharing of responsibility,” Corrigan said.
Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie said he thinks it is important other communities have a seat at the decision-making table.
“We’ve helped facilitate that collaborative effort. We are all in this together. We are laying foundational work for the next 50, 100 years for safe, affordable and adequate quantities of water for generations to come. And that’s what we are all around the table working and trying to figure out how we make that happen,” Cownie said.
Corrigan said from Water Works analysis, providing water to the metro as a single region could be better for everyone’s pocket books.
“We think looking at shared responsibility for some of these regional tasks would result in the lowest overall cost for water,” Corrigan said.
Corrigan said the next step is to sit down with each community and talk with them about the plan.
Every community in central Iowa will have an opportunity to be a part of the regional utility.