Pressurized Irrigation Questions and Answers
Why does the city need a pressurized irrigation system?
The city grew in population from 11,000 in 1990 to just over 20,000 in 2000. The city water system was nearing capacity at the end of this period. Two independent engineering firms completed studies which reviewed the city's water system capacity. Studies were done by Engineering Science in 1985 and by Horrocks Engineering in 1995. These studies were updated in 2001 by Gilson Engineering. The studies indicated that constructing a new pressurized irrigation system was considerably less expensive in the long run, than was increasing the capacity of the existing culinary water system.
Why was the pressurized irrigation system constructed throughout the city now?
The system was constructed now for three main reasons.
- The existing water systems had reached capacity.
- Interest rates were at historic lows.
- Labor and material costs were low.
When did the city decide to have a pressurized irrigation system?
The city began construction of the pressurized irrigation system about seven years ago to serve the parks, schools and new subdivisions. The water system reached capacity as the city grew. During the past two years the major portion of the pressurized irrigation system has been constructed.
How did the city inform the citizens of the pressurized irrigation system?
Beginning on January 9, 2002, the city held eight public open houses at the following locations: Spanish Fork High School, Middle School, Canyon Elementary, and the Fairgrounds. Displays of the new system design were located in the city office building. Since 1995 to present, there were over thirty city council meetings during which various aspects of the pressurized irrigation system were discussed. Since January 2002, twelve different utility bills and newsletters contained information concerning the pressurized irrigation system. Information was also on the website at www.spanishfork.org. city staff met with civic clubs, church groups and senior center members. The citizens advisory board (Utility Board) meet several times before making a recommendation to the city council.
How was the city-wide pressurized irrigation system funded?
The city issued water revenue bonds for $16.2 million to fund the construction of the new system. The city will pay the bonds off over the next 15 years. The interest rate has an average yield of 4.74%. The bonds were issued April 4, 2002. The city also received a $5 million dollar grant from the Central Utah Water Conservancy District. The city used $700,000 of the grant funds to finish the construction of the system. The remaining $4.3 million dollars of the grant will be applied toward the outstanding $16.2 million dollar bond issue. When the city considered the pressurized irrigation and the culinary rate structures the $5 million dollar grant was used in the calculations. The pressurized irrigation base rate of $16 and usage charge of $1.24 per 1000 gallons has the $5 million dollar grant included in the calculations. If the city had not received the grant, the rates would have been higher.
Will impact fees be used to help pay the bond?
Yes. As new building permits are issued, $429 per permit is collected. These funds will be used to help pay the bond. What are the culinary water rates and the pressurized irrigation rates? Culinary Water: Last year the culinary water rate was $ .77 per 1,000 gallons plus a $10 base. The new rate is $1.29 per 1,000 gallons for 0 to 9,000 gallons, $1.75 per 1,000 gallons for 10,000 to 16,000 gallons and $3.50 per 1,000 gallons over 16,000 gallons plus a $10 base. This year the city did not charge the $3.50 rate for usage over 16,000 gallons. Pressurized Irrigation: The new rate is $16 base plus $1.24 per 1,000 gallons and $2.50 per 1,000 gallons for water used over the allocation. To encourage conservation, each lot in the city was allocated a set amount of gallons at the $1.24 price. This allocation varies based on the lot size and the month in the year. Larger lots are allocated more water at the $1.24 rate. During the hot months of June, July and August, water users are allocated more water at the $ 1.24 rate. The rate of $2.50 per 1,000 gallons is charged for the usage that exceed the allocation for the given month. This year the city did not charge the $2.50 rate for usage exceeding the allocation. The city mailed copies of the rate and allocation schedule with prior utility bills. If you need another copy of the rate and allocation schedule please contact the city office or it can be found on the city web page: spanishfork.org/dept/finance/utilities/rates.php.
Why do we pay a base rate of $16 year round and have no gallons included with the base rate?
The $16 base rate is the main revenue source for making the bond payment (which paid for construction of the new system) and equals an annual payment of $192 for each household. The $192 is collected in twelve monthly payments of $16 to create a lower monthly base rate for the citizens. Gallons are not included in the base rate for three main reasons:
- The base rate would have to increase to collect the same amount of funds needed to make the bond payment.
- If gallons were included in the base rate, and a user used less than the included gallons, that user would pay more per gallon than someone who used more of the included gallons.
- This rate structure ensures everyone pays for what they use.
Will the rates be reevaluated?
Yes. All utility rates are evaluated each year. The culinary water and pressurized irrigation rates are being reviewed this fall and again next spring to ensure the city is collecting adequate funds to cover bond requirements and operating costs. Why is pressurized irrigation water metered? Water is a valuable resource and the public should be accountable for its usage. Metering requires the user to pay for the gallons actually used. Having unlimited usage does not promote responsible use of a valuable resource. Those who want to conserve are not penalized by those who do not conserve. The user pays for what they use. Studies show when pressurized irrigation is metered, residents use 25% less water. Choosing to meter pressurized irrigation allows the city to decrease the size of the system and to save millions of dollars in construction, operation and water acquisition costs.
When will pressurized irrigation be turned on and off?
Depending on weather, the system will be turned on in mid-April and turned off in mid-October. When should we water our lawns? Typically most places will water between 6:00 PM and 10:00 AM. However, if you live in an area where the wind blows during those hours, then water during the time the wind is not blowing. More water is lost from the wind than from evaporation during the heat of the day.
Where can I get more information on water conservation?
The following web sites will give you more information on water conservation: