Our Water . Our Community . Our Future
Lakewood Water District has always been committed to providing for all our customers water service that is safe, reliable, clean and in the most cost-efficient and responsible way possible. That means that we continually seek the best ways to invest in our system to continue that service well into the future for our community.
We call our overall capital investment program our R&R – Replacement and Rehabilitation program and we remain dedicated to ensuring that your water systems serves our customers well.
As part of the R&R program, Lakewood Water District (LWD) convened three listening sessions with the Citizen Advisory Group (CAG), a panel of representative District customers. We asked them to help us understand the best ways to share information on the R&R program, and to help us ensure that we are responsive to the needs of our ratepayers.
Here are a few of the questions they asked and a summary of the District’s response.
What is the need for R&R work?
LWD has 181 miles of aging pipe and water main that needs to be replaced in order to maintain a reliable, high level of service. Some of the pipe has been in the ground for decades or was constructed from materials that may soon fail. Some of the pipe has leaks. It has to be replaced to avoid leak-derived water loss, but most importantly, to ensure the dependable delivery of safe, clean water to individual families and business for years to come.
What is the solution (how do we meet the need)?
LWD is taking on a planned 50 year program to replace 181 miles of aging water main. Similar programs are already underway or being considered by other Pacific Northwest utilities. It is more efficient to replace these pipes than to risk the cost and possible damage from a major water line break.
When will it start and how long will it take?
Initial consideration of feasibility and alternatives for the systemwide R&R program started in 2012. Detailed planning for the best option began in late 2012. Progressive construction will begin in 2014 and continue over the course of 50 years to replace 181 miles of pipe and main.
How much will it cost?
LWD customers are billed bi-monthly—once every two months. For 75% of customers with a 5/8 inch pipe connection, the added charge will be about $6 per billing cycle – or $3 per month – around what you might pay for a latte or a bottle of water at the grocery store. The increased billing will begin with the March, 2014 billing.
What’s in it for me (how will it benefit me)?
We are fortunate in the Pacific Northwest to have an abundance of water in a favorable climate. This means our water is accessible and truly a community resource. And, because LWD takes water from a local aquifer, our water is still more affordable than other utilities in the region—even at an additional cost of the R&R program. The R&R program serves to ensure that we can continue to deliver reliable, safe, clean water for use and consumption.
Who came up with the solution/plan?
Customers have continued to voice an interest and need for safe, reliable, quality water. As a result, LWD staff evaluated several available options and the timing and costs associated with each. With the approval of your LWD Board of Commissioners and with input from the Community Advisory Committee (CAG) made up of representative customers, it was agreed that the 50-year R&R program met the needs of the community.
How does LWD’s rates compare to neighboring communities?
LWD’s water ranks among the most affordable community water service in the region and is projected to remain so.
A Few Questions/Answers About Lakewood Water District
Is this R&R program new for the District? Why now?
No, this is not new. The District has, for many years, undertaken an R&R program to ensure that our customers have reliable, safe, high quality water service. This new R&R program is your water District’s plan to ensure that this service can continue uninterrupted into the future. We are working proactively to identify all of the pipes that will need replacing, and plan for that work to be done so that we minimize water lost to leaks and maximize the level of service for all customers.
Where can I get more information?
The District will be holding public meeting to share more information on the R&R program. Additional information, including specific work plans, will be posted on the website as they are finalized. Also watch your District newsletter, “The Pipeline” for ongoing information. If you have additional questions that we have not answered here please contact Randall Black firstname.lastname@example.org or David Logan email@example.com at 253-588-4423.