Water regionalization meeting 

Published 10:47 pm Monday, September 16, 2019

Polk, ICWD and Broad River to meet Sept. 24

MILL SPRING—Polk County Commissioners will be holding a work session later this month to meet with the Inman Campobello Water District, Broad River Water Authority and Arcadis, a company who did a study a couple of years ago. 

The work session will be held at the Polk County Middle School media center in Mill Spring at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 24. 

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The Polk County Board of Commissioners met Monday and set the work session. County Manager Marche Pittman said the three entities will attend, along with John Kersten with Arcadis, the consultant that was hired almost two years ago to make recommendations. Kersten will be making a presentation on the study. 

The study on the water systems was done in 2017

Arcadias completed the water system regionalization study analysis for ICWD, BRWA and Polk County with the purpose being to provide the entities with the potential frameworks for regionalization, as well as evaluating the financial feasibility of the regionalization options. 

The most resource/risk sharing and potential benefits option is for the entities to create a regional water authority, according to the study. The next most resource/risk sharing option is to create a regional wholesale water supply and treatment authority; the next is expanded participation and the last is for inter-governmental participation. The last three options include the entities retaining local control of their water systems. 

With a regional water authority, the authority would possess all water assets and operations. The wholesale authority would possess the water supply, treatment and transmission assets with the entities maintaining individual autonomy. The expanded participation option would mean increased joint participation through one-to-one transactions and agreements. The intergovernmental participation option would mean cooperation through contractual agreements to share resources. 

Polk County, ICWD and BRWA already cooperate to supply the area with public water. BRWA and ICWD ran a main water line through Green Creek to connect their systems, with Polk County owning the water line and able to extend lines off the main line. Polk County owns Lake Adger, which is a potential water reservoir. Polk County currently contracts with ICWD to run the county’s water system to supply water to Polk customers. 

The analysis concluded that both a regional and wholesale authority will result in savings to all of the entities. 

“The regional water authority, which provides the most amount of consolidation, provides the greatest savings; however, there are forecasted savings for each entity under both options,” states the draft analysis. 

Arcadias concluded that several factors influenced their evaluation, including the value of Lake Adger raw water and the associated reservoir improvements, the value of ICWD and BRWA water treatment and transmission assets and the operating efficiencies achieved through consolidation. 

Lake Adger was appraised a couple of years ago and said to be worth $5,150,000.