The Pasco City Council squashed a proposal to connect its water system to Kennewick's as a backup water source.
The council approved a five-year comprehensive water system plan in February that included a $2.8 million project to pipe water across the cable bridge.
The council indicated Monday that it would prefer to remove the intertie project from the plan for now.
An intertie could help address a water outage that takes days or weeks to repair, said City Manager Gary Crutchfield.
The city has about 12 million gallons of water in reserve, which would last about two days during winter, when demand is lower, Crutchfield said.
An intertie would be like an insurance policy for the city in case of a water outage, Crutchfield said.
"Not all insurance policies are worth the money," he said.
Councilman Al Yenney said considering how much water the city of Kennewick likely would be able to provide, an intertie doesn't make sense.
Kennewick's total water supply is about 30 million gallons per day, while Pasco's is 31 million gallons per day.
Mayor Matt Watkins said, "The price for it is too high."
Staff had said the cost would be shared with Kennewick, which then could access Pasco's water in an emergency, but Crutchfield said exactly how the cost would be shared would require negotiations.
Watkins said the city should keep the intertie on the long-term list for thecouncil to take another look at in the future.
In the meantime, Yenney said he would like to know what the city's contingency plan is if there is a water supply problem.
Councilman Tom Larsen had suggested last month that the city should use a temporary 16-inch fire hose to pipe water across the bridge from Kennewick.
However, Crutchfield said that isn't a practical or legal option.
City staff discovered the state Department of Health would not approve such a measure under any circumstance.
There were numerous other issues, including that the largest fire hose available on the market is about 5 inches in diameter, that it would take several days and shutting down a traffic lane to set up the hose and that the system would likely only work for about 24 hours, according to city documents.
-- The city council will consider lowering the sewer rate and increasing the storm water utility rate after a recent state audit.
Auditors told the city that it couldn't use the sewer fund to pay for storm water fund expenses, Crutchfield said. Without support from the sewer fund, the storm water fund has an annual deficit of about $250,000.
Crutchfield suggested the council consider raising the storm water rate by $1.20 to $3 per month for a household and decreasing the sewer rate by $1.20 per month.
The city will complete a rate analysis for its utilities in August, he said.
-- Kristi Pihl: 582-1512; firstname.lastname@example.org