Kennewick Irrigation District staff plan to soon meet with residents of the Elliott Lake area of Kennewick to discuss options for continued delivery of domestic use water.
The KID board decided this week to have Chuck Freeman, district manager, set up a meeting with the 48 property owners. Freeman said the system needs repairs and upgrades, and that the current monthly rate of $60 may have to increase 16 percent, to $70.
Freeman said he also wants to update Elliott Lake customers about the possibilities of the potable water system being sold to a third party or the city of Kennewick. There is also the option of forming a Local Improvement District where the customers would have shared ownership responsibility for the water system.
KID hired a consultant last year to look at the agency's two potable water systems, the Lorayne J system with 118 customers and the Elliott Lake system.
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The consultant, Darryll Olsen, determined the value of the Elliott Lake water right as $87,000 to $175,000, Freeman noted in his written report to the board Tuesday.
The Elliott Lake system also has an emergency backup source provided through an intertie with Kennewick's water system. That connection has become the primary source for Elliott Lake customers because the other sources are drying up because of a declining aquifer and slow recharge of water into the existing system.
"We would need about half a million dollars for system upgrades," Freeman said. He noted it would be better for KID if someone else took over the system because potable water service is a minor part of the agency's customer base.
KID has about 22,000 customers, of which all but 48 at Elliott Lake and 118 in the Lorayne J area receive irrigation water.
"Only 166 customers receive drinkable potable water. This type and level of service pulls resources away from KID's main mission of providing irrigation water to our rate payers," Freeman wrote in his memo to the board.
A date for the Elliott Lake water users meeting has not been set.
Also Tuesday, the board approved a policy to allow all condominium and townhome associations to be sent to a single bill for irrigation water.
The policy, called a master billing policy, will be a convenience for owners of townhomes and condominiums, but they still will be assessed for irrigation water as individual customers, KID officials say.
KID will continue to have the right to enforce against individual customers who fail to pay their assessments through the homeowners' association.
-- John Trumbo: 582-1529; firstname.lastname@example.org