Monday, December 1, 2008

Water Demand Drops -- May Affect Rates, DWSD Construction Plans

The Detroit Free Press reported on November 30, 2008 that a drop in the demand for water among City and Suburban users may contribute to an increase and water and sewer rates by DWSD:

"Detroit officials are expected to raise water rates 6% to 10% and sewer rates by as much as 13% to 17% next month, according to some suburban leaders who have met with the department.

"The revenue dip was enough to prompt U.S. District Judge John Feikens to schedule a hearing for Tuesday [December 2, 2008] to hear how the water department and others in the region plan to deal with it.
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"Feikens, who has ordered hundreds of millions of dollars in improvements to the sewerage side of the system to bring it into compliance with the Clean Water Act, said revenue is needed to fund those projects.
"If a revenue stream is affected by a certain percentage, there are rules in the Clean Water Act that say some projects may not be economically possible," Feikens said.

"It isn't yet clear whether the revenue picture is bad enough to consider such delays, Feikens said."

Comment: This article, and Judge Fekeins' comments, appear to be a reference to several ambitious, and expensive, water transmission projects announced earlier this year by DWSD, the North Oakland Transmission and Flint Loop projects, bids for which have already been delayed once, and could be delayed into 2009.

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