Article | November 25, 2013

Aging Water Infrastructures Cause Citizens To Conserve


Aging water infrastructures can lead to issues with water quality consistency, supply availability and can cause citizens to conserve while updated systems are being implemented. 

Citizens in Rifle, Colo., were called upon to conserve water late Nov. 19 after a crucial part of the city's outdated and aging water infrastructure was deemed out of commission, according to Matt Sturgeon, Rifle city manager. 

Sturgeon said after the failure of a main component to the city's water treatment plant, the amount of water the plant treated would have to be reduced while structures were being repaired.

As cities age, so do their water systems. Oftentimes municipalities find that inconsistency in water bills, financial losses from undetected leaks in faulty pipes and backlash from extreme weather are motivation to reevaluate and upgrade water technologies. 

Although Sturgeon said water retention tanks have been reassured by the treatment plant supervisor to remain full, the city is still requesting citizens help ease the processes by conserving. 

Officials from the city have said in the past the Graham Mesa treatment plan is old and in need of restoration and technological updates. In addition, concerns have been raised in regards to the ability of the aging plant to serve the projected population growth in upcoming years, making it even more difficult for the plant to meet the increasingly strict federal water quality guidelines. 

Voters in the city approved a sales tax increase of three-fourths of a cent in an effort to raise funds for the repayment of a $25.5 million low-interest loan from the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority. The money from the organization went toward a fund for the construction of a new plant that is scheduled to begin by the year's end. 

Until then, the city has instituted a partial shutdown of the current treatment plant while officials work to implement temporary solutions, according to the Rifle Police Department.