By Peter Chawaga, Associate Editor, Water Online
Water and wastewater utilities around the country face seemingly insurmountable infrastructure problems, from dilapidated pipelines to out-of-date facilities.
But El Paso Water, one of the largest water and wastewater service providers in Texas, has recently received a significant boost to solve those problems, possibly offering an example for other utilities in need around the country.
“El Paso Water was given the green light to issue up to $152 million in improvement and refunding revenue bonds for infrastructure, maintenance and new projects,” reported the El Paso Times. “The City Council on Tuesday approved the parameters under which the utility can issue the bonds.”
The utility received $95 million from a water and sewer improvement and refunding bonds series. It also secured $56 million for revenue improvement for the drainage utility system and refunding bond series.
According to John Balliew, president and CEO of El Paso Water Utilities, the bonds will be used to help with a variety of needs in the area.
“In some years we have had one project that dominated the bonds,” he said, per the El Paso Times. “In this case there’s a bunch of projects, a lot of different projects in all areas of the city which we need for normal rehabilitation of old facilities and new facilities for growth.”
The bonds are expected to hit consumers’ wallets. This drawback seems to be the key that has allowed El Paso to target its infrastructure needs.
“It will have some impact on the rates,” Balliew said, per KFOX14.
“The utility president says it’s still too early to know how much this [will] raise rates,” the KFOX14 report continued. “It still has to get the bonds and sign off on them during its budget cycle. It will finalize its budget in January.”
Image credit: "El Paso Tx,” Jason Carpenter © 2013, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/