The council will consider adopting the plan at a future meeting.
Five focus areas
The city’s last water master plan was created in 2011, HDR engineer Uri Shelby told the council last week, and “a lot of the projects that came out of that study have now been completed,” addressing “system hydraulics,” “fire flows” and “water quality,” for example – all in “only 10 years, which is pretty admirable.”
Now, Shelby said, “the city is in a good situation hydraulically,” but there still are “more issues” to be considered, “which we looked at in this study.”
The new water master plan identifies five “core focus areas,” Shelby said.
The “top priority” involves “issues with the existing system,” he said, including old pipes that are “not buried deep enough,” or pipes that are made of materials that aren’t “appropriate for the soils” they’re buried in.
The next “important factor” is ensuring “there’s enough water for users in Lander as the city expands,” Shelby said.
The water master plan was also created with fiscal responsibility in mind, he continued, and it offers “guidance” about future system expansion options.
“They pay for a lot of these projects with grants,” he said, explaining that “it’s in their best interest to create larger … systems (that) can be more financially feasible.”
The WWDC paid for the majority of Lander’s water master plan study, Shelby added, contributing about $200,000 compared to the city’s $1,000 application fee.
“(That’s) a pretty good deal,” he said.
Working with city staff, Shelby said HDR identified 48 water projects to be completed in Lander over the next 20 years.
The work will cost about $157 million, he said, estimating that the city will have to cover about $53 million of that total.
Shelby recommended that the local portion of the funding total should come from a “debt and cash blend” in order to keep rates lower for current users.
“Initially we wanted to look at just having cash-funded projects, and the rate increases to make that happen were astronomical,” Shelby explained. “You don’t want that financial burden to fall on users today when this infrastructure is going to be there for many, many decades. … We want (the) costs of these improvements to fall on all beneficiaries.”
For more information about the water master plan call the City of Lander at 332-2870.