A high-level understanding of your municipal utility systems is critical to allowing utility managers to understand how their systems will be impacted by changes in significant users. The demands upon a water system and its corresponding water rates can be negatively impacted by a significant water user, like a brewery, closing down its business. In this case, capital costs were invested to expand the system with the anticipation of additional water revenues coming in to pay for the debt that may have been secured to construct new improvements for the heavy water user. Likewise, a new large water user locating within the utility's service area can be a large advantage to bringing in more revenue to the utility.
Utility system master plans are critical for utility managers as they allow for a comprehensive, bird's-eye understanding of how the system functions including capacity, service area, and strong/weak points. Typically, an advanced computer model is utilized to represent the utility system components. Engineering foresight is used to model the impacts of a variety of potential scenarios that the utility could experience, such as a loss or gain of a significant water user. An accurate model allows for scenario planning to quickly be analyzed for an understanding of how a significant change can impact the utility system and ultimately the utility's finances and rates.
Stay tuned to learn how an area utility was prepared to understand how changes in its key utility customers would impact the utility.
For more information on master planning for your utility contact an expert at R/M today.
About the Author
Ryan T. Amtmann, P.E.
Ryan joined the Ruekert & Mielke, Inc. (R/M) team in 2007. He has worked as a Project Manager and Project Engineer on municipal projects, including wastewater collection and conveyance system design, storm water management and facility design, water main design, site development, development review and general municipal consultation and planning. Ryan currently serves as Village Engineer for the Villages of Hartland and Bonduel, Wisconsin.