2013 Budget Focuses on Keeping Water Flowing

Posted Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Within Skagit PUD's distribution system, there are hundreds of miles of underground pipes, valves and pumps that help deliver water to homes and businesses every day. As your public utility, it is our obligation to adequately support and maintain this valuable, yet aging, infrastructure.

For 2013, Skagit PUD's Board of Commissioners approved a $1.25 per month capital improvement surcharge to help pay for improvements to the District's water distribution system. The commissioners opted not to increase water usage rates in 2013, instead choosing to draw down on the PUD's reserve account to help cover maintenance and operations costs.

"This budget is focused on holding tight on expenses while providing the best service to our customers and keeping rates as low as possible," Auditor Christine Blake said.

The surcharge, which appears on your bill this month, is based on the fact that Skagit PUD has over 600 miles of water pipelines within Skagit County to maintain. Our service area stretches from Fidalgo Island at the west end of the county to as far east as Marblemount. From north to south, the PUD’s service area starts in Alger/Lake Samish and extends south to Conway. We even manage a water system on Guemes Island.

Approximately 45 percent of our water mains are iron pipe, about 30 percent are plastic, and 25 percent are asbestos-cement. Most of the lines three-inch and under are plastic, and over 84 percent of the mains pre-date 1995.

The 2013 capital improvement surcharge enables the utility to continue providing safe and reliable water while maintaining and replacing its existing assets.

Maintaining our system through replacement and rehabilitation is critically important in order to preserve a good level of service, ensure adequate fire flows, minimize outages and maintain water quality. Deferring needed maintenance can result in expensive system repairs.

The $1.25 per month capital improvement surcharge will be applied to all bills produced January 1, 2013, and thereafter.