Utilities Share Third and Final Draft of 28E Agreement That Establishes Central Iowa Water Works, a Regional Drinking Water System9/19/2023
DES MOINES – Central Iowa’s three board-governed utilities have distributed a final draft of the working agreement to establish Central Iowa Water Works (CIWW), a regional drinking water system.
Des Moines Water Works (DMWW), the Urbandale Water Utility (UWU) and West Des Moines Water Works (WDMWW) have shared the third draft of the 28E/F agreement to the 13 potential founding members, which includes community water departments, independent water works and rural water utilities.
“In establishing CIWW, metro water utilities will move forward collaboratively to face the water quality and quantity challenges that we must manage as our region continues to grow,” said Ted Corrigan, CEO and general manager of Des Moines Water Works. “The formation of CIWW allows for effective planning and management of our water resources, which will help ensure our shared water system provides safe, sufficient and affordable water today and into the future.”
Communities in central Iowa have a long history of working together on the management of water resources. In fact, a cooperative approach to providing water supply to the metro traces its roots back nine decades. DMWW has proactively worked with its suburban partners since its first regional agreement with Urbandale in 1934 when the community contracted with DMWW to supply its water.
After the 1993 flood, suburban partners contributed $100 million to build additional water treatment plants and facilities that are operated by DMWW. Today, these suburban partners use more than 50 percent of the water produced by the regional system.
Discussions about developing a regional drinking water authority have been ongoing in the metro for more than a decade, becoming more serious and productive among the three board- governed water utilities in 2020.
“Water is an essential and finite resource that every community in the metro needs to grow and thrive,” added Christina Murphy, general manager of WDMWW. “As we look to the future, we are facing many of the same challenges, and we have a fiduciary obligation to our customers to ensure ample water today and tomorrow. Collaborating on CIWW gives us more tools and opportunities for the future.”
CIWW would not replace or eliminate the water boards or water departments within each community, according to the proposed agreement. Each community would supply water it purchases from CIWW to its individual customers, set its own water rates, operate and maintain its local distribution system (mains and water towers), and provide all of its own customer service.
The governing agency of Central Iowa Water Works will work together to manage the growth of the water system. Each founding member will have a seat on the CIWW governing board.
“We are all getting our water from the same rivers and aquifers, and we are all trying to grow and add to the quality of life of our communities,” said Dale Acheson, general manager of the UWU. “The more we can work together to avoid costly duplication in water source development and treatment plant expansions, the better we can focus on growth and resiliency for individual communities as well as the entire region.”
The potential founding members that have expressed interest in considering the formation of a regional drinking water system are Ankeny, Bondurant, Clive, DMWW, Grimes, Johnston, Polk City, Urbandale, Warren Water District, WDMWW, Waukee and Xenia Rural Water District.
These potential partners will review the final agreement and begin taking steps to confirm their respective support and participation in the founding of CIWW over the next month with the goal being to approve the 28E/F agreement by the end of 2023 or early 2024.
DMWW and WDMWW are hosting public meetings on Thursday, Sept. 28, to provide information about the final agreement, hear comments and answer questions. Additional opportunities for public comment will be announced by the individual entities.
Des Moines Water Works’ public meeting is from 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 28 at the South Side Library, 1111 Porter Ave., in Des Moines.
West Des Moines Water Works’ meeting is from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the main level of the Valley Junction Activity Center, 217 Fifth St., in West Des Moines.