Water system upgrades
EWEB maintains 800 miles of pipes, 26 enclosed reservoirs and other facilities that deliver
water to customers' taps. Much of this infrastructure is in serious need of major
reinvestments to ensure that customers continue to get reliable, high-quality water.
To address a backlog of repairs, maintenance and improvements, EWEB has increased its efforts
to rebuild or replace aging infrastructure, parts of which date back to the early days of the utility's
founding in 1911.
EWEB is not alone in its need to address an aging water system. The U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency estimates that cities and public water districts need nearly $300
billion in upgrades.
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Each year, EWEB commissioners approved a new rolling Water Capital Improvement Plan
that outlines improvements and replacements required in the water system for the next
10 years. The current plan calls for reinvesting
nearly $200 million over the next decade to improve, repair and maintain the water system. The most recent
Water Capital Improvement Plan was approved
in September 2011.
These investments come at a price, as water system improvements are largely funded
through rates and by development fees that are charged for new water hookups.
Currently, EWEB customers pay among the lowest water
rates among 11 comparable cities in
western Oregon and Washington.
EWEB water also is extremely cheap when compared to bottled water. A gallon of EWEB
water is less than two tenths of a penny (0.13 cents); a gallon of bottled water
costs $3 to $6, depending on the brand.