Peshastin Water Rates May Change Depending on Available Grant Funding
Over 238 customers within the Peshastin Water District (PWD) may be paying $38 more per month, or they may be paying $10 less, depending on whether Chelan PUD can find grant funding in time.
On Sep. 19 during their board meeting, Chelan PUD Water and Wastewater Manager Ron Slabaugh updated the board on recent progress within PWD.
Slabaugh shared that two of the consumptive rights totaled to 407 acre-ft. per year. He also shared that the PUD is unable to locate documentation that transferred ownership from Bluebird to PWD.
Slabaugh explained how PWD customers were paying $5 more than Chelan PUD customers for the same amount of water usage in a month.
Chelan PUD rates are set to cover operating expenses and existing debts from the PWD, who initially adopted a rate plan with 4% annual increases through 2031.
However, Chelan PUD does not wish to keep two separate rate systems and look to streamline the systems into one during the acquisition.
The PWD currently has three active wells, four reservoirs, two of which store 190,000 gallons each, a new tower that stores 275,000 gallons, and an additional reservoir located on Larson Rd that stores 30,000 gallons.
With the acquisition of PWD, Chelan PUD would also have to take on the $3.1 million price tag slated for PWD improvements.
Improvements would include:
- New well $1,825,000
- Distribution metering improvements $66,000
- Booster pump station replacement $478,000
- Reservoir safety improvements $356,000
- SCADA improvements $239,000
- Automatic meter reading system replacement $100,000
PWD has roughly $1.2 mil. in debt spread across three loans, which equates to $12/month per residential customer for a 20-year term.
Chelan PUD did not accept a $1 mil. grant from the Chamber of Commerce due to cost impacts and administrative requirements, that would result in a flush if accepted.
“Essentially, we'd be spending a million dollars to get a million dollars, so it really didn't make sense for us,” Chelan PUD Communications Specialist Rachel Hansen said. “We are still looking for other grant sources that make better sense.”
Hansen also said that the $38 increase in water rates is only the worst case scenario, in case Chelan PUD does not get grant funding in time to cover these required improvements.
Chelan PUD’s purchase of PWD should be finalized by 2023.