Water Rates to increase in 2013

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By Mila Besich-Lira

At the Kearny Town Council meeting last week the Mayor and Council reviewed and approved a resolution to add a $6.25 surcharge increase to water bills of all customers. This increase will allow the town to maintain and deliver Central Arizona Project (CAP) water each year if needed.

The cost to maintain the 350 acre feet of water is $5250 should the town needs to have the water delivered there will be an additional fee of $53,000 to $65,000 per year. The surcharge added to the customers’ bill will provide the revenue necessary to purchase the water as needed.

Customers will see the increase in their Jan. bills, all customers including those who shut off their water for a period of time will be assessed the monthly surcharge.

Water users in Kearny have always received water from the Globe Equity Water Decree that is allocated to users based on the availability of water in the San Carlos Lake on the Gila River.

The Town of Kearny needs 350-acre feet of water each year and this year the town was only allocated 70-acre feet from the Globe Equity Water Decree. Severe drought conditions have created many challenges for the town over the years and a Federal judge has ordered the town has to find a permanent solution for their water needs.

With the need to find a permanent water solution, the town and ASARCO began discussing several options. ASARCO offered to convey to the Town of Kearny 350-acre feet of their CAP allocation.

ASARCO also waived the maintenance fee that is valued at $255,000. That amount is what it has cost ASARCO to maintain the 350 acre feet allocation over the years. ASARCO has also agreed to cover the Town’s water needs through December 2013, which will allow the town to gather enough financial resources to maintain and purchase the CAP water for 2014 as needed.

The CAP water will not physically enter the town wells. This agreement allows for the Town to purchase CAP water that can be allocated to users downstream near the CAP water canals and will allow for more Globe Equity water to be allocated to the town of Kearny rather than going downstream to other users.

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