Water Consolidation 2019

Water Consolidation 2019
Posted on 05/20/2019

On May 16, 2019 the Board of County Commissioners directed staff to bring forward a water utility rate resolution pursuant to NRS 318.199 that incorporates Option 3 as presented from FCS Group's recommendations for the Douglas County Water Utility rate structure. Option 3 moderates bill increases for very low users and saves the most for the average customer on a yearly basis. The Douglas County Board of Commissioners proposes to change the water rates and fees for all Douglas County water customers and will hold public hearings to review a proposed water utility rate resolution for the Douglas County Water Utility Fund on June 20, 2019 during their Lake meeting at Stateline and July 1, 2019 at their valley meeting in Minden.

The new proposed rate structure, recommended by County Staff and the County’s water rate consultant, FCS Group, will ensure that all operational and maintenance needs are met and that all of the "most critical" and "critical" capital improvement projects throughout the water systems are funded. Based on public feedback, the proposed water rate structure will result in a reduction in the yearly average water utility bill, a leveling of seasonal average water bills, and will provide incentives for water conservation in compliance with NRS 540.141. Heavy water users (in excess of 30,000 gallons per month) will see an increase in their average monthly water bill.

Background: Douglas County water utilities selected FCS Group to provide Douglas County an updated water rates and charges analysis for the consolidated Carson Valley Water Utility (Fund 328) including the infrastructure, financial resources and indebtedness of the Carson Valley and Lake Tahoe water systems. FCS Group has previously provided analyses related to the consolidation of the County's water systems, including a 2013 analysis of the Lake Tahoe systems of the Cave Rock/Uppaway, Skyland, and Zephyr Cove water systems as well as an older study from 2010 that first evaluated the possibility of consolidating the then eight (8) separate water systems in the County.The approved scope of work requested an analysis by FCS Group of the consolidation of the Carson Valley enterprise fund with the three Lake Tahoe Water Utility enterprise funds.

The Board of County Commissioners heard the first presentation regarding the preliminary findings and recommendations from the analysis on February 7, 2019. During this workshop, several options for establishing a uniform water rate schedule for all County-operated water utilities, including all operations and capital needs, were presented. On March 21, 2019, a second water workshop was held at Lake Tahoe where additional public input was solicited. The information gathered at these two workshops was utilized by County Staff and the County’s water rate consultant, FCS Group, to formulate the revised water rate structure options that were presented to the Board on May 16, 2019.

For questions contact:
Douglas County Public Works Director Phil Ritger at 775-783-6480,
Douglas County Manager’s Office at 775-782-9821