New $36 million water plant: a citizen speaks out

I wasn’t able to the attend the Water Master Plan Presentation last night so I wanted to speak to it tonight. Shaun Moran’s statement to the Ashland City Council.

Public Works has requested and council approved replacing the existing 7.5mg water plant with a new 7.5mg $40ml dollar water plant based on 2012 growth forecasts showing future increases in water demand in Ashland.  With tourism and population growth driving water demand Public Works wanted a plant capably of producing 10million gallons a day.

That said, data presented in the updated 2019 WMP last night showed the maximum daily demand projections for water in Ashland, dropping significantly from that anticipated in the 2012 plan. Daily consumption per individual in 2012 was estimated to be 144 gallons per day, but now driven by a reduction in water use and conservation practiced by Ashland residents and business, consumption wil fall to 125 gallons per individual per day. 

The water usage date in the chart, as outlined on page 2 of the report last night, shows with conservation efforts in place NO substantive increase vs present levels in water demand expected out to 2040.  So how can a new $40 ml dollar plant be justified with these new facts? 

Many of the concerns about a natural disaster would apply to any new plant as well. I have heard that the city looking to spend upwards of $5ml dollars to reinforce Hosler Dam? 

In light of this new data I ask that Council carefully review what it would cost to make our present 7.5mgd water plant usable and managable for the next 20-30 years. Despite Public Works strong demands that we need a new plant I havent seen any cost analysis presented to the city council or BC that compare the cost of a new plant to the cost of repairing what we have now. To supplement any water demand, I ask that council review what could be achieved through re-engaging the TAP Waterline – where citizens to date have already invested  at least $13ml – for access to drinkable water into our city. 

Furthermore the 2019 WMP update suggested the city continue to raise water rates – between 4%- 4.5% a year for the next 10 years.  Water rates in our town have risen 150% in the last 10 yrs and further dramatic increases would make livability in Ashland a threat for many of our citizens; not to mention for some making their yearly water bill more onerous than their property tax bill. 

Why time and time again do we need to have everything new in our small town. New city cars and trucks everywhere, a new water plant, a new City Hall, new pipping for the Ashland Canal. Citizens certainly aren’t demanding everything be new – It’s not sustainable and they want you to make it stop. 

What they do want is new thinking and new ideas. It’s time to be more creative in how we look to solve these problems so important to Ashlands future.

Thank you…