Columbia unveils draft for new water resource plan
COLUMBIA – After months of deliberation and public input, Columbia Water and Light is set to reveal its draft for how to handle the city’s water supply in the future.
The goal of the plan is to create a more sustainable and cost-effective water supply through infrastructure improvements and conservation programs.
Each of these revolves around the main focus of expanding Columbia’s water treatment plant in an effort to improve the city’s water efficiency.
Connie Kacprowicz, Spokesperson for Columbia Water and Light, says the need for these changes comes more from a desire for future change than a problem with the current water supply.
“What this plan does is it looks at not only when we’ll need to expand the plant, but also the conservation side because with conservation maybe we could make our current plants last longer,” Kacprowicz said.
The draft is the result of many public meetings, consultant meetings and discussions with city officials. Some of the ideas that have been included in the draft include switching to an alternate day irrigation schedule or finding places where treating the drinking water is not necessary.
With so many different possibilities compiled into one long document, the city wants to meet with the public to discuss the ideas and get input.
“We want to make sure we’ve got all our ducks in a row. Find out what the public wants, what the community is willing to pay for,” Kacprowicz added.
Payment is one of the main keys with this new plan. The city views this unveiling as a valuable chance to discuss possible payment methods with the public and see how much residents value different parts of the plan.
Kacprowicz says the city has previously used voter approved bond issues for large scale infrastructure improvements like this because the city has found it is the cheapest as far as interest rates go and has the lowest impact on customers.
“Whenever we’re looking at any kind of infrastructure expansion it can be expensive, especially when you’re talking about expanding the water treatment plant. We want to make sure we’re checking into everything, getting feedback from the public, and if we do we’ll probably use a voter approved bond issue,” Kacprowicz said.
The unveiling will take place at the Activity and Recreation Center in Columbia from 5:30-7:00. Residents will get feedback forms and have an opportunity to talk with the draft contributors. There will also be a presentation by consultants to explain the draft to residents.