Water utilities study additional collaboration

Posted on Apr 25, 2019 :: Insight on Business, Web Exclusive.
Posted by of Insight Publications

The Green Bay Water Utility and Central Brown County Water Authority are conducting a study to identify areas of potential collaboration and cost savings.

The Sustainable Partnership Linking Area Services and H2O or, SPLASH Study, will evaluate mutually beneficial opportunities and alternatives to take advantage of economies of scale, information sharing, improved services and shared use of staff, equipment and other resources.

“We’ve realized the benefits of previous collaborative efforts among the utilities, and we see great value in exploring additional opportunities to share resources and work together,” said Authority Manager Nic Sparacio.

In 2018, Central Brown County Water Authority and its member communities as well as the Green Bay Water Utility and its wholesale customer communities joined forces to launch the study. The local water utilities involved include the cities of De Pere and Green Bay; the villages of Allouez, Ashwaubenon, Bellevue and Howard; and the towns of Lawrence, Ledgeview and Scott. The Central Brown County Water Authority and Green Bay Water Utility jointly engaged Raftelis, an experienced utility and public sector consulting firm, to assist with the process.

“The consultants are performing a focused examination of each entity’s operations and maintenance activities to identify areas of opportunity,” said Green Bay Water Utility General Manager Nancy Quirk. “Ultimately, our goal is to create sustainable solutions that best serve our water customers.”

Initial findings have identified several areas where partnering could be mutually beneficial, including leak detection; cross-connection inspections, on-call staffing and joint staff training. A full report detailing top-priority areas of potential collaboration will be created upon completion of the study.

The next step is to evaluate the practical feasibility and potential cost savings around each of the top-priority collaboration areas. Ideas worthy of implementation must preserve water quality and reduce or avoid costs over the long term.