Processing Magazine

Iowa utilities consider merger to cut costs

March 28, 2014

<photocredit>Nian Liu/iStockphoto/Thinkstock</photocredit>

A group of water utilities from Iowa are examining the potential effect a partnership may have on costs and service quality, according to the Des Moines Register.

The group consists of 21 cities and public water suppliers in central Iowa that are looking into ways to optimize their water treatment operations. A study will evaluate whether a merger would help to meet future water demand and if their collaboration would be cost-effective. The research itself will cost about $250,000, the newspaper said.

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According to E.J. Giovannetti, member of the Central Iowa Regional Drinking Water Commission, who is leading the study and is a former Urbandale mayor, the aim is to keep water bills "reasonable." The research will focus on whether there would be enough water to meet the combined needs of all customers and if it could be produced at a low cost, he explained.

A potential partnership could bring other benefits, Iowa officials commented. Money could be saved from spreading engineering costs and overhead costs over a much higher number of consumers, while long-term planning for building new treatment plants could be made more efficient. In addition, water shortages could be addressed more successfully. The research will also look at additional questions, such as what would happen to utilities' infrastructure and individual cash reserves in the event of a merger, the Des Moines Register reported.