Conservation cutting into water revenue
Federal agencies are required to reduce water consumption by 2 percent annually, according to FCI spokesperson Paul Thompson.
“To meet this mandate, FCI Sheridan enacted water-saving initiatives, including installation of low-flow and water-restricting devices for the showers and faucets, as well as new fixtures limiting the frequency of toilet flushes,” he said.
Sheridan said he’s pleased to see FCI taking a pro-active approach to conservation.
“I’m not blaming FCI for our situation,” he said. “Prisoners should not be wasting water.”
FCI accounted for about half of all city water revenue until around 2003-04, Sheridan said in a report to the council. He said that percentage rose for a while, then began to fall again. Current usage suggests FCI will only account for 45 percent of total revenue this fiscal year.
Usage by other customers has fallen 5 percent in the last seven years, while FCI’s has fallen 28 percent, Sheridan said.
Total revenue ran $1.73 million in 2005-06, but only stood at $858,000 at the end of the first seven months this fiscal year, he said.
“That’s a drastic drop, and we raised rates,” Sheridan said. An increase of 5.49 percent was implement this year, on top of a smaller increase implemented in 2011, he said.
Sheridan said, “We have done everything we can do to tighten the belt the last two years. We’re squeezing as much as we can from what we’re spending. We will continue those efforts.”
But he said higher rates in future years is a necessity, because the city cannot meet its maintenance and operation needs otherwise. He said 100 cubic feet of water costs $2.77 in 2001, costs $5.96 this year and is now being projected at $6.52 in 2115.