Water district managers address East Wenatchee rate hike

2649

EAST WENATCHEE- There may be some sticker shock for East Wenatchee water customers when they get their bi-monthly bill. Rate increases over the next several years will help pay for upgrades to the District’s aging system.

Water district managers Jeff Johnston and Vince Johnston spoke with us following their board of commissioners’ meeting yesterday.

“The system is failing,” Vince Johnston said. “We have what’s called steel pipe and at the time East Wenatchee was being developed it was a cheaper option than some of the other materials that were used.”

The life expectancy on the material was 50 years, Vince Johnston said. The system was put in during the 50s, 60s and 70s, placing the material near the end of its expectancy.

“We’re experiencing a high number of leaks and we spend a lot of time on replacement and the goal is to guarantee the best water that we can at the most affordable price and that’s what we’re trying to accomplish,” he added.

Jeff Johnston said the rate increases over the next five years will not replace all the pipe in the district.

“It’s just going to help fund the replacement,” Jeff Johnston said.

Rates for the district increase 12-percent in 2018, another 12-percent in 2019, 11-percent in 2020 and an additional 11-percent in 2021.

“Unfortunately, unless we can get something implemented and sustained, the outcome would be worse if we don’t do something right now,” Vince Johnston said.