Why is $8 million needed per year for Capital Improvements?

The City maintains a significant number of facilities necessary to deliver water to your home or business.  Much of the system has been in service for 50-70 years or more.  The system is valued at $941 million today.  The City is finalizing a 30-year capital improvement plan to prioritize system improvements and replacements needed to maintain a high level of service and avoid the disruptions and large costs associated with failing infrastructure.  The plan has already identified $100 million in improvements needed including upgrades to the Lake Hennessey Treatment Plant that has served its useful life.  The system is old and complex.  It is not responsible to continue to invest at the current level recognizing that the cost of constructing improvements costs more today than it did in 2017.  The proposed rates include a phased increase from $6 million per year to $8 million in annual investments by the end of the study period in 2028.  Some planned investments in the near term include: 

  • $1.2M Laurel Ave 12-in main replacement  
  • $1.5M Browns Valley Rd 12-in main replacement  
  • $10M Hennessey Spillway modifications (WRDA funding will be pursued)  
  • $80M Hennessey Treatment Plant Upgrades  
  • $4M per mile of 36-in transmission main replacement (16 miles are subject to catastrophic failures)  

As shown in the graph below, there are significant capital improvement needs for the water system and the increased contribution is necessary to pay for these improvements. 

Water Capital Improvements by Type

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1. Why do water rates need to be raised?
2. What would happen if we didn't raise the rates?
3. Why is a service charge included on my bill?
4. Why don't multi-family, commercial, and irrigation customers have tiered rates like single-family residential?
5. Why does the City bill for water every two months instead of monthly like most of my other bills?
6. Why is $8 million needed per year for Capital Improvements?
7. Why doesn't new development pay for capital improvements?
8. What are the major costs to operate the water system?
9. Does a water customer in Napa pay more or less than similar customers in neighboring communities?
10. You asked me to use less water in 2022 so why are my rates going up?