Between 2012 and today, the City of Auburn bought two blocks of water from the Cascade Water Alliance in Tacoma for about $15 million.
And until June 30 of this year, the City has an option to plunk down another $11 million to buy a third block of water from the CWA, which owns Lake Tapps.
On Monday, Lisa Tobin, utilities engineering manager for the City of Auburn, wanted to hear from City leaders whether they believe Auburn’s own water supplies are adequate to meet even peak needs, or whether the City should exercise the aforementioned option.
Given that the City expects to bring wells 2 and 6 back on line this year, given the recent expansion of its very productive Coal Creek supply and the right to double Coal Creek’s capacity and two future wells ready to come online?
And given that when the City of Auburn recently took on the City of Algona as a wholesale water supplier, it acquired the rights to its well and can therefore use that well and develop the rights from that?
Given all that, Tobin declared that the City already has more than enough to meet its needs.
“We feel we’ve got resources available to meet our demands to build out,” Tobin said. “We already have a Tacoma supply that supplies us with the redundancy necessary to back up any of our sources if we have to take them down for rehabilitation or maintenance. And we also have options to perfect our water rights and gain additional supply sources with the highest return on investment.”
“… Investing in Auburn’s supply we feel has a very good reliability because it’s diversified, and it has a lower risk because it’s not relying on snowpack, as the regional supply source does,” Tobin said. “With the expansion of Coal Creek, we see that we can get more water than is being offered by Cascade Water Alliance in Tacoma at a lower unit price, a lower opening cost, with good reliability and at a lower risk.”
Councilman Claude DaCorsi left no doubt where he stands.
“When you look at the cost-benefit evaluation, and the operating costs … it’s significantly lower on the Auburn side than it is in a purchasing action. … It makes all the sense to me that we invest in Auburn and not have to go out and procure beyond the City. We’re at that stage now where we’ve got the opportunity to build upon what we currently have and meet our average and maximum demand,” DaCorsi said.