Southwest Residents One Drop Closer To Aqua-City Water Transition

By Rachel Martin - 21Alive

April 16, 2014 Updated Apr 16, 2014 at 11:19 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) – Southwest Allen County residents are one drop closer to making the switch from Aqua Indiana water to Fort Wayne City water.

Last summer, Aqua Indiana President Tom Bruns signed a letter of intent and sold the water utility to Fort Wayne City Utilities for $50 million.

Now the plan to transition is underway.

Officials with City Utilities held a public meeting at Summit Middle School Wednesday night.

Utilities officials say by taking over Aqua's water, residents in that service area will not only have better water quality, but lower water rates as well.

When it comes to making the transition, City Utilities will tackle it in three phases.

Phase I will occur in the area on the city’s southwest side that is already connected to city service during the drought of 2012. The area consists of 2,000 – 2,200 households and the transition will begin in October or November 2014.

Phase II will cover approximately 3,000 more customers and happen in December 2014 – January 2015.

Phase III will cover the remaining area, but the transition will be delayed to Summer 2015. Utilities officials say pipes connecting Aqua to the City will need to be installed, where in the other areas connections already exist.

However, when it comes to customers’ water bills, City Utilities Director Kumar Menon says unlike Aqua, which charges families for a base of 4,000 gallons a month, the City has no minimum usage fee. Therefore, customers will only be charged for what they use.

"The average, typical family will save anywhere from $100 - $140 a year on their bills alone,” said Menon. “But that does not take into account all the other savings that we think are out there, which is you don't have to use a water softener anymore. The cost of doing that is about $10 - $20 a month."

Menon says the average city household uses 5,000 gallons of water a month, costing $21.59 per month. He says for customers outside the city limits, there will be a bit of a surcharge, but Menon estimates those monthly bills will be approximately $24.50 per month.

The acquisition of Aqua Indiana to City Utilities is not final, though. Menon says City Utilities still needs final approval from Fort Wayne City Council, as well as the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), which should both occur in May.

Menon says as soon as that happens, customers should see changes to their water service immediately.

For more detailed information on the transition, visit www.cityoffortwayne.org/aquatransition

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