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Water Authority approves $3B projects plan, users will pay more

Updated November 19, 2020 - 6:39 pm

Southern Nevada Water Authority board members unanimously adopted a projects plan Thursday worth more than $3 billion that will result in higher bills for users.

Even though the board approved the plan, individual projects will need to come back later for approval.

The increased rates for water users will start in 2022 with a six-year phase-in approach. After six years, rates will be tied to inflation. Projects will also be funded by loans.

Those who own a typical single family home in the Las Vegas Valley can expect to pay about $10 more per month in 2027 than they do in 2020.

The projects package includes a plan to build a pipeline that will carry water to and from Apex Industrial Park, which the city of North Las Vegas has long considered a key to economic vitality.

“This is probably the single biggest economic driver that will ever change the direction of North Las Vegas,” Mayor John Lee, a board member, said during the meeting.

Two projects for the industrial park total about $250 million. The water system portion of the project, worth nearly $130 million, will include 18 miles of pipeline, a four million gallon reservoir and three pumping stations. It is expected to be complete by 2028.

Another portion of the project, worth $120 million, will carry wastewater from the industrial park through more than 40 miles of pipeline to be treated before being sent back to Lake Mead. The wastewater portion of the project is expected to be complete by 2027.

“While the overall plan helps ensure Southern Nevada’s current and future water users continue to receive reliable, quality water for decades to come, many of the projects within the plan will help stimulate the local economy and support our community’s economic diversification efforts,” water authority spokesman Bronson Mack said in a statement.

Nearly $1.6 billion will go toward a new pipeline in the southern portion of the Las Vegas Valley. The project is expected to have about 24 miles of pipeline, two pumping stations and enough space to store 40 million gallons of water.

Another nearly $215 million of the total projects package is being allocated to maintaining and upgrading the water authority’s system.

An advisory committee approved the package of projects back in March, but the coronavirus outbreak pushed back adoption of the plan for months.

Rate increases were originally planned to begin in 2021, but officials delayed the phase-in period by one year. Developers will also pay more to connect to the water system.

Contact Blake Apgar at bapgar@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5298. Follow @blakeapgar on Twitter.

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