Water system investments improving resiliency while maintaining affordability for customers
Austin Water is undergoing a major overhaul of its water and wastewater infrastructure, thanks to continued low interest rate funding from the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB). Earlier today, Austin Water closed on a second installment of multi-year loan funding for a combined $19.8 million in TWDB funding through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and the Clean Water State Revolving Fund.
With interest rates secured at historic lows, Austin Water is utilizing this funding to make much needed infrastructure improvements while saving taxpayers millions in financing costs. This newest wave of loans lock in interest rates as low as 0.15%.
“We are investing in efficient technology and robust infrastructure at a fraction of the cost to the utility and our customers,” said Christina Romero, Austin Water Division Manager, Financial Services. “The strategic investments of today will deliver tremendous cost savings and dependable high-quality water and wastewater service for years to come.”
By the Numbers
0.15% Interest Rate Loan - Clean Water State Revolving Fund – Austin Water’s 30 year-loan for $10.4 million, issued as low-interest bonds through the TWDB, will save the utility an estimated $3.6 million in present day dollars relative to traditional 30-year revenue bond financing in the municipal capital markets. Funding will go towards improving the pumping system at Walnut Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant as well as the rehabilitation of the plant’s sludge thickener. A portion of the funding will go towards replacement of the electric substation at the South Austin Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant.
0.18% Interest Rate Loan - Drinking Water State Revolving Fund – Austin Water’s 30 year-loan for $9.4 million, issued as low-interest bonds through the TWDB, will save the utility an estimated $3.2 million in present day dollars relative to traditional 30-year revenue bond financing in the municipal capital markets. Funding will go towards installation of a state-of-the-art facility complex that includes an 8 million-gallon ground storage tank and pump station to replace the North Austin Reservoir and Pump Station originally build in 1912. A portion of the funding will also go towards upgrading the Ullrich Water Treatment Plant - Pump Station Electrical Feed, making it more reliable and easier to maintain or repair as needed.
Affordability and Infrastructure Improvements
Improving affordability and infrastructure stability are components of the utility’s long-term strategic business plan that uses Effective Utility Management strategies to meet the challenges ahead. The utility has chosen to focus on Affordability, Customer Satisfaction, Employee and Leadership Development, Enterprise Resiliency and Infrastructure Strategy and Performance. Taken together, improvements in these target areas are helping the utility continue to be an industry leader and improve operations and resiliency.