Leavenworth, Chelan County, Washington

Five small water systems were unable to afford needed repairs and upgrades on their own

RCAC helped the systems form a new combined water district to reduce overhead costs and increase efficiency

Regional collaboration among rural utilities is an innovative way to help small water and/or wastewater systems maintain compliance, improve aging infrastructure and become financially sustainable. The Washington State Department of Health asked RCAC to work with five small water systems to form a joint water district. RCAC helped the systems combine their assets and existing equipment to form the Lake Wenatchee Water District (LWWD). RCAC assisted to value and transfer assets, which resolved conflicts among the systems about compensation fairness. Then RCAC helped to build the newly elected commissioners’ capacity through training in board roles and responsibilities, and project and asset management. RCAC also mentored the board to develop a new procedure manual, a maintenance and operations budget and provided instruction on how to conduct public meetings.

“Without the support of RCAC, I am convinced that LWWD would have taken considerably longer to meet its goal of consolidating our systems while complying with state and federal regulations,” said Bruce Harris, LWWD commissioner. “It’s a big step to go from several small independent, minimally regulated operations to that of a fully compliant water district.”

RCAC helped to acquire all the necessary permits to construct LWWD’s new reservoir and its maintenance access road, and facilitated agreements with property owners affected by the construction process. RCAC completed review required to evaluate LWWD project’s impact on historical tribal land.

RCAC also provided technical assistance to complete upgrades and installations necessary to form the new water district.

When additional funding was required for construction, RCAC arranged
meetings for the LWWD with state officials, and guided the district commissioners through the loan application process.