Water Utilities Invest Millions in Infrastructure Projects

Posted on Aug 30, 2019

Water Utilities Invest Millions in Infrastructure Projects

Each year, California Water Association (CWA) member companies invest millions of dollars in infrastructure to ensure the delivery of safe, reliable, high-quality water to their customers and for fire protection. These investments are detailed in the general rate case (GRC) applications required to be filed with the California Public Utilities Commission by water utilities with 10,000 connections or more. Following is a recap of several CWA member companies’ 2019 capital investments.

San Gabriel Valley Water Company (SGVWC) is progressing with its 2019 Capital Investment Program for its Los Angeles County and Fontana Water Company divisions. The budget covers water supply, treatment, storage, and distribution infrastructure improvements totaling $64 million in both divisions for the following improvements to SGVWC’s water system:

  • New and replacement water storage reservoirs,
  • New water transmission mains,
  • Water supply and production improvements,
  • Water treatment system improvements,
  • Recycled water storage and distribution infrastructure, and
  • Replacements of aging distribution mains.

The Fontana Water Company Division 2019 Capital Investment Program budget allocates $32 million for the design and construction of water storage and distribution improvements, including an estimated $8.5 million for the Plant F15 water storage reservoir, booster station building, and related site improvements. In close cooperation with the City of Fontana, SGVWC is replacing its 140-year-old concrete water storage reservoir with a new, 3.4 million-gallon, welded-steel water storage reservoir that will provide expanded water supply and capacity for customers located in the northwest area of the Hunter’s Ridge service area. Nearly a quarter of SGVWC’s customers rely on this water storage site as a source of water. The reservoir currently is enclosed for sandblasting and coating. Replacing the old reservoir will improve the safety and reliability of water service to customers and safeguard against emergencies such as an earthquake. A booster station building also will be constructed around the existing pumps at the site to protect the pumping equipment from the summer heat, seasonal rains, and the swift Fontana winds.

Storage and distribution improvements and related site improvements at SGVWC’s Plant F31 water supply are estimated to cost $6 million. The recently drilled production well is providing a new source of water to ensure supply reliability. The new 670,000-gallon reservoir soon will be completed, and SGVWC is in the process of designing a new booster station to distribute water to customers in the Highland and Alder zones in the center of Fontana.

From 2018 to 2020, California American Water (Cal Am) will have spent more than $75 million statewide in capital projects, system improvements, and customer service enhancements. Cal Am’s capital expenditures and notable projects by service area are detailed below.

San Jose Water Company’s (SJWC) capital investment expenditures will exceed $100 million in 2019. The budget includes $62 million for replacing aging water mains and related appurtenances, $14 million for tanks and reservoirs, and $8 million to drill new wells. The water utility shares information about the improvement projects and operations with customers on its blog and in the Annual Water Quality Report and Sustainability Report.

In a November 2018 press release, SJWC President and Chief Operating Officer Andrew Gere noted, “San Jose Water is committed to replacing a minimum of 24 miles of water pipes every year to ensure the safety and reliability of our water system. Beyond that, we are making investments in the resiliency of our tanks, pumps, reservoirs, and dams to ensure they are seismically sound. We are also making investments in new technologies that improve our abilities in the areas of early leak detection, water conservation, and customer service to better serve customers and protect the environment.”

Golden State Water Company’s (GSWC) 2019-2021 GRC, approved on May 30, 2019, includes $115 million in infrastructure investments in 2019. GSWC proactively updates aging water pipes on a replacement schedule of approximately 100 years. In comparison, the American Society of Civil Engineers recently published a report noting a national average replacement schedule of 200 years on water pipes that are designed to last 75 to 100 years. GSWC’s commitment to maintaining local water infrastructure ensures the water utility can continue providing customers with premium water service.

Suburban Water Systems’ (Suburban) Plant 408 is a potable water storage facility located in a residential area in La Mirada. The plant provides fire protection and emergency storage, balances daily water demands, and is vital to serving Suburban’s customers in La Mirada.

Routing inspections found that the existing 7-million-gallon buried steel reservoir constructed in 1960 was deteriorating and needed to be replaced. Suburban set to work replacing the reservoir at its storage capacity with three above-ground steel reservoirs. Work began in 2016 with the demolition of the existing reservoir followed by rough grading and construction of retaining walls to prepare the site for the new reservoirs. In April 2018, construction began on two of the welded-steel reservoirs, R4 and R6, which are 116 feet in diameter and capable of storing up to 2.37 million gallons of water each. The two reservoirs were completed as of July 1, 2019, and are serving Suburban’s La Mirada customers. Reservoir R5 is scheduled to be online in March 2020.

The project also includes the construction of a pump station and installation of an emergency generator, which are scheduled for completion in 2020. At a total cost of more than $22 million, this project highlights the important reinvestment Suburban is making in its water system to ensure customers have safe and reliable water service for generations to come.

A view from the interior of the new Plant F15 reservoir shows the extensive structural steel elements designed to contain the 3.4 million gallons of water SGVWC will store at this site.

Sound walls were erected around the well-drilling operation to reduce noise generated by the water production well installation.

Pipe Bridge Installation at Cal Am’s Monterey Water Supply Project

Click to enlarge

Aerial Photo of Cal Am’s Intertie in Sacramento

SJWC’s Belgatos Tank Project

SJWC’s 36” Main Replacement Project on Senter Road in San Jose