While Glendale Water & Power has 21 miles of recycled-water pipeline, the utility uses less than half of its allotment of recycled water from the treatment plant, with the rest of it disposed of in the Los Angeles River, officials said.
“Whatever way we can expand this system, the goal would be to put as little of this reclaimed water into the river as possible,” said City Councilwoman Laura Friedman. “This is a valuable resource.”
The City Council on Tuesday gave utility officials permission to draft potential amendments to the city’s code that requires any expansion of the city’s recycled-water pipeline be paid for entirely by the customer.
“We find the way the code is written today is restricting our ability to expand the system,” said Assistant General Manager Peter Kavounas.
Still, council members expressed caution about how to fund the estimated $25-million expansion. If the plan is funded through a municipal bond, it could be paid back through rate increases or a bill surcharge.
But Friedman said she had reservations about charging customers who would not directly benefit from the expansion.
“We need to be sure it’s equitable,” she said.
Councilman Dave Weaver suggested that the city submit the project for federal funding in the upcoming federal appropriations process.
Councilman Ara Najarian was the most skeptical, questioning whether future demand would be high enough to merit the costly projects.
“My problem is we are looking out 20 years, and its hard to predict supply issues and demand issues looking 20 years out,” he said. “I’m not opposed to looking at it further, but I’m not sold on it yet.”