“We’re hoping to pursue two avenues at a time,” said water commissioner Scott Hackleman, in an effort to find a way out of spiraling water bills.
Water district manager Dan Bourks again outlined the problem – under the current contract with Vancouver, the district is paying $40,000 a month for water and using, on average, $15,000 worth.
The first avenue the district will pursue would be to buy water from Blaine to be delivered through a pipeline.
Commissioners reviewed an email from Blaine public works director Ravyn Whitewolf confirming they have “offered to assist” the Point Roberts water district with a feasibility study to investigate “the availability of water in Blaine, design alternatives of the pipeline, and a cost analysis that all parties can determine whether the concept is worth further exploring.” The cost of the study would be borne by the water district.
“We’re sort of talking a pre-feasibility study because there are so many ifs,” Bourks said. The study is expected to cost $10,000 to $15,000, while a full feasibility study would cost between $60,000 and $80,000.
The second avenue to pursue, Hackleman said, was to “renegotiate and amend our contract with Vancouver to pay for the water we actually use, which would reduce costs and encourage conservation.” He suggested they first get a letter from the city of Blaine indicating they would be amenable and then move to talking with the Greater Vancouver Water District.
“We might not be able to get on their agenda for six months,” Bourks said.
Commissioner Madeleine Anderson said she had spoken with Sylvia Goodwin at the Port of Bellingham regarding the possibility of the water district applying to the port’s economic opportunity development program for help funding the feasibility study for a pipeline to Blaine. “There may be some money available for a pre-study if we can get a proposal in for their budget discussions next month,” Anderson said. “We need to provide a well-thought-out plan: how much do we use, how much do we pay, how would the pipeline affect this, what are the costs.”
The next meeting of the water district has been rescheduled for 5 p.m. Monday September 10 at the water district office.