Fort Wayne City Utilities has unveiled a five-year plan to replace 70 miles of water main in areas that have seen frequent water main breaks -- and that could come at a cost for residents.
The department cites nearly 150 main breaks throughout five months in 2018 alone, and they chalk that up to the city’s aging water infrastructure. They created a five-year plan to address pipes “most likely to fail” and repair them incrementally.
But in order to do this, residents would have to chip in through the form of a rate increase. Under the plan the monthly bill for a typical customer using 4,000 gallons of water would increase $1.34 in 2019, up incrementally to $1.67 in 2023 - a 5.8 percent annual increase.
City Utilities director Kumar Menon says frequent water main breaks can have a negative effect on quality of life in Fort Wayne.
“What’s it cost to lose a day at work? What’s it cost to not be able to send a child to school?,” Menon said. “What’s it cost for a hospital to shut down and not be able to perform surgery? What does it cost for a restaurant to shut down on Valentine’s Day -- which happened because of a water main break.”
City Utilities will present their five-year plan to Fort Wayne City Council on Tuesday, but direct action on a rate increase isn’t expected to be taken for several more weeks.