Amarillo to apply for $29.5 million loan from the Texas Water Development Board

Amarillo to apply for $29.5 million loan from the Texas Water Development Board
Amarillo’s City Council took the first step towards the possibility of bringing an advanced water meter project to meters across the city. (Source: KFDA)

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Amarillo’s City Council took the first step toward the possibility of bringing an advanced water meter project to meters across the city.

On Tuesday afternoon, Amarillo’s City Council voted to apply for a loan from the Texas Water Development Board for $29.5 million for an automated meter infrastructure project.

Amarillo to apply for $29.5 million loan from the Texas Water Development Board

“That means, automatic meter reading system through a fixed network that communicates back and forth with live data for water meters to the benefit of the city and the benefits of customers,” said Floyd Hartman, Assistant City Manager of Development Services.

Mayor Nelson says this does not mean the project is happening, it’s just an application for the possibility of upgrading 72,000 water meters city-wide.

“We are not making a vote today on whether we’re doing this or not doing this,” said Mayor Ginger Nelson. “We’re simply taking the next step, which is filing this application, to see if a loan would even be an option in studying whether or not this would be a good option for our city.”

However, if this project becomes a reality the city says it’s all about customer service.

Customers would be able to monitor their water usage daily and know what their bill is in advance.

“This system is also capable of identifying unusual water use, such as a water hose being left on and a customer not knowing it,” said Hartman. “The system has a capability of sending emails, whether to us, or to the customer, and notify them of this unusual water use. That way it can be remedied immediately and timely, rather than having a large water bill and wasting water. That’s the water saving component of this system."

If the city decides to move forward, there’s more steps to the process during the upcoming bond discussions, including how to repay the loan.

“The initial proposal would be to have a rate increase to pay for the $29.5 million loan,” said Hartman.

The city hopes to have this application in to the Texas Water Development Board by the end of February and will proceed from there.

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