Financing Municipal Water Improvements and Extensions
by JOHN I. ZAGOREC Senior Accountant, Salt Lake City
Presented before the Annual Meeting of the American Water Works Association, Intermountain Section, Provo, Utah—October 1965
WATER is one of mankind's invaluable and indispensable natural resources as those of us who live in this semi-arid area well know. Water is generally free but not always available where, when, and in the condition people want it. In some areas it therefore has the status of a truly precious commodity.
The special responsibility of the water departments of our municipalities
and water districts is to collect, transport, and make certain our water supply is safe for human consumption and use otherwise. These agencies have been able to assume these growing responsibilities only because substantial sums of money have been expended on supply and distribution facilities, and because major items of equipment have been employed to make larger quantities of pure, clean water available to an expanding population.
The pattern of population movement for an extended period of years has been one of people leaving the cities and moving to the suburbs. The result has been a tremendous population growth in metropolitan areas. This major shift in population brings about greatly increased demand for new sources of water supply—new supply lines and distribution
mains for the multitude of subdivisions that have sprung up almost overnight in our suburban areas. These developments have substantially increased necessity for greater capital investment by the older water districts and by our cities and have given birth to some entirely new water districts in our own area in Utah.
If we are to keep on bringing water from where it is to where people want it and need it, it will take more money. Therefore, our problem relates to the kind of water systems our people desire and to how such systems shall be financed.
It is not my purpose to discuss the legal capacities or limitations that apply in developments of this kind. Officials who are contemplating a water project should become familiar with the statutory and constitutional
limitations that govern the debt-incurring power of the municipality
or community concerned, as well as with other provisions of the law.