The Dubuque City Water Works

The Dubuque City Water Works

In the course of the report of the Dubuque, Ia., city water works for the year that ended May 31, 1915, the trustees say: At the close of the fiscal year the board was able to announce the completion of that important improvement, the 7 1/2 million-gallon reservoir on Kelley’s Bluff, regarded by engineers consulted as most urgently needed to insure satisfactory water pressure and to provide adequate storage of water for fire protection, this betterment following the enlargement of the steam and power plant, the development of a greater water supply and the acquirement of increased pumping facilities at both the Level and Eagle Point stations. These undertakings, all carried out in the past four years, together with extensions of mains and other additions and betterments to the distribution system found to be necessary during this period costing over $25,000.00, involved a total expenditure of approximately $200,000, and it is gratifying to know that they were made possible without resorting to a tax levy, the accumulations of earnings, that is to say, the excess of receipts from water sales over cost of oepration, having been sufficient to cover the entire outlay, except the final payments for construction of the reservoir amounting to about $30,000, to meet which debt short time loans were negotiated that will likely be reduced to $24,000 before the end of September of this year and from the present outlook will all be gradually retired within a comparatively short period without any inconvenience to the management. In the matter of bringing up the records of the department which for years after the purchase of the water works by the city were but fragmentary and incomplete and therefore of but little practical value, much systematic work has been done especially since 1911. Such progress has now been made in the verification of the location of mains, hydrants, valves, stop boxes, etc., and in the charting and platting of the same as well as the listing and valuation of all properties of the department that a basis has been gained for a complete inventory and close appraisal of the entire plant. Books may now be opened covering in detail and classified the property of the entire system and giving a reasonably accurate physical valuation of the same. It will be interesting to note that information thus far compiled by the engineering department, in the opinion of Engineer Melendy, indicates the actual worth of the plant now to be fully $800,000, including the increase in going value, and, with this valuation as a basis, to be earning the charges usually placed against such properties by economists. At any rate we,believe the prediction is warranted that the next official report of the U. S. Government will show the financial condition of the Dubuque Water Works to have improved to such an extent as to entitle it to a place among the municipal water plants of the country which pay their way, while in the report of the government experts issued in 1909 it was found in the list of those operating at a loss. The report, which was signed by Jos. P. Scanlon, Fred Bell and Chas. Sass, Board of Water Works Trustees, gives the total pumpage for the fiscal year as follows: Eagle Point Station, 716,565,200 gallons; Level Station, 236,990,660 gallons; total for one year, 953,555,860 gallons. The average daily pumpage was 2,615,221 gallons. The year’s total pumpage for the year just closed was nearly 190,000,000 gallons, or about 272,000 gallons per days, greater than that for the previous year. The percentage of increase was close to 11 1/2 per cent, and it is also stated that the excess of water receipts from private consumers over cost of operation (exclusive of charge for interest or depreciation) during the period in question, namely June 1st, 1914, to May 31st, 1915, was $36,854.45 as against $32,781.71 for the previous year, an increase of approximately 12J5 per cent., which prove the continuance of a satisfactory financial condition of the department. Two hundred and seventy new taps were recorded during the year, of which number 17 were made to increase water supply on premises already having a connection or to replace abandoned taps or for public service lines and 61 were for property owners who, for the present, had service pipes laid to the curb line of their lots only, leaving 192 taps to be considered as made for persons entered as new patrons upon the books of the water works office, 322 new meters of various sizes were installed, 13 surrendered, bringing the number of meters now in use to 4,623. According to the statement of earnings over 95 per cent, of the amount of water sales was received from patrons served through meters.

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