- Utilities 101
- Water Utility
Where does your drinking water come from?
Mountlake Terrace drinking water comes from Spada Lake Reservoir, located about 30 miles east of Everett at the headwaters of the Sultan River. This 50-billion-gallon storage facility serves as a collection point for rain and snowmelt from the Cascade Mountains. It was created in 1964 through a partnership between the City of Everett and the Snohomish County PUD as part of the Jackson Hydroelectric Project.
From the Spada Lake Reservoir, your water travels through a pipeline to the Chaplain Reservoir, then through four large transmission lines to Everett. The City of Everett manages water treatment and distribution to Alderwood Water District, who in turn supplies water to the City of Mountlake Terrace.
What does your water bill pay for?
The city’s job is to ensure clean, drinkable water when you need it 365 days a year. Did you know your drinking water is tested every day of the year? The 2018 Water Quality Report explains how the city provides safe, reliable water to our residents and businesses each and every day.
Your bi-monthly water bill payments are working to ensure you receive high quality water. Water is essential to life and safety and it is a shared resource for our community.
Your water bill pays for the cost of securing, treating and delivering water, as well as maintaining the system of drinking water plants, pipelines and pump stations that enable us to provide water to you on a daily basis. This video, provided by the Alliance for Water Efficiency Project, explains in more detail what your water bill pays for.
On average, Mountlake Terrace residents and businesses use the full content of the large water storage tank or 2.5 million gallons of water each day! In addition to paying for all that water, your water bill covers the cost of our Public Works Water Division to maintain 850 hydrants, 2,400 control valves and 79 miles of water distribution pipe.
Water Rate Study
In 2018, the city conducted a rate study for the water utility. The purpose of the study was to provide an updated rate forecast and financial plan targeting financial stability and revenue sufficiency for the ten-year forecast period.
As with several jurisdictions in the area, the overall demand for funding the water system has been affected by a number of factors:
- The aging of the water system – The majority of the water system was originally installed in the 1950s and 1960s and is reaching the end of its useful life.
- The city has significant water loss from these aged pipes leaking into the ground. The current 13 percent water loss exceeds the Department of Health's 10 percent maximum.
- Purchased water costs from Alderwood Water & Wastewater District made up over 30 percent of the city’s operating costs in 2018. Purchased water costs are going up more than inflation as the city’s water supplier also faces costly infrastructure replacements and updates.
- Construction costs are rising faster than overall inflation due to the demand from the number of construction projects in the Puget Sound, and new tariffs placed on construction materials.
- The city has not collected anticipated amounts of Capital Improvement Fees due to the slow recovery from the recession.
- The recommended revenue increases in the 2009 Comprehensive Water System Plan were not fully implemented due to the recession.
- Fundamental decrease in the federal government’s financial participation in the water systems. This shift has resulted in an increased reliance on local governments for system funding.
- In order to satisfy the bond covenants on outstanding water utility revenue bonds, the city needs to meet an annual minimum revenue sufficiency threshold referred to as “bond coverage.” Without a rate increase, the city is projected to not meet the revenue bond coverage minimum in 2019.