Mesa del Caballo residents will no longer see trucks bearing expensive water trundling into their community this summer — a loan to build a pipeline cleared all hurdles last week, announced the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona.
“Payson Water Company, Inc. is taking the steps necessary to protect customers within the Mesa del Caballo subdivision from summer water shortages,” said WIFA’s press release. “The Water Infrastructure Finance Authority (WIFA) of Arizona announced today that it has closed a $275,000 loan for Payson Water Company, Inc. to construct a new water transmission line between the Town of Payson’s water system and the Mesa del Caballo subdivision.”
The Payson Water Company (PWC) had gained permission to apply for the loan in October from the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC). The company is also seeking ACC approval of a near doubling of water rates for its whole system, in addition to a surcharge on the bills of Mesa del Caballo customers needed to pay off the WIFA loan.
As a public company serving a public utility need, PWC must apply to the commission to expand or upgrade its service.
With the approval from WIFA, the residents of Mesa del will start repaying the loan with a $7.55 monthly surcharge on their water bills, according to paperwork filed with the ACC by the water company.
This summer, the pipeline will carry water pumped from the Town of Payson wells. Mesa del residents will pay a per-gallon price for Payson water. A meter on the pipeline will keep accurate records, company officials have testified to the ACC. The WIFA loan will cover the cost of hooking into the Payson.
Mesa del residents have battled in ACC hearings to find out what the actual charges were to haul water into Mesa del for the past three summers. Some residents saw their water bills skyrocket by 100 to 500 percent.
“By providing funding for projects like this one, WIFA helps ensure that drinking water utilities are able to provide reliable, yet affordable, drinking water to their customers,” said WIFA Board Chairman Henry Darwin, also director of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.
This phase of building a pipeline to the Town of Payson wells initiates Mesa del into the larger Cragin pipeline project that will provide water from the Blue Ridge/C.C. Cragin reservoir, one of the most consistently productive reservoirs in the state.
Payson Water Company now seeks to apply for another WIFA loan for about $1 million to cover a share of the money Payson and the Salt River Project have spent on the C.C. Cragin pipeline. That case is still pending in front of the ACC.