Annual Water Audit
Hillsboro conducts an annual water audit to make sure that the difference between water production and water loss is less than 10% as required by the State. Hillsboro’s loss averages between three and five percent, which is comparable to other area water providers.
Meter Testing and Maintenance
The City of Hillsboro manages the meter testing and maintenance program for the city’s master meters and the JWC meters. Hillsboro has a biennial testing and maintenance program for meters less than three inches in diameter. Meters larger than three inches in diameter are tested annually. Any meters that fail testing are either rebuilt or replaced.
Hillsboro’s rate structure has contained a conservation component for many years, but it was improved in 2006 to further encourage conservation. In 2006, the city conducted an extensive rate study that analyzed the peaking of each customer class and recommended a tiered rate structure based on those peaking factors. In addition, all water allowances were removed and a third inclined tier was added for residential customers. The tiered rate structure for each customer class is now based on peaking factors for that particular class. There are currently eight customer classes in the city’s rate structure including single-family residential, multi-family residential, commercial, industrial, public users, non-profit, irrigation, and wholesale. The net impact of these rate changes is that customers with higher than average water use pay a higher unit cost and are therefore encouraged to conserve water to save money.
System-Wide Leak Repair
Despite the fact that its system unaccounted-for water rate is likely at or under 10 percent, the Hillsboro Water Department has a program to replace its oldest steel pipelines through a 15 year program. These lines were installed more than 50 years ago, and are more prone to leaks and breaks than other piping materials, resulting in water loss and potential water quality problems. During the 2008-2009 fiscal year, the Hillsboro Utilities Commission invested $1.3 million to replace pipelines in E. Main Street, NE Edison Street, SE Oak, SE Alder, SE 11th, SE 12th and SE 21st. Selection of projects is coordinated each year with the Public Works Department to avoid cuts into new streets built by Public Works.
Hillsboro has continued its policy (adopted in a 1988 resolution) to adjust the leak portion of a customer’s bill, if the customer repairs the leak within 10 days of it being reported. The program is designed to encourage customers to identify and repair leaks in a timely manner.
Technical and Financial Assistance
Hillsboro offers assistance to qualifying non-profits and industrial customers throughout Hillsboro upon request. In the past, Hillsboro has assisted the Hillsboro School District, Intel, the Parks Department and Forest Hills Lutheran School with water conservation efforts.
Hillsboro is also partnering with Energy Trust of Oregon to offer free residential indoor audits to qualifying customers. The program should begin sometime in spring 2011. Please call Amy Geerling at (503) 615-6735 for details.