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RWR presents annual report
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Rockdale Water Resources presented its 2009 annual report to the Water and Sewer Authority Board on Thursday. The report summarized the situations, budget, personnel, accomplishments, initiatives and challenges facing 2009, including a drop in water usage, the first residential rate increase in a number of years, and the business and technical initiatives began.

RWR Director Dwight Wicks said the 2009 annual report was the first during his administration and will be presented before the Board of Commissioners later this month.

Although the drought restrictions were lifted in early 2009, water usage still stayed about 9 percent lower than 2008, resulting in lower revenue for RWR.

Even so, during peak usage times, production went up to 18 million gallons a day. The water treatment plant has a capacity up to 20 million gallons per day. Wicks said one goal for 2010 would be to reduce the peak usage.

"Just like the power company, we're faced with meeting peak demand," he said. "We have to manage it so we don't get to that point."

Wicks also described efficiency initiatives launched to help track down and reduce "lost" water, or the water that is produced but not billed for because of leakage or other inaccuracies. Those initiatives included the meter exchange program, identifying old and leaky pipes, and replacing manhole linings.

A residential rate increase was implemented in the summer of 2009, designed to raise about $5.2 million over 12 months, to offset an increase in debt service and raise money for capital expenditures, according to the report. A comprehensive rate study will be proposed later in the summer for 2010, partly to look at commercial and industrial rates, after the Cogsdale software is fully functional.

Water services and sewer services brought in the lion's share of revenue - 55 percent and 32 percent respectively - while debt service was the largest portion of expenses, 30 percent, followed by depreciation, 22 percent, and sewage treatment plant, 17 percent.

RWR reported revenues of about $24 million and expenses of about $30.4 million, or
$23.7 million excluding depreciation. The net balance according to unaudited financial figures would be a loss of about $6.4 million, with depreciation, or a gain of about $250,000, without depreciation.

It reported about 27,645 water customers and 10,806 sewer customers. Rockdale County is estimated to have about 84,000 people.

The top ten water customers were Visy Paper, the Rockdale County school system, Rockdale Medical Center, Air Products, Golden State Foods, Harvest Grove Apartments, Southwood Realty Co., Keswick Village Apartments, Bascom Realty, and Poyntsource Solutions.