Commissioner proposes bond issue for new water plant - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Commissioner proposes bond issue for new water plant

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Well more than $400 thousand have been spent by Caddo and Bossier Parishes for a regional water study. This looks into the possibility of a Northwest Louisiana Utility District, imagine a multi-parish network of pipes supplying the area with water. On Thursday, Caddo commissioners met to get updated on the study and their investment. One commissioner was left unsatisfied.

Progress with the regional water study has stopped, but Ken Ward, with Caddo Public Works, says local government now knows much more about how to keep taps flowing in case of a drought. Ward points out a water treatment plant is needed to help residents in South Caddo and Bossier Parishes where ground water is no longer reliable. However, others have bigger ideas.

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"We're making progress to solving our problems with the water plant," Ward said. "We're much closer than we were three years ago when we first started."

The water plant would be built in South Caddo in or near the Port of Caddo-Bossier. Ward says it would produce more than seven million gallons of water a day from the Red River and cost around $50 million to construct.

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"The plant that they have planned right now, I think is entirely too small for what we need," Commission Matthew Linn, for District 4, said.

Linn says what's needed isn't a plant that serves just South Caddo and Bossier. He calls for one that cleans enough water for those areas, the City of Shreveport and for future industry. Linn says the area's abundant surface water supply can be used to attract economic development. He believes Shreveport's water plant doesn't provide enough.

"There's industry that wants to move into our community because we have water," Linn said. "However, they can't move here because the Amos Treatment Facility.... it has not growth capacity."

Linn doesn't mention shutting down the facility but that two plants are needed for the area's future interests. Linn proposes that the new plant, which many believe would cost more than $100 million, should be paid for by a bond issue. That's a tax voters would need to approve.

"If we're going to put money behind something for our community, for our children and our grandchildren, then it needs to be water," Linn said.

For now, Ward says the parish is focused on building a smaller plant along the Red River and is trying to attract more customers for its services. That way the plant's construction cost won't increase monthly water bills for South Caddo and Bossier residents.

"Without the additional customers that we need, the cost would be incomprehensible for those folks to pay that," Ward said. "So, they're aren't going to move onto the system, and we'll just have a plant serving nobody."

Caddo and Bossier Parishes funded the study following the 2011 drought when the hundreds were under threat of losing their water supply.

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