Arkansas Water Provider Legislative Task Force: July 11th Meeting

July 10, 2018

By: Walter G. Wright

Category: Arkansas Environmental, Energy, and Water Law

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A meeting of the Water Provider Legislative Task Force (“Task Force”) is scheduled for Wednesday, July 11th.

The meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m. in Room 151 of the Arkansas State Capitol.

The agenda for the meeting has now been announced.

The Task Force was created by Act 1056 during the 89th Arkansas General Assembly. The legislation declared a number of findings regarding the water utilities provision of water to state residents. Issues associated with areas served, ability to operate monopolies, importance of water supplies to economic development, requirements to supply out-of-area customers, and other matters were addressed.

The legislature mandated the creation of the Task Force to study a number of related issues and provide conclusions in a report to be submitted by January 1, 2019.

Tentative agenda items for the July 11th meeting include:

  • Discussion of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Report “Why Water Infrastructure Investments Would Make a Big Splash” – Investing in Water Infrastructure to Promote Economic Growth – Randy Zook, President, CEO, Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce
  • Request for a Comprehensive Water System Study to be Performed by the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission (ANRC) to Assess Current Water Systems and Necessary Improvements Needed to Have at Hand a Current Cost Assessment when Federal Dollars Become Available
    • Comments by Representative Frederick Love
    • Comments by Mark Bennett, ANRC
  • Starting Questions for Drafting Final Recommendations of the Water Provider Legislative Task Force
    • Should a water provider be forced to provide water in an area they choose not to serve?
    • When providing water service in an area, should a water provider be able to pick and choose who to serve? How about the customers they choose not to serve? How do they obtain water?
    • Should a customer or potential customer in a water provider’s service area be denied water based on a political standing?
    • Should a water provider with NO political authority in a zone be able to make political decisions in that zone (other than health department codes) based on providing water or not if they are the designated water provider in that zone?
    • What is the state’s duty to provide in local infrastructure?
    • Should a locale be allowed to provide water below cost of maintaining the system? Why or why not?
    • Who would decide? Monitor? Enforce?
    • Could/should the state legislate a minimum percentage (3%?) of revenue to be set aside for LONG-TERM maintenance and replacement?
    • Should we or do we have a picture of what water systems are headed for failure on their current course?
  • Discussion Regarding the Dire Conditions of Deteriorating Water and Wastewater Infrastructures Faced by Numerous Cities and Towns as Described During their Presentations to the Task Force – Comments by Senator Alan Clark

A copy of the tentative agenda can be downloaded here.

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