Lower-than-average rainfall the past two years will force Provo to spend $242,000 more than it budgeted this year on electricity to pump needed water from city supply wells.
Merrill Bingham, director of the city's Department of Water and Wastewater, told City Council members that springs in Provo Canyon that supply much of the city's water have flowed at reduced levels this year because of the lower rainfall amounts.Because the city water system is getting less this year from spring flows, Provo is pumping more water from its wells and that means more money must be spent on electricity to power the pumps.
Bingham earlier asked the council for an additional $130,000 to pay higher pumping bills and last week asked for another $112,000. The council is expected to approve the request in its May 3 meeting.
The money actually will not be expended but rather transferred internally from the Water Department budget to the Energy Department, which supplies municipal power to Provo customers.
Bingham noted that his department is treated as an independent utility, meaning it pays the Energy Department for the city power it uses and also pays franchise taxes on its power bills.