A Member of the Fort Wayne Common Council Issues a Reaction to the IURC Audit
Mitch V. Harper, Fort Wayne City Council member for the 4th District, issued the following statement in reaction to the release of the Audit Report and Letter of Transmittal by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to Aqua Indiana concerning issues raised by the lack of water pressure this summer in the service area of Aqua Indiana on Fort Wayne's southwest side. The 4th District encompasses most of the utility's customers in that service area. Council member Harper is also a consumer of Aqua Indiana.
The findings and recommendation of the Utility Regulatory Commission flow from a public hearing requested by State Senator David Long. Council member Harper testified at that Indianapolis hearing regarding the issues - particularly emphasizing the risk to the public safety of citizens, that resulted from the period of inadequate pressure.
"I applaud the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission and Chairman Atterholt, in particular, for the manner so far in which the Commission has addressed the serious issues surrounding the period of inadequate water pressure affecting citizens in the 4th District. When the public's safety is compromised, under whatever circumstances, it is a matter of grave concern.
I appreciate that Chairman Atterholt, in his remarks accompanying the report, underscored a point I made in testimony before the Commission. He stated today: “While collecting information for the report, the auditor found there to be a potential fire protection risk. This is unacceptable and poses a concern for our agency.”
At that hearing, I offered to draft and introduce an ordinance which would address water conservation during drought. I have identified several ordinances from other cities that could serve as a model for a Fort Wayne ordinance. Due to the water usage by certain Aqua Indiana customers during the drought, such an ordinance would need to also be adopted by the county to mirror a city ordinance. The Regulatory Commission called both entities to adopt such ordinances. That finding is helpful in moving forward.
The Commission has set out a timetable for compliance by Aqua Indiana. The steps that the IURC has recommended are a welcome and needed sign for the thousands of citizens in southwest Fort Wayne."