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The City of Durham operates a water and sewer utility in the Research Triangle Park region of North Carolina, and is experiencing healthy growth influenced by the emergence of hightechnology industries in the 1990's. As a result of this growth and a commitment to providing its customers with efficient and cost-effective water and wastewater service, the City of Durham decided to implement a strategic plan for its water and sewer utility.

The Strategic Plan's comprehensive review of Durham's water and sewer utility distinguishes it from traditional master planning projects, in that all facets of the utility are reviewed for meeting goals of efficiency, reliability, competitiveness, customer service, and long-term sustainability. The Strategic Plan included the following elements:

Customer Relations Assessment

Operations/Organization/Management Review

Benchmarking Study

QualServe Peer Review

Regulatory Assessment

Regional Alternatives Evaluation

Water Reuse Assessment

Methane Gas Utilization Evaluation

Financial Analysis and Development of a Rate Model

Capital Improvements Plan

The Strategic Plan was developed to meet Durham's future water and wastewater demands, improve system reliability, ensure long-term sustainability, and maximize the potential benefits of regional cooperation. Recommendations included working with neighboring utilities to develop new water sources and utilize excess wastewater treatment capacity. The financial analysis and rate model indicated that the regional alternatives would help the City of Durham maintain competitive water and sewer rates through 2025.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2000

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