Team Work Helps Ralston PWA Make a Course Correction

The Town of Ralston, Oklahoma severs 145 customers and the Pawnee Rural Water District #5 (RWD). The RWD connects on at the south end of town. During the summer months of 2017, the water system had very low pressure in the southern area of the town, and no water was being provided to the Pawnee RWD.

Communities Unlimited, Inc. (CU) was contacted by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) and asked to meet with Ralston Public Works Authority (PWA). Ralston PWA was put under a consent order because their wells needed to be upgraded to meet current regulations, or they needed to identify an alternate water source as well as not providing water to the RWD. As part of their consent order, they had to engage with a technical assistance provider ODEQ recommended CU. The first item that needed to be addressed was the PWA’s financial situation. Ralston had not increased its rates in some time, causing them financial distress and preventing them from updating their system components. CU performed a rate analysis, and it was approved by the board and went into effect in September 2017. They also needed to bring some past due bills current and make repairs to their service truck and backhoe. CU was able to provide Ralston PWA with $70,000 in financing. Both of these steps put Ralston PWA on the path toward financial sustainability.

Ralston PWA was able to correct the low-pressure issue by connecting the Pawnee RWD directly to the water tower. CU worked with the Oklahoma Emergency Management, the Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) and ODEQ to secure emergency grant funds to install the line that corrected the low-pressure issue restoring water to Pawnee RWD. CU will continue to provide financial, operational and technical assistance to Ralston PWA to ensure their continued growth.