Grosse Pointe Shores watering ordinance leads to positive contract change with GLWA

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published January 24, 2024

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GROSSE POINTE SHORES — A watering ordinance passed by the Grosse Pointe Shores City Council in May 2021 appears to have met the city’s goals.

The city was able to reduce peak hour demand substantially enough through the ordinance that it was able to get the Great Lakes Water Authority to agree to reopen its contract and reduce its contractual peak hour value as of the start of the new fiscal year on July 1, 2024.

“It showed a significant decrease in (water usage) in that peak hour,” City Manager Stephen Poloni said of usage data since the watering ordinance took effect.

He said GLWA officials called their ordinance the best one in the state, which was due at least in part to the city’s enforcement of it. Poloni said GLWA officials told city officials that some cities have watering ordinances on the books but don’t enforce them.

In addition, Poloni said most Shores residents complied with the new rule. As a result, he said the Shores did better with its peak usage rate than cities that have water storage they can draw from during peak demand times.

The ordinance mandates that residents with automatic sprinkler systems only water their lawns between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m., when usage demand is usually at its lowest.

While it doesn’t mean Shores residents will see a reduction in their water bills, Poloni said it will result in a lower price increase this year and it will also spell an annual savings of about $60,000 over the life of the contract for the city. Poloni said the city hopes these savings will cover capital costs with its recent water/sewer project bond.

“We were looking for some way to give our residents a break on their water bills,” Poloni said.

Department of Public Works Director Michael Way said it’s “very rare” to get a chance to rebid a contract.

“It’s good news from GLWA,” Way said.

During a Nov. 21 meeting, the City Council voted unanimously to approve an amendment to its water service contract with GLWA that reflects the peak hour value change.

Mayor Ted Kedzierski praised Poloni for his “great work” in talks with GLWA.

“As you know, water bills are a bigger issue in this community than the tax bills,” Kedzierski said.