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BARODA, Mich. – The Village of Baroda was leaking cash – the utility was losing between 20 to 40 percent of their treated water and the cost was financially unsustainable. A low-interest loan from the National Rural Water Association’s Rural Water Loan Fund is helping replace the community’s aging water meters and bring their water loss under control.
“We decided we needed to do something,” said Baroda Clerk Tina Boehm. “We were losing too much water.”
Research identified the village’s aging water meters as the primary cause of the massive water loss.
“Most of the meters are over 25 years old and they are very inaccurate,” Boehm said.
Several of the meters were originally installed when the utility was constructed, over 30 years ago. Baroda saw an opportunity to replace their aging infrastructure and make necessary changes, like adjusting the water rates.
“We thought it made more sense to do it all at once instead of piecemeal,” Boehm said. “We also decided to restructure our rate system. There hadn’t been any changes for several years.”
Baroda first learned of the Rural Water Loan Fund from John Holland, a Circuit Rider with the Michigan Rural Water Association. The program’s low interest and lack of fees would make the meter replacement affordable to a utility that had been losing money due to water loss for years.
“The loan made this project affordable,” Boehm said.
Once the community started the loan process, they learned that it was a fast, easy way to meet their financial needs.
“It was a very simple process and it was very easy working with NRWA,” Boehm said. “They made the loan process very smooth and easy.”
Baroda has completed 85 percent of the meter replacement and it has reduced water loss down to 5 percent.
“It’s been incredible,” Boehm said. “Our water loss has improved dramatically. It’s helping us cover our operations and put some money back into the bank.”