Organizational challenges may exist for some utilities or water companies due to various factors, including:
Therefore, for some organizations, a change in the organizational structure or means by which services are provided/contracted may be viable option worth assessment such that long-term sustainability of service to a utility’s customers is not compromised.
Change of Organizational Structure – Although many water organizations have no control over their organizational structure, or may be unable to change their structure, some water providers may have options. Options may include:
Since 1990, water privatization, which relates to turning over some or all of the assets of a public system to a private company, has been growing rapidly throughout the world and some in North America. Although privatization can be beneficial in some circumstances, it is important that, at the very least, government oversight is maintained to protect the public interest. There is a growing body of resources to leverage to understand the pros and cons of privatization (called a public-private partnership (PPP)).
The three most common forms of PPPs, in the order of increasing responsibilities for the private partner, are:
A concession, under which the private operator is responsible for running the entire system. Investment is mostly or fully financed and carried out by the private operator. The duration is typically 20–30 years.
Regionalization may involve two common configurations including:
A water company or special district could become an incorporated municipality (e.g., Castle Pines North, Douglas County). This action requires legal assistance and an act of voters in the area that would be affected.
Special Districts in Colorado are local governments, i.e., political subdivisions of the state, which make up a third level of government in the United States. (The federal and state governments are the other two levels.) Local governments include counties, municipalities (cities and towns), school districts, and other types of government entities such as "authorities" and "special districts.” Colorado law limits the types of services that county governments can provide to residents. Districts are created to fill the gaps that may exist in the services counties provide and the services the residents may desire. The majority of districts draw their boundaries in unincorporated county land, but residents of a municipality may be included in one or more districts. As political subdivisions of the State of Colorado, special districts are required to submit a number of required filings to various state agencies throughout the year. These filings are primarily financial, but also include election results, lists of boards of directors, and others.
Changing an organization’s structure requires legal advice and counsel, as well as deliberate interactions with local, state and federal regulatory agencies.
Contact the District for guidance if you and your organization wish to evaluate potential options.