Forum draws water experts together for Westside project
Panel 500px   Leaders from the Willamette Water Supply Program joined Breakfast Forum guests to talk about a $1.2 billion project that's underway on the Westside.
  The panel made up of Tualatin Valley Water District's (TVWD) Mike Britch, Mark Knudson, and Dave Kraska, along with City of Hillsboro's Kevin Hanway, Stantec's Bill Van Derveer, and Northwest Pipe's Miles Brittain talked about the project, which is expected to bring a new water source online to TVWD and Hillsboro customers in 2026.
  The project will run more than 30 miles from Wilsonville to Hillsboro with storage on Cooper Mountain.
  Kraska said TVWD and Hillsboro have both done a lot of financial planning for this project, but it is still an enormous expense.
   The panelists said they are always looking for ways to partner with other organizations and piggy back on projects in an effort to save money - these efforts include putting pipe in the ground at the same time roadways are being developed or improved.
  The best news for rate payers came recently when the program became eligible for  WIFIA (Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act) loans, which Kraska explained are low interest and allow for generous repayment terms.
   This alone will save rate payers $383 million.
   To learn more about Willamette Water Supply, visit its website.
   To see photos from the event, visit the WEA Facebook page.
   Thank you to Stantec and Northwest Pipe for its presenting sponsorship and Legacy Health for its support of the Breakfast Forum series.