The City of Rialto is using a 30-year public-private concession model—one rarely seen in the United States—to strengthen the city's financial position and improve infrastructure services. As part of the concession, the City of Rialto and the Rialto Utility Authority created Rialto Water Services (RWS).
Under the RWS concession, the City retains full ownership of water and wastewater systems, retains all water rights and supply, and possesses the rate-setting authority associated with the facilities. RWS provides financial backing, oversight and concession services for the life of the agreement. Rialto Water Services hired Veolia to manage the city's water and wastewater systems, provide billing and customer service, and oversee a $41M capital improvement program to upgrade aging facilities. This long-planned upgrade to the infrastructure introduces cost and energy efficiencies for the City, seismic retrofits, improved water supply and wastewater capacity, and brings an estimated 445 construction jobs to the local economy.
The concession generates annual lease payments to the City, in addition to a $35M upfront payment committed to key jobs-creating economic development projects of the City. The concession can be seen as an important and innovative solution to aging infrastructure, as well as a municipal stabilizer in the absence of California’s Redevelopment Agency funding.