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City plans to take Aqua's SW water utility

The city of Fort Wayne will attempt a forced takeover of Aqua Indiana's southwest water utility, officials announced Thursday.

The private utility has long been a source of complaints of poor quality water and low pressure, but a severe drought this summer dropped pressure so low that City Utilities began providing water to about 1,200 of Aqua's 12,000 customers.

Mayor Tom Henry said Fort Wayne citizens in the southwest part of the city can wait no longer for quality water and decent water pressure. He plans to introduce a bill to City Council before the end of the year seeking approval to begin the condemnation process.

Under that process, the city will attempt to prove its case that it should take over the utility and determine a price for its assets. The city took over Aqua's north utility several years ago; that process took about three years.

Aqua Indiana President Tom Bruns said he was disappointed in the announcement, both in that he thought negotiations had been proceeding well and that Aqua officials were not notified ahead of time of the city's plans.

Bruns said Aqua Indiana provides high-quality water similar to Fort Wayne's and that the system has more than enough pressure to meet demand.

For more on this story see Friday's print edition of The Journal Gazette or return to after 3 a.m. Friday.