The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has signed off on a $3 million plan for Public Water Supply District 16 to buy water from the city of Independence.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has signed off on a $3 million plan for Public Water Supply District 16 to buy water from the city of Independence.

That could mean higher water rates in the district.

District 16 serves about 3,000 people in northeast Jackson County, getting its water from the Kansas City plant at Atherton. At peak times, its demand exceeds what the plant can produce. Also, water demand is increasing over time.

Kansas City has indicated it’s not interested in expanding the Atherton plant but might sell it to District 16. In addition to the sale price, the DNR says upgrading that plant would cost $1.7 million to $4.2 million. Running pipes to Kansas City’s main plant would cost $10.4 million.

Adding a pump station and 5,100 feet of pipe, however, would get the needed water from Independence at a cost of $3 million, and the DNR says it favors that as the most economical choice.

Still, rates are expected to rise. The average residential user pays $53.65 per 5,000 gallons, the DNR says in its Feb. 20 report. That’s expected to increase to $66.51.

The district had a public meeting on the issue in January in Sibley, and no one spoke against the project.

The DNR is taking comments for 30 days. Send them to Stephen P. Jones, P.E., c/o Water Protection Program, P.O. Box 176, Jefferson City, Mo., 65102-0176. The facility plan is on file for public inspection from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the DNR offices at 1101 Riverside Drive in Jefferson City.