Global Water Resources, a pure-play water resource management company, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Farmers Water Co., a subsidiary of Farmers Investment Co. (FICO), located in Pima County, Arizona.
The acquisition, if completed, would add approximately 3,300 active water service connections and an approximate 21.5 square miles of Certificate of Convenience and Necessity service area in Sahuarita and surrounding unincorporated Pima County.
The primarily residential connections are in close proximity to the service areas of Global Water’s recently acquired Las Quintas Serenas, Francesca, Mirabell, and Red Rock water companies. All of these areas fall within the Arizona Sun Corridor, a megaregion that is expected to double in population by 2040. Global Water plans to retain all Farmers Water employees and maintain a local customer service center.
“Global Water will work closely with FICO and the community to bring this utility into our family of companies and address its future infrastructure and water service requirements for supporting growth and economic development,” stated the company’s president and CEO, Ron Fleming. “Together, with the implementation of our industry-leading approach to utility consolidation, automation and water resource management, we plan to advance Farmers’ long-standing record of providing safe, high-quality water services to the community.”
Upon closing, Farmers Water will represent Global Water’s seventh acquisition in Pima County and its second in the Town of Sahuarita, including the adjacent Las Quintas Serenas water utility it acquired in November 2021. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2023 and is subject to customary closing conditions and approvals.
FICO president and CEO, Dick Walden, commented: “After considerable research and due diligence, we have determined that Global Water Resources has the financial, managerial, and technical expertise needed to properly serve the customers we have also come to know as our neighbors. Global Water Resources also brings the added benefit of having a significant and growing presence in our region. We believe this is vital to ensuring they are a good community partner, which they have demonstrated in other areas that they serve.”
Global Water plans to implement its industry leading technology platform which would include upgrading Farmers Water’s connections from manually-read meters to smart meters, a technology it has successfully deployed several times including in its largest service area. Smart meters support greater operational efficiencies as well as real-time information for customers about their water usage, including leak and high usage alerts. This information can help preserve scarce water resources while lowering monthly water bills.
“We believe our long history of effective utility management and our broad regional footprint will add value to Farmers and the community it serves,” noted Chris Krygier, Global Water’s chief strategy officer. “We will apply our core expertise to meet the collective needs of the community, as we implement our regional infrastructure planning and complete all needed operational improvements.”
The value of Global Water’s approach and recognition of the company’s performance as a utility owner has resulted in numerous awards, including national recognition as a ‘Utility of the Future Today’ for its superior water reuse approach by a national consortium of water and conservation organizations led by the Water Environment Federation (WEF).