Straight from the Tap

2018 Suburban Water Main Renewal Projects


Cleveland Water’s $26 million annual capital investment in buried infrastructure not only covers the City of Cleveland but also the suburban cities that we provide direct service to. Water main projects in these cities are funded through the Suburban Water Main Renewal Program.

In 2007, Cleveland Water partnered with the Suburban Water Council of Governments to launch the Suburban Water Main Renewal Program (SWMRP) to renew local water mains in direct service suburbs.

Before Cleveland Water instituted this program, suburban governments owned water mains smaller than 20 inches in their respective communities. While Cleveland Water was responsible for maintenance and repair of broken mains, suburban communities were financially responsible for replacing or rehabilitating the infrastructure.

With the SWMRP in place, suburbs now have a way to get their water mains replaced at no direct cost to them. To join the program, suburbs must enter into a restated Water Service Agreement (WSA) that transfers ownership of their distribution system to Cleveland Water. In addition, they must also enter into a Municipal Utility District agreement with the City of Cleveland.

Cleveland Water then takes over the responsibility of making capital improvements to the water distribution system in those suburbs. Accordingly, we have committed capital funds to finance water main projects under the program. Twice each year, eligible suburbs can submit applications for proposed projects in their community. Projects are chosen based on an objective scoring model.

While Cleveland Water provides project funding and oversight, each local suburb usually manages the design and construction process. SWMRP funds are often used to leverage additional Ohio Public Works Commission funding for sewer or roadway projects that are done simultaneously with the water main work.

Since the program’s inception, Cleveland Water has facilitated substantial improvements to the water infrastructure throughout the 35 participating communities. Initially, $10 million per year was allocated for the program. With growing demand for participation, Cleveland Water voluntarily increased the amount to $15 million per year. To date, almost $130 million has been invested in water main renewal and replacement.  

Projects awarded funding for Spring 2018 were announced at the beginning of April and a second round of projects will be announced in the Fall. A list of all SWMRP will soon be published on our website.