Town of Portland – Water Operations (2017M-45)

Issued Date
November 22, 2017

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to review the Town’s water operations for the period January 1, 2014 through January 25, 2017.


The Town of Portland is located in Chautauqua County and has a population of approximately 4,800. The Town is governed by an elected five-member Town Board. Budgeted appropriations for 2017 total approximately $2.3 million.

Key Findings

  • The Town’s unaccounted-for water over the past two years was approximately 38 million gallons, or 40 percent of total production.
  • Inaccurate master meters and customer meters have contributed to the unaccounted-for water.
  • The Town is not billing all customers for water use.
  • Water Districts 1, 3 and 7 reported deficit fund balances as of December 31, 2016, and all but two water districts realized operating deficits in 2016.

Key Recommendations

  • Adopt written policies and procedures for periodically measuring the water loss in the water system, and investigate and correct the causes of unaccounted-for water if it is cost-effective to do so.
  • Ensure that water customer meters are working properly and that master meters are working properly and are recalibrated as needed.
  • Ensure that the Town is billing all active customers for water use.
  • Ensure that water rents, penalties and other revenues cover the cost of operation and maintenance for each water district.