The Utilities Board of the City of Gulf Shores (Gulf Shores Utilities) is a municipal corporation governed by a Board of Directors. The Board Members are appointed by Gulf Shores City Council for a six year term and serve without pay. Once appointed by City Council, a board member may not be removed by the City Council.
The Utilities Board is empowered to set usage rates, policies and procedures by which Gulf Shores Utilities operates. Gulf Shores Utilities’ sole source of revenue is from the operation of water and sewer utilities. No funding is provided by the City, County, State or Federal Government. Likewise, Gulf Shores Utilities is solely responsible for its debt, capital expenditures and operational expenses.
The Gulf Shores Utilities water & sewer service area covers from County Road 10 southward to the Gulf of Mexico and from the Gulf State Park to Historical Fort Morgan.
The Board’s primary objective is to provide a safe and economical source of potable water and sewer disposal system to its customers. When emergency situations arise, such as a hurricane, special precautions must be taken to ensure the safety of our personnel and the integrity of our utility systems. Therefore, safety procedures before a disaster will have a direct effect on the ability to provide utility services afterwards.
The optimal means to safeguard against aftermath problems for water service is to close the system down in the most prone areas of destruction. While the Board does not want its customers to be out of service, the result of a water main break at a single location, that could drain the water storage supply, would have a devastating effect on the entire system. Also, pre-hurricane preparation by our customers can provide relief during and after a disaster.
Although the availability of electricity has some effect on our water and sewer systems, with the purchase of generators and by-pass pumping equipment, GSU is more self sufficient. Because the sewer system is not a completely closed system, it is affected by flooding which can limit its functioning capacity. Because of this, our sewer system is affected more after a disaster. Of course, flood waters must recede before sewer service can be restored to customers in the affected areas.
Some areas of our system, that are gravity, will be able to utilize their sewer service until the system becomes overloaded. It may be required to discontinue water service in areas where the sewer system is not operational, to avoid additional overload to the sewer system. Therefore, the pre-disaster preparation can be of vital importance and the conservative use afterward will facilitate a faster recovery.