Southwest Water Company Acquires Two Austin-Area Water Utilities

Updated 9:00 AM ET October 2, 2000

WEST COVINA, Calif. (BUSINESS WIRE) - Southwest Water Company acquired two water and wastewater utilities for $4 million in common stock on October 1, 2000.

The acquisition of Windermere Utility Company and Hornsby Bend Utility Company will enable Southwest Water to expand its already strong presence in a rapidly growing area in the suburbs of Austin, Texas. The Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission has approved the transaction.

"Owning these utilities is of significant benefit to Southwest Water," said Anton C. Garnier, president and chief executive officer. "They serve an area that has been designated as a preferred growth corridor by the City of Austin. Therefore, we are very excited about the opportunities for future expansion."

Windermere and Hornsby Bend currently provide water and wastewater service to approximately 4,000 homes. ECO Resources Inc., Southwest Water's contract operations subsidiary, will continue to provide management and operational services to the two utilities.

Currently, ECO Resources manages and operates approximately 40 water and wastewater systems in the immediate Austin area, providing service to approximately 100,000 people.

Southwest Water has another investment in Austin's preferred growth corridor. The company is a 50 percent owner of a venture, Metro H2O, which anticipates providing wholesale water and wastewater services in the next 10 to 18 months. To date, three governmental entities have signed 40-year agreements with Metro H2O.

Southwest Water Company provides a broad range of services, including water production and distribution, wastewater collection and treatment, and utility submetering. The company owns regulated public utilities and also serves cities, utility districts and private companies under contract. More than a million people in 29 states from coast to coast depend on Southwest Water for high-quality, reliable service.

Statements contained in this news release that are not based on historical fact are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. (These statements are only predictions.) Actual events or results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements as a result of known and unknown risks and uncertainties facing the company. Although the company believes that its expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, there can be no assurance that actual results will not differ materially from its expectations. Factors that could cause actual results to differ from expectations include: (i) the ability to increase rates; (ii) anticipated growth rates; (iii) capital expenditures and (iv) other factors referenced in Securities and Exchange Commission filings of the company.

Contact: Southwest Water Company, West Covina, Calif. Peter J. Moerbeek, 626/915-1551 www.southwestwater.com or Coffin Communications Group, Sherman Oaks, Calif. Martin Halsall, 818/789-0100 www.coffincg.com