SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
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Indicate the number of shares outstanding of each of the registrant’s classes of common stock, as of the latest practicable date: November 10, 2023 –
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
The information required by Part III is incorporated by reference from the registrant’s definitive proxy statement for the 2024 Annual Meeting of Shareholders, which will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days of the close of the fiscal year ended August 31, 2023. Alternatively, we may include such information in an amendment to this annual report on Form 10-K.
Table of Contents
Statements that are not historical facts contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, or incorporated by reference into this Annual Report on Form 10-K, are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). The words “anticipate,” “seek,” “project,” “future,” “likely,” “believe,” “may,” “should,” “could,” “will,” “estimate,” “expect,” “plan,” “intend” and similar expressions, as they relate to us, are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include statements relating to, among other things:
|●||future water supply needs in Colorado and how such needs will be met;|
|●||anticipated revenue from our commercial water sales;|
|●||anticipated increases in residential and commercial demand for water services and competition for these services;|
|●||estimated population increases in the Denver metropolitan area and the South Platte River basin;|
|●||increased demand for single-family rental homes;|
|●||plans for, and the efficiency of, development of our Sky Ranch property;|
|●||our competitive advantage;|
|●||the impact of individual housing and economic cycles on the number of connections we can serve with our water;|
|●||the number of new water connections needed to recover the costs of our water supplies;|
|●||the number of units planned for development at Sky Ranch;|
|●||the timing of the completion of construction and sale of finished lots at Sky Ranch;|
|●||the number of lots expected to be delivered in a fiscal period;|
|●||anticipated financial results, including anticipated increases in customers and revenue, from development of our Sky Ranch property;|
|●||estimated tap fees to be generated from the development of the various phases of Sky Ranch;|
|●||anticipated expansion and rental dates for our single-family rental homes;|
|●||anticipated revenues and cash flows from our single-family rental homes;|
|●||timing of and interpretation of royalties to the State Board of Land Commissioners;|
|●||participation in regional water projects, including “WISE” (as defined herein) and the timing and availability of water from, and projected costs related to, WISE;|
|●||increases in future water or wastewater tap fees;|
|●||our ability to collect fees and charges from customers and other users;|
|●||the estimated amount of reimbursable costs for Sky Ranch and the collectability of reimbursables;|
|●||anticipated timing and amount of, and sources of funding for, (i) capital expenditures to construct infrastructure and increase production capacities, (ii) compliance with water, environmental and other regulations, and (iii) operations, including delivery and treatment of water and wastewater;|
|●||capital required and costs to develop Sky Ranch;|
|●||anticipated development of other phases concurrently with the second phase of Sky Ranch;|
|●||plans to provide water for drilling and hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells;|
|●||changes in oil and gas drilling activity on our property, on the Lowry Ranch, or in the surrounding areas;|
|●||estimated costs of earthwork, erosion control, streets, drainage and landscaping at Sky Ranch;|
|●||the anticipated revenues from customers in the Rangeview District, Sky Ranch Districts, and Elbert & Highway 86 District;|
|●||plans for the use and development of our water assets and potential delays;|
|●||estimated number of connections we can serve with our existing water rights;|
|●||factors affecting demand for water;|
|●||our ability to meet customer demands in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way;|
|●||our ability to reduce the amount of up-front construction costs for water and wastewater systems;|
|●||costs and plans for treatment of water and wastewater;|
|●||anticipated number of deep-water wells required to continue expanding and developing our Rangeview Water Supply;|
|●||expenditures for expenses and capital needs of the Rangeview District;|
|●||regional cooperation among area water providers in the development of new water supplies and water storage, transmission and distribution systems as the most cost-effective way to expand and enhance service capacities;|
|●||plans to drill water walls into aquifers located beneath the Lowry Ranch and the timing and estimated costs of such a build out;|
|●||sufficiency of tap fees to fund infrastructure costs of the Rangeview District;|
|●||our ability to assist Colorado “Front Range” water providers in meeting current and future water needs;|
|●||plans to use raw water, effluent water or reclaimed water for agricultural and irrigation uses;|
|●||factors that may impact labor and material costs;|
|●||use of third parties to construct water and wastewater facilities and Sky Ranch lot improvements;|
|●||plans to utilize fixed-price contracts;|
|●||estimated supply capacity of our water assets;|
|●||our belief that we have exceeded market expectations with the delivery of our lots at Sky Ranch;|
|●||the impact of future cyberattacks on our business, financial condition, operating results and reputation;|
|●||our ability to comply with permit requirements and environmental regulations and the cost of such compliance;|
|●||the impact of water quality, solid waste disposal and environmental regulations on our financial condition and results of operations;|
|●||our belief that several long-term land development and housing factors remain positive;|
|●||our belief that Sky Ranch is better positioned to navigate the changing market then competitors;|
|●||the impact of the downturn in the homebuilding market and increased interest rates on our business and financial condition;|
|●||the recoverability of water and wastewater service costs from rates;|
|●||forfeitures of option grants, vesting of non-vested options and the fair value of option awards;|
|●||the sufficiency of our working capital and financing sources to fund our operations;|
|●||estimated costs of public improvements to be funded by Pure Cycle and constructed on behalf of the Sky Ranch Community Authority Board;|
|●||the anticipated development of the Sky Ranch Academy and the timing of enrollment of upper grades;|
|●||service life of constructed facilities;|
|●||accounting estimates and the impact of new accounting pronouncements;|
|●||the effectiveness of our disclosure controls and procedures and our internal controls over financial reporting.|
Forward-looking statements reflect our current views with respect to future events and are subject to certain risks, uncertainties, and assumptions. There are no assurances that any of our expectations will be realized and actual results could differ materially from those in such statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ from those contemplated by such forward-looking statements include, without limitation:
|●||outbreaks of disease, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and related stay-at-home orders, quarantine policies and restrictions on travel, trade and business operations, and the related impacts to the general economy;|
|●||political and economic instability, whether resulting from natural disasters, wars, terrorism, pandemics or other sources;|
|●||our ability to successfully expand our single-family home rental business and rent our single-family homes at rates sufficient to cover our costs;|
|●||the timing of new home construction and other development in the areas where we may sell our water, which in turn may be impacted by credit availability and rising inflation and interest rates;|
|●||changes in employment levels, job and personal income growth and household debt-to-income levels;|
|●||changes in consumer confidence generally and confidence of potential home buyers in particular;|
|●||declines in property values which impact tax revenue to the Sky Ranch Community Authority Board which would impact their ability to repay us;|
|●||changes in the supply of available new or existing homes and other housing alternatives, such as apartments and other residential rental property;|
|●||timing of oil and gas development in the areas where we sell our water;|
|●||the market price of homes, rental rates, and water, oil and gas prices;|
|●||changes in customer consumption patterns;|
|●||changes in applicable statutory and regulatory requirements;|
|●||changes in governmental policies and procedures, including with respect to land use and environmental and tax matters;|
|●||changes in interest rates;|
|●||changes in private and federal mortgage financing programs and lending practices;|
|●||uncertainties in the estimation of water available under decrees;|
|●||uncertainties in the estimation of number of connections we can service with our existing water supplies;|
|●||uncertainties in the estimation of costs of delivery of water and treatment of wastewater;|
|●||uncertainties in the estimation of the service life of our systems;|
|●||uncertainties in the estimation of costs of construction projects;|
|●||uncertainties in the amount of reimbursable costs we may ultimately collect;|
|●||the strength and financial resources of our competitors;|
|●||our ability to find and retain skilled personnel;|
|●||climatic and weather conditions, including floods, droughts and freezing conditions;|
|●||turnover of elected and appointed officials and delays caused by political concerns and government procedures;|
|●||availability and cost of labor, material and equipment;|
|●||engineering and geological problems;|
|●||environmental risks and regulations;|
|●||our ability to raise capital;|
|●||changes in corporate tax rates;|
|●||our ability to negotiate contracts with customers;|
|●||uncertainties in water court rulings;|
|●||security and cyberattacks, including unauthorized access to confidential information on our information technology systems; and|
|●||the factors described under “Risk Factors” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.|
We undertake no obligation, and disclaim any obligation, to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether because of new information, future events or otherwise. All forward-looking statements are expressly qualified by this cautionary statement.
Item 1 – Business
Unless otherwise specified or the context otherwise requires, any reference to “Pure Cycle,” the “Company,” “we,” “us” or “our” is to Pure Cycle Corporation and its wholly-owned subsidiaries on a consolidated basis.
We are a diversified water and wastewater service provider, land developer, and home rental company. We provide wholesale water and wastewater services in the Denver Colorado area as well as develop land we own into master planned communities and develop single-family homes for rent. Each of our businesses, providing water and wastewater services, land development and single-family home rentals generate attractive recurring monthly income.
For more than 30 years, we have accumulated and continue to accumulate a portfolio of valuable water rights and land interests along the Front Range of Colorado. We have added an extensive network of wholesale water production, storage, treatment and distribution systems, and wastewater collection and treatment systems that we operate and maintain to serve domestic, commercial, and industrial customers in the eastern Denver metropolitan region (the illustration below notes the general area of our land and water assets). Our primary land asset, known as Sky Ranch, is in one of the most active development areas in the Denver metropolitan region along the rapidly developing I-70 corridor, and we are developing lots at Sky Ranch for residential, commercial, retail, and light industrial uses. Sky Ranch is zoned to include up to 3,200 single family and multifamily homes, parks, open spaces, trails, recreational centers, schools, and over two million square feet of retail, commercial and light industrial space, all of which will be serviced by our water and wastewater services segment. More recently we have retained lots in our Sky Ranch development for our single-family rental business where we build single-family homes for rent under annual lease agreements. With 14 homes currently owned and rented, we continue to expand this new line of business which may include more than 200 rental homes at Sky Ranch over the next several years.
Through our land development segment, we develop master planned communities creating value and opportunity for homeowners, and businesses who also become water and wastewater customers along the busy I-70 corridor of the Denver metropolitan area. Our land development segment was borne from our desire to capitalize on the increase in the value water provides to raw land in the Colorado Front Range.
Our land development activities provide a strategic complement to our water and wastewater resource and service business, and vice versa. One of the most significant components of any master planned community in Colorado is its ability to bring high quality domestic water, irrigation water, and wastewater services to the community. Having control over the water resources in conjunction with developing the land enables us to efficiently build and maintain infrastructure for potable water and irrigation water distribution,
wastewater and storm water collection, roads, parks, open spaces, and other investments. It also enables us to efficiently align construction and delivery of these investments with phased take-down commitments from our home builder customers, minimizing expensive excess capacity or downtime with these significant investments. By being the landowner, land developer, and water/wastewater provider, we believe we offer a more efficient development timeline, with more competitive lot pricing, which results in a more affordable and marketable for sale and for rent home product.
Our rental homes, water and land assets are designed, constructed, operated, and maintained by us. Our water, land development and home rental activities are each a distinct line of business which are operated as separate but are cohesive business segments. We refer to these segments as our water and wastewater resource development segment, our land development segment, and our single-family rental segment all of which are described in greater detail below. To date, within our three business segments, we have sold or have contracted for sale with national home builders approximately 1,350 lots, we have constructed and operated and maintain the water and wastewater systems with capacity to serve approximately 2,500 residential equivalent units and we have constructed and are renting 14 homes.
Water and Wastewater Resource Development Segment
We own or control the water supply and infrastructure required to (i) withdraw, treat, store and deliver water (i.e., water rights, wells, diversion structures, pipelines, reservoirs and treatment facilities required to extract and use the water); (ii) collect, treat, store and reuse wastewater (i.e., we design, build, operate and maintain water treatment and wastewater reclamation facilities); and (iii) treat and deliver reclaimed water for irrigation and industrial use (i.e., we use and reuse our valuable water supplies through non-potable irrigation systems to irrigate parks and open spaces).
Our water supplies, which can be used in our exclusive service area (further described below) and other areas along the eastern I-70 corridor, enable us to add significant value to our land development segment by bringing water to land that does not have water for development, enhancing the value of that land, as well as our water resources, to a greater extent than either a traditional water utility or land developer can separately. Having a valuable portfolio of water in a water short region provides us with a competitive advantage over other land developers who may be required to buy expensive water, pay significant fees to another water provider, in lieu of buying water, and/or wait for a city to annex property and extend costly water and wastewater infrastructure to the property before development can begin. Having our own water supply gives us more control over the land entitlement and development process and the ability to capitalize on the value of our water rights. In addition, we have significant in-house expertise in engineering, operations, and land development which allows us to take a hands-on approach to the water and land development process.
We mainly provide wholesale water and wastewater services to local governmental entities that in turn provide residential and commercial water and wastewater services to customers in their communities. Our largest customer is the Rangeview Metropolitan District (Rangeview District). We have the exclusive right to provide water and wastewater services to the Rangeview District’s customers in its exclusive 24,000-acre Lowry Ranch Service Area in the southeastern Denver metropolitan area pursuant to various agreements that are described in greater detail below. As of August 31, 2023, through the Rangeview District, we provide service to more than 1,100 single-family equivalent (SFE) water connections and more than 885 SFE wastewater connections. These connections are located mainly in the southeastern metropolitan Denver area on the Lowry Ranch, at our Sky Ranch development and other nearby areas where we have acquired service rights. With the water rights we own and control, we believe we can serve an estimated 60,000 SFEs. An SFE is a customer, whether residential, commercial, or industrial, that imparts a demand on our water or wastewater systems based on the demand of a family of four persons living in a single-family house on a standard sized lot. For some instances herein, as context dictates, the term “acre-feet” (which is approximately 326,000 gallons) is used to designate an annual decreed amount of water available during a typical year.
In addition to our domestic customers, we provide raw water for industrial oil and gas operations. Multiple operators lease more than 135,000 acres in and adjacent to our Service Area with more than 100 wells and miles of oil and gas collection lines. Sales of water to industrial customers in the oil and gas industry are unpredictable and fluctuate dramatically but provide a high margin attractive revenues for our water assets. Beginning in late 2021 and continuing through 2023, we saw a significant recovery in the oil and gas markets, and this resulted in additional water sales to oil and gas clients in our fiscal 2023 and 2022.
Land Development Segment
In 2010 we purchased approximately 930 acres of land along the I-70 corridor known as Sky Ranch. The illustration below provides our planned overall layout of Sky Ranch. We acquired Sky Ranch with the intention of selling lots to home builders to add value to our core water and wastewater operations by adding the ultimate purchasers of the homes as our water customers. Sky Ranch is being developed in phases over several years, which began in June 2017, when we entered into agreements with three national home builders to sell the initial residential lots at Sky Ranch (referred to as Phase 1) and has continued to expand as we sell lots to national homebuilders now up to 1,350 residential lots. We divided our land development into phases now working on Phase 2 which is further divided into subphases that we refer to as Phases 2A, 2B, 2C and 2D to optimize the delivery of infrastructure and lots to our home builder customers on a real time basis without excess inventories of lots and homes.
Illustrative map of the Sky Ranch Master Planned Community
As of August 31, 2023, we have delivered to homebuilders 738 finished lots, retaining 14 lots for our single-family rental segment, are under construction on 211 lots scheduled for delivery in fiscal 2024, and have under contract an additional 410 lots scheduled for delivery in 2025/2026 at Sky Ranch. As of August 31, 2023, homebuilders have built and sold 596 homes at Sky Ranch, with approximately 90 additional homes under construction. All Phase 1 lots in Sky Ranch are complete and all public improvements (roads, parks, open spaces, storm drain facilities, etc.) have been accepted by the various governmental entities that will control and maintain that infrastructure.
As part of our land development activities, we formed a new Charter School, Sky Ranch Academy, for the purpose of partnering with the Bennett School District 29J to operate a new K-12 Charter School to be located at Sky Ranch. Sky Ranch Academy has partnered with National Heritage Academy (NHA) to operate the charter, NHA brings more than 25 years of experience providing educational services at more than 100 schools in nine states, educating more than 60,000 students including five other schools in Colorado. Sky
Ranch Academy opened in August 2023 serving grades K-7. We anticipate the opening of the high school which will serve grades 9-12 for the school year 2025.
During the past several years the housing market and home prices in Colorado grew at double-digit rates. In recent months this growth has tapered off in many market segments, specifically in higher priced homes. As mortgage rates increase, and the average price of homes in Colorado continues to rise, we believe rental homes are increasingly attractive to provide affordable housing options to the growing population in Colorado. Additionally, more than any other time in the USA, we have seen a shift from people having to rent to people choosing to rent. We believe this shift will continue to shape the housing market for the foreseeable future. To capitalize on the growing single-family rental market, we launched our single-family rental division. We contracted with a local home builder to construct 14 single-family detached homes at Sky Ranch that we retained for use in our rental division. These rental homes represent the initial investment into our third operating segment as we expect to add 65 homes in Phase 2 with the ability to add more than 200 homes as Sky Ranch builds out. We believe having ongoing recurring rental income, in a community which is experiencing double digit growth in home values and in which we are actively involved adds value to the community and provides tremendous upside for growing our balance sheet and diversifying our recurring revenue streams.
Our Water Assets
We use our valuable and growing water and land assets within our water and land development operations. Our water assets are summarized in the table below and further discussed in this section:
Rangeview Water Supply
Lost Creek supply
|(1)||Pending completion by the “Land Board” (defined below) of documentation related to the exercise of our right to substitute 1,650 acre-feet of our groundwater for a comparable amount of surface water.|
|(2)||We have the exclusive right to use this water to provide water services to customers on and off the Lowry Ranch, as described further below.|
|(3)||Amount of WISE water available for our use may vary by year and is described in greater detail below.|
Rangeview Water Supply
The Rangeview Water Supply consists of 26,985 acre-feet of tributary surface water, non-tributary groundwater, and not non-tributary groundwater, and approximately 26,000 acre-feet of adjudicated reservoir sites. Terminology typically used in the water industry that may help readers understand water rights are detailed below.
|●||Non-Tributary Groundwater – groundwater located outside the boundaries of any designated groundwater basins in existence on January 1, 1985, the withdrawal of which will not, within one hundred years of continuous withdrawal, deplete the flow of a natural stream at an annual rate greater than one-tenth of one percent of the annual rate of withdrawal.|
|●||Not Non-Tributary Groundwater – statutorily defined as groundwater located within those portions of the Dawson, Denver, Arapahoe, and Laramie Fox-Hill aquifers outside of designated basins that does not meet the definition of “non-tributary.”|
|●||Tributary Groundwater – all water located in an aquifer that is hydrologically connected to a natural stream such that depletion has an impact on the surface stream.|
|●||Designated Groundwater – renewable and sustainable groundwater from certain areas of Colorado designated by the Colorado Ground Water Commission subject to management under the Colorado Ground Water Commission’s rules.|
|●||Tributary Surface Water – water on the surface of the ground flowing in a stream or river system.|
The Rangeview Water Supply is principally located in the southeast Denver metropolitan area at the “Lowry Ranch,” which is land owned by the State Board of Land Commissioners (Land Board) and is described below.
We acquired our Rangeview Water Supply through the following agreements:
|●||The 1996 Amended and Restated Lease Agreement between the Land Board and the Rangeview District, which was superseded by the 2014 Amended and Restated Lease Agreement, dated July 10, 2014 (Lease), among us, the Land Board, and the Rangeview District;|
|●||The 1996 Service Agreement between us and the Rangeview District, which was superseded by the Amended and Restated Service Agreement, dated July 11, 2014, between us and the Rangeview District (Lowry Service Agreement), which allows us to provide water service to the Rangeview District’s customers located on the Lowry Ranch;|
|●||The Agreement for Sale of non-tributary and not non-tributary groundwater between us and the Rangeview District (Export Agreement), pursuant to which we purchased a portion of the Rangeview Water Supply that we refer to as our “Export Water” because the Export Agreement allows us to export this water from the Lowry Ranch to supply water to nearby communities; and|
|●||The 1997 Wastewater Service Agreement between us and Rangeview District (Lowry Wastewater Agreement), which allows us to provide wastewater service to the Rangeview District’s customers on the Lowry Ranch.|
The Lease, the Lowry Service Agreement, the Export Agreement, and the Lowry Wastewater Agreement are collectively referred to as the “Rangeview Water Agreements.”
We provide wholesale water service and wastewater service to customers located both on and outside of the Lowry Ranch, including customers of the Rangeview District and other governmental entities, and industrial and commercial customers. Pursuant to service agreements with Rangeview (including the Lowry Service Agreement, the Lowry Wastewater Agreement and the Non-Lowry Service Agreement described below), we design, construct, operate and maintain the Rangeview District’s water and wastewater systems that are used to provide water and wastewater services to the Rangeview District’s customers located within the Rangeview District’s exclusive service area, and other approved areas. Subject to the terms and conditions of our agreements with the Rangeview District, we are the exclusive water and wastewater provider to the Rangeview District’s customers. For the Rangeview District’s customers located on the Lowry Ranch, we operate both the water and the wastewater systems during our contract period on behalf of the Rangeview District, which owns the facilities for both systems. At the expiration of our contract term in 2081, ownership of the water system facilities located on the Lowry Ranch used to deliver water to customers on the Lowry Ranch will revert to the Land Board, with the Rangeview District retaining ownership of any wastewater facilities located on the Lowry Ranch. The water system and related facilities used to deliver water to customers off the Lowry Ranch (including Export Water) will remain with us and the Rangeview District.
In addition to our valuable water rights, the Rangeview Water Agreements grant us the right to use approximately 26,000 acre-feet of reservoir capacity in two valuable surface reservoir sites to provide water service to customers both on and off the Lowry Ranch.
The fairgrounds water represents groundwater rights we acquired from Arapahoe County in conjunction with us entering into water service agreements with the County for the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds. We use this water with our overall Rangeview Water Supply for supplying water services throughout our service area.
Sky Ranch Water Supply
As part of the acquisition of the Sky Ranch land in 2010, we also acquired the 828 acre-feet of water located beneath the property. The water is being used as part of our overall water distribution system, which includes providing services to the Sky Ranch Master Planned Community.
Lost Creek Water Supply
The “Lost Creek Water” is comprised of water rights we acquired in 2019 and 2022 in the Lost Creek Designated Ground Water Basin. In August 2019, we purchased 300 acre-feet of designated groundwater and 220 acre-feet of groundwater and ditch water. In June 2022, we purchased 370 acre-feet of designated groundwater. All the Lost Creek Water has been changed for use as municipal/industrial water, additionally we have filed an application with the Colorado Water Court to use the Lost Creek Water to augment our municipal/industrial water supplies at the Lowry Ranch. Our plans are to consolidate our Lost Creek Water with our Rangeview Water Supply to provide service to the Rangeview District’s customers both on and off the Lowry Ranch.
The Lowry Ranch Property
The Lowry Ranch consists of nearly 26,000 acres, or 40 square miles, of primarily undeveloped land in unincorporated Arapahoe County. It is located 20 miles southeast of downtown Denver and is one of the largest contiguous parcels under single ownership next to a major metropolitan area in the United States. Pursuant to our agreements with the Land Board, we, together with the Rangeview District, have the exclusive rights to provide water and wastewater services to 24,000 acres of the Lowry Ranch.
The Rangeview District
The Rangeview District is a quasi-municipal corporation and political subdivision of the State of Colorado formed in 1986 for the purpose of providing water and wastewater services to the Lowry Ranch and other approved areas. The Rangeview District is governed by an elected board of directors. Eligible voters and persons eligible to serve as directors of the Rangeview District must own an interest in property within the boundaries of the Rangeview District. We own certain rights and real property interests which encompass the current boundaries of the Rangeview District. The current directors of the Rangeview District are Mark W. Harding (our President, Chief Executive Officer, and a director), Scott E. Lehman (an employee of ours), Dirk Lashnits (an employee of ours), one independent board member, and one vacancy. Pursuant to Colorado law, directors may receive $100 for each board meeting they attend, up to a maximum of $1,600 per year. Messrs. Harding, Lehman, and Lashnits have all elected to forego these payments.
Land Board Royalties and Fees
Water Deliveries – Pursuant to the Rangeview Water Agreements, the Land Board is entitled to royalty payments based on a percentage of revenues earned from water sales that use the Rangeview Water Supply. The calculation of royalties depends on the location of the customer and whether the customer is a public or private entity. The Land Board does not receive a royalty from wastewater services. When we develop, operate, and deliver water from our Rangeview Water Supply, the Land Board receives royalties on the gross revenues at a rate of 12% from water delivered to all customers located on the Lowry Ranch and to all private customers located off the Lowry Ranch and 10% from public entity customers located off the Lowry Ranch. In the event that (i) metered production of water used on the Lowry Ranch in any calendar year exceeds 13,000 acre-feet or (ii) 10,000 acres of land on the Lowry Ranch have been rezoned to non-agricultural use, finally platted and water tap agreements have been entered into with respect to all improvements to be constructed on such acreage, the Land Board may elect, at its option, to receive (in lieu of its royalty of 12% from customers on the Lowry Ranch), 50% of the collective net profits (ours and the Rangeview District’s) derived from the sale or other disposition of water on the Lowry Ranch. To date, neither of these conditions has been met, and such conditions are not likely to be met any time soon. In addition to royalties on the sale of metered water deliveries, the Land Board will receive a royalty of two percent (2%) of the gross amount received from the sale of water taps to be served by the Rangeview Water Supply, except for the sale of any taps to Sky Ranch. Escalated royalties will be owed if we sell our Export Water outright rather than delivering water service. We do not currently anticipate selling our Export Water.
Annual Production Fee – We are also required to pre-pay the Land Board a minimum annual water royalty of approximately $46,000 per year, which is credited against earned royalties each year.
Annual Rent – We pay the Land Board annual rent under the Lease of $8,400, which amount is increased every five years based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers. The next increase will occur in 2026.
South Metropolitan Water Supply Authority (SMWSA) and Water Infrastructure Supply Efficiency Partnership (WISE)
SMWSA is a municipal water authority in Colorado organized to pursue the acquisition and development of water supplies on behalf of its members, which include the Rangeview District. SMWSA members include 14 Denver area water providers in Arapahoe and Douglas Counties. Pursuant to certain agreements between us and the Rangeview District, we agreed to provide funding to enable the Rangeview District to acquire rights to water projects undertaken by SMWSA, including rights to water supplied pursuant to the cooperative water project known as WISE. WISE provides for the purchase and construction of infrastructure (such as pipelines, water storage facilities, water treatment facilities, and other appurtenant facilities) to deliver water to and among the 10 members of the South Metro WISE Authority (SMWA), consisting of the Rangeview District and nine other SMWSA members, from the City and County of Denver acting through its Board of Water Commissioners (Denver Water) and the City of Aurora acting by and through its utility enterprise (Aurora Water). In exchange for funding the Rangeview District’s WISE obligations, we have the exclusive right to use and reuse the Rangeview District’s share of WISE water (approximately 9%) and infrastructure to provide water service to the Rangeview District’s customers and to receive the revenue from providing those services. Our current WISE subscription entitles us to approximately three million gallons per day of transmission pipeline capacity and increasing acre-feet of water per year as noted below.
2026 and thereafter
The cost of the water to the members is based on the water rates charged by Aurora Water and can be adjusted each January 1. As of January 1, 2022, WISE water was $6.13 per thousand gallons and such rate remained in effect through calendar 2022. Effective, January 1, 2023, WISE water increased to $6.48 per thousand gallons, which will be in effect for all of calendar 2023. In addition, we pay certain system operational and construction costs, which is subject to the percentage of Rangeview District’s share (approximately 9%). If a WISE member, including the Rangeview District, does not need its WISE water each year or a member needs additional water, the members can trade and/or buy and sell water amongst themselves. For the year ended August 31, 2023, we, through the Rangeview District, purchased a total of just over 199 acre-feet of WISE water for $0.4 million. For the year ended August 31, 2022, we, through the Rangeview District, purchased a total of just under 360 acre-feet of WISE water for $0.7 million.
During the years ended August 31, 2023 and 2022, we provided $0.6 and $0.9 million of financing to the Rangeview District to fund the Rangeview District’s obligation to purchase WISE water rights and pay for operational and construction charges. Ongoing funding requirements are dependent on the WISE water subscription amount and the Rangeview District’s allocable share of the operational and overhead costs of SMWA and construction activities related to delivery of WISE water.
Additionally, in 2021 the Rangeview District entered into an agreement with WISE to construct special facilities for $0.6 million. The construction of these special facilities began in our fiscal 2021 and was completed in our fiscal 2022. We funded the construction of the special facilities, and the Rangeview District remitted the entire $0.6 million it received to us.
East Cherry Creek Valley System
Pursuant to a 1982 agreement, the Rangeview District may purchase water from East Cherry Creek Valley Water and Sanitation District’s (ECCV) Land Board system. ECCV’s Land Board system is comprised of eight wells and more than ten miles of buried water pipeline located on the Lowry Ranch. In May 2012, we entered into an agreement to operate and maintain the ECCV facilities allowing us to utilize the system to provide water to commercial and industrial customers, including hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas wells. The agreement allows us to use the ECCV system through April 30, 2032, in exchange for a flat monthly fee and a fee per 1,000 gallons of water produced from ECCV’s system, which is included in the water usage fees charged to customers.
Sources of Water and Wastewater Service Revenues
Our water and wastewater resource development segment generates revenue from the following sources, described in greater detail below:
|●||Monthly metered water usage and wastewater treatment fees|
|●||One-time water and wastewater tap (connection) fees|
|●||Construction and special facility funding fees|
|●||Consulting fees, and|
|●||Industrial – oil and gas operations fees|
Monthly Metered Water Usage and Wastewater Treatment Fees
Monthly metered water usage fees are assessed to customers based on actual deliveries each month. Water usage fees are based on a tiered pricing structure that provides for higher prices as customers use greater amounts of water. The water usage fees for customers on the Lowry Ranch are noted in the tables below:
Current Lowry Ranch tiered potable water usage pricing structure
Base charge per SFE per month
Price ($ per thousand gallons used per month)
0 gallons to 15,000 gallons
15,000 gallons to 30,000 gallons
30,000 gallons and above
Current Lowry Ranch tiered non-potable water usage pricing structure
Base charge per SFE per month
Price ($ per thousand gallons used per month)
0 gallons to 15,000 gallons
15,000 gallons to 30,000 gallons
30,000 gallons and above
The figures in the table above reflect the amounts charged to the Rangeview District’s end-use customers on the Lowry Ranch. Pursuant to the Lease, the amounts charged by the Rangeview District to its end-use customers on the Lowry Ranch cannot exceed the average of similar rates and charges of three surrounding municipal water and wastewater service providers. In exchange for providing water service to the Rangeview District’s Lowry Ranch customers, we receive 98% of the usage charges received by the Rangeview District relating to water services after deducting the required royalty to the Land Board (described above at Rangeview Water Supply – Land Board Royalties and Fees).
The amounts charged by the Rangeview District to its end-use customers off the Lowry Ranch are determined pursuant to the Rangeview District’s service agreements with such customers and such rates may vary. In exchange for providing water service to the Rangeview District’s customers off the Lowry Ranch, we receive 98% of the usage charges received by the Rangeview District relating to water services after deducting any required royalty to the Land Board. The royalty to the Land Board is required for water service provided utilizing our Rangeview Water Supply, which includes most of our current customers off the Lowry Ranch except those at the Elbert & Highway 86 Commercial District (also known as “Wild Pointe” described below).
We sell hydrant water at a rate of $14.76 per thousand gallons to commercial and industrial customers via hydrant meters or the Company’s water fill stations.
We also collect other immaterial fees and charges from customers and other users to cover miscellaneous administrative and service expenses, such as application fees, review fees, reinspection fees, and permit fees.
In exchange for providing wastewater services, we receive 90% of the Rangeview District’s monthly wastewater treatment fees, as well as the right to use or sell the reclaimed water.
Water and Wastewater Tap Fees
We generate significant revenues from fees charged to customers to connect to our water and wastewater systems. These fees are known as tap fees. The tap fee is a non-refundable fee that is payable typically at the time a building permit is granted for construction of a home or business and authorizes the property to connect to the water or wastewater system. Once granted, the right stays with the property. We have no obligation to physically connect the property to the lines; this is typically done by the homebuilder. Once connected to the water and/or wastewater systems, the property has live service, and the customer can receive metered water deliveries from our system and send wastewater into our system. Thus, the customer has full control of the connection right as it can obtain all the benefits from this right. Our systems are “wholesale facilities,” namely those assets used to deliver water and wastewater to a service area or major regions or portions thereof. Wells, treatment plants, pump stations, tanks, reservoirs, transmission pipelines, and major sewage lift stations are typical examples of wholesale facilities.
The Rangeview District’s 2023 water tap fees are $30,977 per SFE, and its wastewater tap fees are $7,250. The Rangeview District assesses its tap and usage fees annually and adjusts the rates as necessary.
In exchange for providing water service to the Rangeview District’s customers using the Rangeview Water Supply (other than taps to Sky Ranch, which are exempt), we receive 98% of the Rangeview District’s tap fees and the Land Board receives the remaining two percent as a royalty. In exchange for providing wastewater services, whether to customers on or off the Lowry Ranch, we receive 100% of the Rangeview District’s wastewater tap fees.
Construction and Special Facility Funding Fees
Construction and Special Facility Funding fees are fees we receive, typically in advance, from developers for us to build infrastructure that is normally the responsibility of the developer because the facilities service only the developer’s property. Those type of facilities may include retail facilities, which distribute water to and collect wastewater from an individual subdivision or a community, and special facilities, which are required to extend services to an individual development and are not otherwise classified as a typical wholesale facility or retail facilities. Temporary infrastructure required prior to construction of permanent water and wastewater systems or transmission pipelines to transfer water from one location to another are examples of special facilities. Once we certify that the special facilities have been constructed in accordance with our design criteria, the developer dedicates the special facilities to the Rangeview District, and we operate and maintain the facilities on behalf of Rangeview.
Consulting fees are fees we receive, typically monthly, from municipalities and area water providers for whom we provide contract operation services.
Industrial – Oil and Gas Operations Fees
We provide water for oil and gas operators that are performing hydraulic fracturing, mainly in the Niobrara Formation on and around our Service Area and our Sky Ranch property. These fees are paid based on the metered gallons of water delivered. Oil and gas drilling in our area is affected by the price of oil and state, local and federal government regulations. The number of wells drilled vary from year to year. Each well utilizes between 10 and 20 million gallons of water during the hydraulic fracturing process, which equates to selling water to between approximately 100 and 200 homes for an entire year. With a large percentage of the acreage surrounding the Lowry Ranch in Arapahoe, Adams, Elbert, and portions of Douglas Counties already leased by oil companies, we anticipate continuing to provide water for drilling and hydraulic fracturing in the future.
Service to Customers Not on the Lowry Ranch
In addition to customers on the Lowry Ranch, we have an agreement with the Rangeview District to be its exclusive water and wastewater service provider throughout its Service Area. This includes the design, construction, operation and maintenance of water and wastewater systems to serve the Rangeview District’s customers located outside the Lowry Ranch Service Area (for example Wild
Pointe and Sky Ranch) (Non-Lowry Service Agreement). In exchange for providing water and wastewater services to the Rangeview District’s customers that are not on the Lowry Ranch, we receive 100% of water and wastewater tap fees, 98% of the water usage fees, and 90% of the monthly wastewater service and usage fees received by the Rangeview District from these customers, after deduction of royalties due to the Land Board, if applicable (i.e., if we use a portion of the Rangeview Water Supply, such as the Export Water, to provide service to such customers). We are currently not using the Rangeview Water Supply at Sky Ranch, but we may do so in the future, in which case water usage fees to be collected for such service would become subject to the Land Board royalty.
Sky Ranch Water and Wastewater Service – As described in more detail below, we are developing approximately 930 acres of land as a Master Planned Community known as Sky Ranch. Pursuant to the Non-Lowry Service Agreement, we are the exclusive provider of water and wastewater services to all current and future residents, businesses, and other water users at the Sky Ranch development.
Wild Pointe – Elbert & Highway 86 Commercial Metropolitan District – In 2017, we entered into an agreement with the Rangeview District, which had entered into an agreement with Elbert & Highway 86 Commercial Metropolitan District (Elbert 86 District), to operate and maintain a water system for residential and commercial customers at the Wild Pointe development in Elbert County. The water system includes two deep water wells, a pump station, treatment facility, storage facility, over eight miles of transmission lines, and over 450 acre-feet of water rights serving Wild Pointe. We provided $1.6 million in funding to acquire the exclusive rights to operate and maintain all the water facilities in exchange for payment of the remaining residential and commercial tap fees and annual water use fees. Service to Wild Pointe is governed by the Non-Lowry Service Agreement.
Our Land Development Assets – Sky Ranch
In 2010, we purchased approximately 930 acres of undeveloped land in unincorporated Arapahoe County, which we are actively developing as the master planned community known as Sky Ranch. With the property acquisition, we also acquired nearly 830 acre-feet of water beneath Sky Ranch and approximately 640 acres of oil and gas mineral rights. Sky Ranch is located 16 miles east of downtown Denver, four miles north of the Lowry Ranch, and four miles south of Denver International Airport.
Sky Ranch is zoned for residential, commercial, and retail uses, including up to 3,200 homes and more than two million square feet of commercial, retail, and light industrial development. See illustration above for the current layout of Sky Ranch. The development of Sky Ranch will occur in multiple filings and phases which will take several years to complete. As of August 31, 2023, we have delivered to homebuilders 738 finished lots, retaining 14 lots for our single-family rental segment, are under construction on 211 lots scheduled for delivery in fiscal 2024, and have under contract an additional 410 lots scheduled for delivery in 2025/2026 at Sky Ranch. As of August 31, 2023, homebuilders have built and sold 596 homes at Sky Ranch, with approximately 90 homes under construction. All Phase 1 lots in Sky Ranch are complete and all public improvements (roads, parks, open spaces, storm drain facilities, etc.) have been accepted by the various governmental entities that will control and maintain the infrastructure.
The total sales price for the 785 lots sold to the homebuilders in Phase 2 is $65.3 million, which is subject to price escalations depending on development timing which are not included in that figure. The total sales price for the 219 lots in Phase 2A is $18.4 million, which were completed in fiscal year 2022. See below for a description of the conditions that may limit our ability to receive reimbursables and a definition of the Sky Ranch CAB.
As the land developer, we are providing finished lots (i.e. lots ready for building permits to construct homes) to each of the home builders. We build, or contract to build, the roads, curbs, wet and dry utilities, storm drains, parks, open spaces, and other related improvements as part of a master planned community. Each builder is required to purchase water and wastewater taps for each lot from the Rangeview District at the time a building permit is issued. The cost of the water and wastewater tap for a lot depends on the size of the lot, the size of the house, and the amount of irrigated landscaping. Pursuant to the Non-Lowry Service Agreement, we receive all the water and wastewater tap fees from tap sales at Sky Ranch and 98% of the ongoing monthly water and 90% of ongoing monthly wastewater service revenues.
Public improvements, such as roads, parks, and water and sanitary sewer mains, storm sewer, and drainage improvements, that are shared by all homeowners in the development and not specific to any private finished lot are ultimately owned by the governmental metropolitan district or other municipality that is responsible for the maintenance of the improvements. Upon completion and acceptance of certain public improvements by the “Sky Ranch Districts” or the Sky Ranch CAB (both of which are defined below), we are entitled to receive reimbursement for the verified public improvement costs. Pursuant to certain agreements with the Sky Ranch Districts and the Sky Ranch CAB, on their behalf we construct public infrastructure such as roads, curbs, storm water, drainage, sidewalks, parks,
open space, trails etc., which costs are reimbursed to us by the Sky Ranch CAB, through funds generated by the Sky Ranch Districts through taxes, fees, or the issuance of municipal bonds. See Note 2 and Note 5 to the accompanying consolidated financial statements regarding treatment and recognition of these public improvement costs.
Pursuant to our service agreements, we are required to construct all required wholesale water and wastewater improvements (i.e., a wastewater reclamation facility, water supply, storage, treatment, and other wholesale facilities) for the provision of water and wastewater service to the property. As of August 31, 2023, we have completed the required wholesale facilities and other infrastructure to provide water and wastewater for over 2,000 homes at Sky Ranch. The most significant wholesale facility built was the wastewater reclamation facility, which cost $10.2 million and has a designed capacity to provide wastewater for more than 2,000 single-family homes before requiring expansion. This allows the treatment facility to process wastewater for several development phases at Sky Ranch before additional investment is needed to increase its capacity.
We expect to have other phases developing concurrently with the second phase that could include commercial, retail, and light industrial sites. We expect full development of the Sky Ranch Master Planned Community to take another eight to ten years depending on market conditions.
Pursuant to the Sky Ranch Water and Wastewater Service Agreement, dated June 19, 2017, between PCY Holdings, LLC (a wholly-owned subsidiary of ours that holds title to the Sky Ranch land), and the Rangeview District, PCY Holdings, LLC, agreed to construct certain facilities necessary to provide water and wastewater service to Sky Ranch. The Rangeview District, through us as its exclusive service provider, agreed to provide water and wastewater services to the Sky Ranch property. We have installed over 15.5 miles of water delivery and wastewater collection infrastructure at a cost of $4.9 million, which is reimbursable by the Sky Ranch CAB as outlined in Note 5 to the accompanying consolidated financial statements.
We have also leased the oil and gas minerals underlying the property to a major independent exploration and production company.
Sky Ranch Metropolitan Districts
The Sky Ranch Metropolitan District Nos. 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 are quasi-municipal corporations and political subdivisions of Colorado formed for the purpose of providing services to the Sky Ranch property (Sky Ranch Districts). The Sky Ranch Districts are governed by an elected board of directors. Eligible voters and persons eligible to serve as directors of the Sky Ranch Districts must own an interest in property within the boundaries of the district. We own certain rights and real property interests which encompass the current boundaries of the districts and certain of our employees serve on the boards of directors of the Sky Ranch Districts. The current directors of the districts are Mark W. Harding (our President, Chief Executive Officer, and a director), Scott E. Lehman (our employee), Dirk Lashnits (an employee of ours), two independent board members, and one vacancy. Pursuant to Colorado law, directors may receive $100 for each board meeting they attend, up to a maximum of $1,600 per year. Messrs. Harding, Lehman, and Lashnits have all elected to forego these payments.
Sky Ranch Community Authority Board
Districts No. 1 and 5 of the Sky Ranch Districts, formed the Sky Ranch Community Authority Board (Sky Ranch CAB) to, among other things, design, construct, finance, operate and maintain certain public improvements for the benefit of the property within the boundaries and/or service area of the Sky Ranch Districts. In order for the public improvements to be constructed and/or acquired, it is necessary for each Sky Ranch District and/or the Sky Ranch CAB to be able to fund the improvements and pay its ongoing operations and maintenance expenses related to the provision of services that benefit the property. We entered into agreements, first with Sky Ranch Metropolitan District No. 1 in 2014 and later with the Sky Ranch CAB, that require us to fund expenses related to the construction of an agreed upon list of public improvements for the Sky Ranch Master Planned Community.
We and the Sky Ranch CAB entered into a Facilities Funding and Acquisition Agreement (FFAA) effective November 2017, obligating us to advance funding to the Sky Ranch CAB for specified public improvements constructed from 2018 to 2023. All amounts owed under the FFAA bear interest at a rate of 6% per annum. Any advances not paid or reimbursed by the Sky Ranch CAB by December 31, 2058, for Phase 1 and December 31, 2060, for Phase 2A, shall be deemed forever discharged and satisfied in full. Advances and verified costs expended by us for expenses related to the construction of the agreed upon public improvements are reimbursable to us by the Sky Ranch CAB. No repayment is required of the Sky Ranch CAB for advances made or expenses incurred related to the construction of public improvements unless and until the Sky Ranch CAB and/or Sky Ranch Districts generate sufficient funds from property taxes,
fees, or the issuance of bonds in an amount sufficient to reimburse us for all or a portion of advances or other public improvement expenses incurred. Unpaid advances accrue interest at the rate of 6% annually. The Sky Ranch CAB agrees to exercise reasonable efforts to issue bonds to reimburse us subject to certain limitations. In addition, the Sky Ranch CAB agrees to utilize any available moneys not otherwise pledged to payment of debt or used for operation and maintenance expenses to reimburse us. Since 2017, we have advanced the Sky Ranch CAB a total of $50.8 million for funding the construction of the public improvements. The Sky Ranch CAB has remitted the following amounts to us for repayment of public improvements and the related interest:
|●||In November 2019, the Sky Ranch CAB issued bonds and repaid $10.5 million;|
|●||In January 2021, the Sky Ranch CAB repaid $0.4 million from unencumbered funds resulting from a budget surplus;|
|●||In May 2022, the Sky Ranch CAB repaid $0.1 million from unencumbered funds resulting from a budget surplus;|
|●||In August 2022, the Sky Ranch CAB issued bonds and repaid $23.6 million;|
|●||In April 2023, the Sky Ranch CAB repaid $0.5 million from unencumbered funds resulting from a budget surplus; and|
|●||In June 2023, the Sky Ranch CAB repaid $0.4 million from unencumbered funds resulting from a budget surplus.|
Prior to our fiscal 2021, the reimbursable expenditures we funded were expensed through land development construction costs, and project management revenue and interest income were not recognized as the reimbursement was deemed contingent on a sufficient tax base and/or the issuance of municipal bonds for collectability to be considered probable. As Sky Ranch continues to grow, housing values increased, and the Sky Ranch CAB demonstrated the ability to repay the amounts owed to us, the collectability of reimbursable expenditures incurred to date has been determined to be probable; Therefore, during fiscal 2021 we recognized the remaining reimbursable costs, project management fees, and interest. During the year ended August 31, 2021, we recognized $21.7 million as a note receivable – related party with the offsetting entries being to other income, project management revenue and interest income for costs deemed reimbursable from the Sky Ranch CAB. Due to continue growth and the continued belief the Sky Ranch CAB can repay amounts we spend on public improvements, Phase 2 reimbursable public improvements, along with the project management revenue, and interest income are being recorded as a note receivable from the Sky Ranch CAB as incurred. Note 5 to the accompanying consolidated financial statements summarizes the changes to the note receivable. The Sky Ranch CAB has an obligation to repay us but the ability of the Sky Ranch CAB to repay us before the contractual termination dates is dependent upon the establishment of a tax base or other fee generating activities sufficient to recover reimbursable costs incurred. Costs incurred will be recognized as land under development costs or notes receivable – related party, depending on whether collectability is deemed to be considered probable. In addition to the note receivable balance, the Sky Ranch CAB refunded $0.5 million for the reimbursement of construction costs from the Southeast Metropolitan Storm Water Authority (SEMSWA). These costs were distributed to the Sky Ranch CAB upon the acceptance of the stormwater infrastructure by SEMSWA during our fiscal 2022.
The current directors of the Sky Ranch CAB are Mark W. Harding (our President, Chief Executive Officer, and a director), Scott E. Lehman (our employee), Dirk Lashnits (our employee), one independent board member, and one vacancy. Pursuant to Colorado law, directors may receive $100 for each board meeting they attend, up to a maximum of $1,600 per year. Messrs. Harding, Lehman, and Lashnits have all elected to forego these payments.
Oil and Gas Leases
In 2011, we entered into an Oil and Gas Lease (Sky Ranch O&G Lease) and Surface Use and Damage Agreement and received an up-front payment and a 20% of gross proceeds royalty (less certain taxes) from the sale of any oil and gas produced from the mineral estate we own at Sky Ranch. The Sky Ranch O&G Lease is now held by production, and we have been receiving royalties from the oil and gas production from six wells drilled within our mineral interest. During the years ended August 31, 2023 and 2022, we received $0.3 million and $0.5 million in royalties attributable to these wells.
In July 2019, we entered into an Agreement on Locations of Oil and Gas Operations covering approximately 16 acres at Sky Ranch with the operator of the Sky Ranch O&G Lease (OGOA). The Company received an up-front payment of $0.6 million in fiscal 2019 for the OGOA, which was recognized as income on a straight-line basis over three years (the term of the OGOA). In July 2022, the operator had not spud at least one well on the oil and gas operations area. To extend its rights under the OGOA for one additional year, the oil and gas operator paid us $75,000, which is being recognized into income over the term of the extension. In July 2023, the operator paid us an additional $75,000 to extend its rights under the OGOA for one additional year, which is being recognized into income over the
term of the extension. This was the final extension allowed under the OGOA for a total of five years. As of August 31, 2023, no wells have been drilled.
Arkansas River Land and Minerals
We own approximately 700 acres of land in the Arkansas River Valley in southeastern Colorado. We currently lease all these acres for dry land grazing. We intend to sell the land in due course and have classified it as a long-term investment. We also own approximately 13,900 acres of mineral interests in the Arkansas River Valley, which has no carrying value on our books due to an impairment charge of $1.4 million we recorded in fiscal 2020. We currently have no plans to sell our mineral interests.
We primarily provide water and wastewater services on the Rangeview District’s behalf to the Rangeview District’s customers. The Rangeview District accounts for the majority of our water and wastewater service revenue. Refer to Note 10 in the accompanying consolidated financial statements for additional information on our significant customers.
This section should be read in conjunction with Item 1A – Risk Factors.
Along the Colorado Front Range, there are over 70 water providers with varying needs for replacement and/or new water supplies. We believe that we are well positioned to assist certain of these providers in meeting their current and future water needs.
We design, construct, and operate our water and wastewater facilities using advanced water treatment and wastewater treatment technologies, which allow us to use our water supplies in an efficient and environmentally sustainable manner. We develop our water and wastewater systems in stages to efficiently meet customer demands in our service areas by managing capital investments required for construction of facilities. We use third-party contractors to construct our facilities as needed. We employ licensed water and wastewater operators to run our water and wastewater systems. As our systems expand, we expect to hire additional personnel to operate our systems, which include water production, treatment, testing, storage, distribution, metering, billing, and operations management.
Our water and wastewater systems conjunctively use surface and groundwater supplies and storage of raw water and highly treated reclaimed water supplies to provide a balanced sustainable water supply for our customers. Integrating conservation practices and incentives, together with effective water reuse, demonstrates our commitment to providing environmentally responsible and sustainable water and wastewater services. Water supplies and water storage reservoirs are competitively sought throughout the west and along the Front Range of Colorado. We believe that regional cooperation among area water providers in developing new water supplies, water storage, and transmission and distribution systems provides the most cost-effective way of expanding and enhancing service capacities for area water providers. We continue to seek opportunities for developing water supplies and water storage opportunities with other area water providers.
As we continue expanding and developing our Rangeview Water Supply, we anticipate needing a significant number of high-capacity deep water wells. These wells would be drilled into one or more of the three principal aquifers located beneath the Lowry Ranch, and, as with our current wells, the water would be delivered to central water treatment facilities for treatment prior to delivery to customers. Continued development of our Lowry Ranch surface water supplies will require facilities to divert surface water to storage reservoirs to be located on the Lowry Ranch, additional treatment facilities to treat the water prior to introduction into our distribution system(s), and additional surface water diversion facilities designed with capacities to divert the surface water when available (particularly during seasonal events such as spring run-off and summer storms) for storage in reservoirs to be constructed on the Lowry Ranch. We estimate the full build-out of water and wastewater facilities (including diversion structures, transmission pipelines, reservoirs, and water treatment facilities) to develop and deliver our portfolio of water would cost in excess of $900 million, and would accommodate water service to customers located on and outside the Lowry Ranch. We believe this build out would occur in phases over many decades, and we believe tap fees would be sufficient to fund the required infrastructure costs.
Our Denver-based supplies are a valuable, locally available resource located near the point of use. This enables us to incrementally develop infrastructure to produce, treat and deliver water to customers based on their growing demands.
During fiscal 2023 and 2022, combined, we invested over $9.2 million in infrastructure, including wells, pipelines, appurtenances for the WISE, and Sky Ranch water and wastewater systems to provide water and wastewater services to our growing customers at Sky Ranch and elsewhere. We expect to continue to invest in water rights and facilities as our customer demands grow.
We continue developing our Sky Ranch property, including finishing lots for home builders, building additional water and wastewater infrastructure for residential and commercial development at the property, and having homes constructed for our single-family home rental business. During the years ended August 31, 2023 and 2022, for Phases 2A and 2B we invested $9.8 million and $11.5 million in our Sky Ranch land which included $1.9 million and $2.0 million of expensed costs related to the delivery of finished lots and $7.9 million and $9.5 million of costs for public improvements which we expect to be repaid by the Sky Ranch CAB. Additionally, we spent approximately $3.8 million and $0.9 million on construction costs related to our single-family rental business. Phase 1 was our first project as a land developer and was done ahead of our original schedule and on budget. Phase 2A, which broke ground in February 2021, incurred a total of $21.2 million of construction costs to deliver the lots (of which we estimate $18.5 million is for public improvements which is to be repaid by the Sky Ranch CAB). During the years ended August 31, 2023 and 2022, we sold 90 and 154 water and wastewater taps at Sky Ranch to homebuilders, which generated $2.7 million and $4.5 million of tap fees. As of August 31, 2023, we have sold 703 water and wastewater taps at Sky Ranch in Phases 1 and 2A. Based on current prices and engineering estimates, we believe Phase 2 of Sky Ranch will produce additional tap fee revenue of $20.6 million in water and wastewater tap fee revenue and cash over the next 3-5 years.
Our first three rental homes at Sky Ranch were completed and rented in November 2021. During fiscal 2023, an additional 11 homes were completed and rented as they became available. We plan to build 55 additional rental homes over the next several years in Phases 2B-D. We anticipate building these homes concurrent with construction of homes in Phase 2. We design and price rental homes closer to the cost of construction. The 14 homes constructed to date have an average construction cost of approximately $350,000 and have a market value of more than $500,000 each.
We plan to develop additional water assets within the Denver area and are exploring opportunities to utilize our water assets in areas adjacent to our existing water supplies. Additionally, we continue to source additional land acquisitions that could be paired with our water to provide additional growth to each of our business segments.
Growth in Colorado
Colorado continues to grow. According to the 2021 census report, Colorado added over 744,000 residents from 2010 to 2021, a growth of 14.8%, bringing the Colorado population to nearly 5.8 million, which is projected to grow to more than 8.7 million by 2050. A Statewide Water Supply Initiative report by the Colorado Water Conservation Board estimates that the South Platte River basin, which includes the Denver metropolitan region (and our Sky Ranch community), could require an additional 400,000 acre-feet of water by the year 2030 due to continued growth. What makes this difficult for land developers and builders is that Colorado law requires developers to demonstrate they have sufficient water supplies for their proposed projects before zoning applications will be considered. This means cities, municipalities, developers and builders must demonstrate water availability prior to development. This indicates that water will continue to be critical to growth prospects for the region and the state, and that competition for available sources of water will continue to intensify.
Due to COVID-19, we have witnessed several changing consumer patterns, including residents leaving downtown urban areas to buy homes in the suburbs. This put our Sky Ranch community in the enviable position of being able to respond to this demand due to its great location, affordable home prices, available inventory, and easy access to work centers and major transportation corridors. We believe our ability to pair our water to our land and our in-house expertise for operating our systems allowed us to provide home builders with an affordable and sustainable master planned community that allowed our builders to quickly satisfy the increased demand from home buyers. We believe our affordable community will continue to grow even in the slowing housing market we experienced in fiscal 2023 and continue to experience in fiscal 2024.
Growth in the Denver area has trended east with significant activity occurring along the I-70 corridor, an area which enjoys excellent transportation infrastructure with I-70, rail access, and Denver International Airport (DIA). The region has significant employment centers, including DIA, the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, an Amazon fulfillment center, the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center, Buckley Space Force Base, and more, creating demand for residential, retail, and commercial development opportunities.
This tremendous growth, coupled with the low new and resale home inventories, along with a shift in lifestyle choices from home ownership to renting, has pushed the single-family rental market into double-digit growth. Although this market has existed for decades, the focus has shifted from individuals owning the units to commercial institutions buying large blocks of houses for rentals. The single-family rental space is now among the fastest growing segments in the U.S. housing market. Demand for rental units has been steadily increasing due to current demographic trends related to Gen-Y and baby boomers; however, migration patterns related to COVID-19 have accelerated that demand. According to the 2021 census, single-family rentals grew by 31% from 2007 to 2016, compared to 14% for multifamily rentals over the same period. As the demand for more single-family rental properties grows, an increasing number of larger investors are expanding their investment strategy to include the product. The single-family rental market is estimated at $3.4 trillion, compared to $3.5 trillion for the multifamily market, and institutional investors make up less than 2% of the market compared to 55% for the multifamily market. As more young families, families with children, and retirees look to rent single family homes with yards and recreational amenities on a long-term basis, more investors are looking to the single-family rental markets to expand their portfolios and grow their capital.
In addition to actively seeking to expand our land holdings for development purposes, we also market our water supplies and services to developers and home builders that are active along the Colorado Front Range as well as other area water providers in need of additional supplies.
Colorado’s future water needs will be met through conservation, reuse, and the development of new supplies. The Rangeview District’s rules and regulations for water and wastewater service call for adherence to strict conservation measures, including low-flow water fixtures, high efficiency appliances, and advanced irrigation control devices. Additionally, our systems are designed and constructed using a dual-pipe water distribution system to segregate the delivery of high-quality potable drinking water to customers through one system and a second system to supply raw or reclaimed water for irrigation demands in parks and open spaces. About one-half of the water used by a typical Denver-area residential water customer is used for outdoor landscape and lawn irrigation. We believe that raw or reclaimed water supplies provide the lowest cost, most environmentally sustainable water for outdoor irrigation. We expect our systems to include an extensive water reclamation systems in which essentially all effluent water from wastewater treatment plants will be reused to meet non-potable outdoor irrigation water demands. Our dual-distribution systems demonstrate our commitment to environmentally responsible water management policies in our water-short region.
Labor and Raw Materials
We competitively bid contracts for infrastructure improvements (grading, utilities, roads, water, and wastewater infrastructure) at Sky Ranch. Many of our contractors enter fixed priced contracts where the contractor is at risk for cost overruns prior to completion of improvements. Under these fixed-price contracts, the contract prices are established in part based on fixed, firm subcontractor quotes on contracts and on cost and scheduling estimates. These quotes or estimates may be based on several assumptions, including assumptions about prices and availability of labor, equipment and materials, and other issues. Increased costs or shortages of skilled labor, concrete, steel, pipe, and other materials could cause increases in development costs and delays. These shortages and delays may result in delays in the delivery of the lots under development or the completion of water or wastewater facilities, increase costs for us or other contractors on our projects, reduce gross margins from sales, or subject us to penalties or defaults under our agreements. While we contract with third parties for our labor and materials at a fixed price, which we believe allows us the ability to mitigate the risks associated with shortages of and increases in the cost of labor and building materials, other unforeseen factors may arise which could increase our costs.
Water and Wastewater Services
We negotiate individual service agreements with our governmental customers and with their developers and/or home builders to design, construct and operate water and wastewater systems and to provide services to end use customers of governmental entities and to commercial and industrial customers. These service agreements seek to address all aspects of the development of the water and wastewater systems, including:
|(i)||the purchase of water and wastewater taps in exchange for our obligation to construct certain wholesale facilities;|
|(ii)||the establishment of payment terms, timing, capacity, and location of special facilities (if any); and|
|(iii)||specific terms related to our provision of ongoing water and wastewater services to our local governmental customers as well as the governmental entities’ end-use customers.|
Although we have exclusive long-term water and wastewater service contracts for 24,000 acres of the Lowry Ranch, Wild Pointe, and Sky Ranch pursuant to our service agreements, providing water and wastewater service is subject to competition. Alternate sources of water are available, principally from other private parties such as farmers or others owning water rights that have historically been used for agriculture, and from municipalities seeking to annex new development areas in order to increase their tax base. Our principal competition in areas close to the Lowry Ranch is the City of Aurora. Principal factors affecting competition for water service include the availability of water for the particular purpose, the cost of delivering the water to the desired location (including the cost of required taps), and the reliability of the water supply during drought periods, and the political climate for additional annexations. We estimate that the water assets we own and have the exclusive right to use have a supply capacity of approximately 60,000 SFE units, and we believe that they provide us with a significant competitive advantage along the Front Range. Our legal rights to the Rangeview Water Supply have been confirmed for municipal use, and our water supply is close to Denver area water users. We believe that our pricing structure is competitive and that our water portfolio is well balanced among surface water rights, groundwater rights, storage capacity and reclaimed water supplies.
Developing raw land is a highly competitive business, requires substantial upfront capital and typically requires many years to complete. There are many developers, as well as properties and development projects, in the same geographic area in which Sky Ranch is located. Competition among developers and projects is determined by the location of the real estate, the market appeal of the development plan, the cost and value of the end product, the developer’s ability to build, market and deliver projects on a timely and cost effective basis, and the availability of water to serve the project. Residential developers sell to home builders, who in turn compete based on location, price/value, market segmentation, product design, and reputation. Commercial, retail, and industrial developers sell to and/or compete with other developers, owners, and operators of real estate for a limited number of potential buyers. We believe we have exceeded the market’s expectations with the delivery of our lots at Sky Ranch and have demonstrated the ability and expertise to continue to deliver lots in a large-scale master planned community.
Environmental, Health and Safety Regulation
Provision of water and wastewater services is subject to regulation under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Water Act, related state laws, and federal and state regulations issued under these laws. These laws and regulations establish criteria and standards for drinking water and for wastewater discharges. In addition, we are subject to federal and state laws and other regulations relating to solid waste disposal and certain other aspects of our operations.
Environmental compliance issues may arise in the normal course of operations or because of regulatory changes. We attempt to align capital budgeting and expenditures to address these issues in a timely manner.
Safe Drinking Water Act
The Safe Drinking Water Act establishes criteria and procedures for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop national quality standards for drinking water. Regulations issued pursuant to the Safe Drinking Water Act and its amendments set standards on the amount of certain microbial and chemical contaminants and radionuclides allowable in drinking water. The State of Colorado has assumed primary responsibility for enforcing the standards established by the Safe Drinking Water Act and has adopted the Colorado Primary Drinking Water Standards (Code of Colorado Regulations 5 CCR 1003-1). Current requirements for drinking water are not expected to have a material impact on our financial condition or results of operations as we have made and are making investments to meet existing water quality standards. In the future, we might be required to change our method of treating drinking water and make additional capital investments if additional regulations become effective.
The federal Groundwater Rule became effective December 1, 2009. This rule requires additional testing of water from well sources and under certain circumstances requires demonstration and maintenance of effective disinfection. In 2009, Colorado adopted Article 13 to the Colorado Primary Drinking Water Standards to establish monitoring and compliance criteria for the Groundwater Rule.
Clean Water Act
The Clean Water Act regulates wastewater discharges from drinking water and wastewater treatment facilities and storm water discharges into lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands. The State of Colorado has assumed primary responsibility for enforcing the standards established by the federal Clean Water Act for wastewater discharges from domestic water and wastewater treatment facilities and has adopted the Colorado Water Quality Control Act and related regulations, which also regulate discharges to groundwater. It is our policy to obtain and maintain all required permits and approvals for discharges from our water and wastewater facilities and to comply with all conditions of those permits and other regulatory requirements. A program is in place to monitor facilities for compliance with permitting, monitoring, and reporting for wastewater discharges. From time to time, discharge violations might occur which might result in fines and penalties, but we have no reason to believe that any such fines or penalties are pending or will be assessed.
Solid Waste Disposal
The handling and disposal of residuals and solid waste generated from water and wastewater treatment facilities is governed by federal and state laws and regulations. We have a program in place to monitor our facilities for compliance with regulatory requirements, and we do not anticipate that costs associated with our handling and disposal of waste material from our water and wastewater operations will have a material impact on our business or financial condition.
Employees and Human Capital
As of August 31, 2023, we employed 38 full-time employees, and all are located in the USA. None of our employees are represented by a union or covered by a collective bargaining agreement. We have not experienced any work stoppages, and we consider our relationship with our employees to be good. Approximately 37 percent are employed in our water and wastewater segment, approximately 42 percent are employed in our land development segment and approximately 21 percent are employed for support and other functions. We are committed to creating a strong team environment where employees always treat customers and each other with respect, and where each of us practices the basic principles of integrity, flexibility, honesty, trust, and stewardship: principles we believe go hand-in-hand with achieving success.
Compensation and Benefits Program
Our compensation program is designed to attract and reward talented individuals who possess the skills necessary to support our business objectives, assist in the achievement of our strategic goals and create long-term value for our shareholders. We provide employees with compensation packages that include base salary, incentive bonuses, and long-term equity awards tied to the value of our stock price. We believe that a compensation program with both short-term and long-term awards provides fair and competitive compensation and aligns employee and shareholder interests, including by incentivizing business and individual performance (pay for performance), motivating based on long-term company performance and integrating compensation with our business plans. In addition to cash and equity compensation, we also offer employees benefits such as fully or partially paid health insurance (medical, dental and vision), paid time off, paid sick leave, paid parental leave, paid bereavement time, and a 401(k) plan with a company match.
Diversity and Inclusion
We believe that an equitable and inclusive environment with diverse teams produces more creative solutions, results in better, more innovative services and is crucial to our efforts to attract and retain key talent. We continue to focus on building a pipeline for talent to create more opportunities for workplace diversity and to support greater representation within Pure Cycle. We develop and encourage an inclusive culture through company events, participation in our recruitment efforts, and input into our hiring strategies.
We aim to give back to the communities where we live and work and believe that this commitment helps in our efforts to attract and retain employees. We offer employees the opportunity to give back through volunteering or company donations to approved causes.
For more information on our diversity and inclusion and community involvement initiatives, please see our ESG page on our website at www.purecyclewater.com.
Pure Cycle was incorporated in Delaware in 1976 and reincorporated in Colorado in 2008.
Available Information and Website Address
Our website address is www.purecyclewater.com. We make available free of charge through our website our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, and all amendments to these reports as soon as reasonably practicable after filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
These reports and all other material we file with the SEC may be obtained directly from the SEC’s website, www.sec.gov/edgar/searchedgar/companysearch.html, under CIK code 276720. The contents of our website are not incorporated by reference into this report.
Item 1A – Risk Factors
The following section describes the material risks and uncertainties that we believe could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and the market price of our common stock. The risks discussed below include forward-looking statements. Actual results may differ materially from those discussed in these forward-looking statements. These risks should be read in conjunction with the other information set forth in this report, including the accompanying consolidated financial statements and notes thereto.
Risks Related to the Impacts the Economy and External Forces May Have on Our Operations
Our operations are concentrated in the Front Range area of Colorado; we are subject to general economic conditions in Colorado. Our assets and operations are located solely in the Front Range area of Colorado. Our performance could be adversely affected by economic conditions in, and other factors relating to, Colorado, including supply and demand for housing and zoning and other regulatory conditions. To the extent that the general economic conditions in the Front Range area of Colorado deteriorate, the value of our assets, our results of operations and our financial condition could be materially adversely affected.
We are dependent on the housing market and development in our targeted service areas for future revenues. The homebuilding industry is cyclical and a deterioration in industry conditions or downward changes in general economic or other business conditions could adversely affect our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition. Providing wholesale water service using our Colorado Front Range water supplies is one of our key sources of future revenue. The timing and amount of these revenues will depend in part on housing developments being built near our water assets. The development of the Lowry Ranch, Sky Ranch and other properties is subject to many factors that are outside our control. If wholesale water sales are not forthcoming or development in our targeted service areas is delayed or curtailed, we may need to use our capital resources, incur additional short or long-term debt obligations, or seek to sell additional equity. We may not be successful in obtaining additional capital. Although there have been positive market gains in the Colorado housing market in recent years, inflation and rising interest rates are intensifying and causing slow downs in the homebuilding industry which economic concerns could have a significant negative impact on our business and financial condition and our plans for future development of additional phases of Sky Ranch.
Although the Colorado economy has become increasingly diverse, the oil and gas industry remains an important segment of the Colorado economy. New statutes, regulations or other initiatives that would limit oil and gas exploration or increase the cost of exploration, as well as declines in the price of oil and gas, among other things, could lead to a downturn in the Colorado economy, including increased unemployment, which would likely have a negative impact on the housing market and our business and financial condition.
In addition, the residential homebuilding industry is cyclical and is highly sensitive to changes in general economic conditions such as levels of employment, consumer confidence and income, availability of mortgage financing for acquisitions, interest rate levels and inflation, cost and availability of raw materials, among other factors. The residential housing market is impacted by federal and state personal income tax rates and provisions, and government actions, policies, programs and regulations directed at or affecting the housing market, including the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, tax benefits associated with purchasing and owning a home, and the standards, fees and size limits applicable to the purchase or insuring of mortgage loans by government-sponsored enterprises and government agencies. For example, from 2020 to 2022 housing starts as well as home prices in Colorado increased. In 2023 due to raising interest rates, the demand for new home starts has weakened in the Colorado housing market, and we could experience declines in the market value and demand for our lots and rental homes, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition.
Significant competition from other development projects could adversely affect our results. Land development is a highly competitive business. There are numerous land developers, as well as properties and development projects, in the same geographic area in which Sky Ranch is located. Many of our land development competitors may have advantages over us, such as more favorable locations, which may provide more desirable schools and easier access to roads and shopping, or amenities that we may not offer, as well as greater financial resources. If other development projects are found to be more attractive to home buyers, home builders or other developers or operators of real estate based on location, price, or other factors, then we may be pressured to reduce our prices or delay further development, either of which could materially adversely affect our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition. The single-family home rental market is also highly competitive. There are numerous companies and individuals that own rental homes
in the Sky Ranch area which may have more experience than we do renting single-family homes, better locations, and better pricing. If we are unable to rent the homes at rates that cover our costs or are unable to manage the properties and expenses incurred to manage the properties, the impact to our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition could be materially negative.
Our operations could be adversely impacted by increases in material, labor, supplier, logistics and other operating costs, or supply chain delays and shortages, which could cause lower margins or lost sales and adversely impact our business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows, and component price volatility and availability, as well as supplier concentration. The market prices for certain materials and components we purchase, primarily steel and PVC piping, have been volatile. In addition, some supplies are subject to long lead times. Disruptions to the commercial transportation network, including limited container and trucking capacity and port congestion, have increased supplier delivery times for materials to our facilities. Our margins and overall financial performance may be adversely affected by increases in our operating costs, such as material, labor, supplier costs, logistics and energy costs, all of which may be subject to inflationary pressures. Since the onset of COVID-19 we have seen operating costs trending upward, labor shortages, logistics disruptions, commodity cost increases and shortages, and overall increased demand in the land development and water business industries. In addition, some of our customers have experienced raw material shortages. Any such shortages can in turn impact and delay our ability to service our customers. While we seek to mitigate any cost increases, labor impacts and supply chain delays and shortages, these efforts may not be successful, and we may experience adverse impacts due to such factors. We cannot predict the extent of these current trends or other future increases in operating costs. To the extent such costs continue to increase, we may be prevented, in whole or in part, from passing such cost increases through to our existing and prospective customers, or our customers may seek other competitive sources due to supply chain delays, which could have a material adverse impact on our margins, business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.
Our water business is subject to seasonal fluctuations and weather conditions that could affect demand for our water service and our revenues and that could become more extreme with climate change. We depend on an adequate water supply to meet the present and future demands of our customers and their end-use customers and to continue our expansion efforts. Conditions beyond our control may interfere with our water supply sources. Drought and overuse may limit the availability of water, and such droughts may become more frequent and prolonged with climate change. These factors might adversely affect our ability to supply water in sufficient quantities to our customers, and our revenues and earnings may be adversely affected. Additionally, cool, and wet weather, as well as drought restrictions and our customers’ conservation efforts, may reduce consumption demands, adversely affecting our revenue and earnings. Furthermore, freezing weather may contribute to water transmission interruptions caused by pipe breakage. If we experience an interruption in our water supply, it could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. Demand for our water during the warmer months is generally greater than during cooler months due primarily to additional requirements for water in connection with cooling systems, irrigation systems and other outside water use. Throughout the year, and particularly during typically warmer months, demand will vary with temperature and rainfall levels. If temperatures during the typically warmer months are cooler than expected or there is more rainfall than expected, the demand for our water may decrease and adversely affect our revenues.
The physical impacts of natural disasters and severe weather conditions could reduce consumer demand for housing, result in service disruptions, delay the closing of the sale of residential lots at Sky Ranch and increase our costs, any of which could harm our sales and results of operations. We conduct our operations in the Colorado Front Range, which is subject to natural disasters, including droughts, tornadoes, wildland fires, and severe weather. The occurrence of natural disasters or severe weather conditions in Colorado or elsewhere could result in interruptions in our water and wastewater operations, delay our construction activities, increase costs, and lead to shortages of labor and materials. Moreover, such extreme weather conditions and natural disasters are likely to increase in frequency and intensity as a result of projected unabated climate change. If our insurance or the insurance of our subcontractors does not fully cover business interruptions or losses resulting from these events, our results of operations could be adversely affected.
Risks Related to Our Business and Operations
We may not generate sufficient cash flows from operations or other capital resources to pursue our business objectives. While we have generated net income in the past several years, prior to that we had a history of losses. Our cash flows from operations generally have not been sufficient to fund our operations, and we have been required to raise debt and equity capital and sell assets to remain in operation. Since 2004, we have raised over $76.0 million through (i) the issuance of more than $25.0 million of common stock (including the issuance of stock pursuant to the exercise of options, net of expenses), (ii) the issuance of $5.2 million of convertible debt, which was converted to common stock on January 11, 2011, and (iii) the sale of our Arkansas River water and land for $45.8 million in cash. Our continuing development of Sky Ranch requires significant cash expenditures. We have advanced the Sky Ranch CAB $50.8 million
for construction of public improvements in Phases 1 and 2 at Sky Ranch and expect to advance another $11.7 million for the completion of the Phase 2A and 2B public improvements. The Sky Ranch CAB is not required to repay us for advances made or expenses incurred for improvements at Sky Ranch unless and until the Sky Ranch CAB and/or Sky Ranch Districts generate sufficient funds from either tax revenues, fees or by issuing bonds in an amount sufficient to reimburse us for all or a portion of advances made or expenses incurred. We have funded and expect to continue to fund such expenditures with cash on hand and cash flows from operations. As of August 31, 2023, we had $26 million of cash on hand. If our cash on hand and future cash flows from operations are not sufficient to fund our operations and the significant capital expenditure requirements to continue to develop Sky Ranch, we may be forced to seek to obtain additional debt or equity capital. Economic conditions and disruptions have previously caused substantial volatility in capital markets, including credit markets and the banking industry, increasing the cost, and significantly reducing the availability of financing, which may reoccur in the future. There can be no assurance that financing will be available on acceptable terms or at all.
We may not be able to manage the increasing demands of our expanded operations. We have historically depended on a limited number of employees to administer our operations, interface with governmental entities, market our services, and plan and implement the construction and development of our assets. The execution of contracts for lot sales and the continued development of Sky Ranch, including our single-family home rental business, and the expansion and maintenance of our water and wastewater systems, have increased the size and complexity of our business. The success of our current business and future business development and our ability to capitalize on growth opportunities depends on our ability to attract and retain additional experienced and qualified persons to operate and manage our business. We may not be able to maximize the value of our assets if we are unable to attract and retain qualified personnel and to manage the demands of our growing workforce. State regulations set the training, experience and qualification standards required for our employees to operate specific water and wastewater facilities. Failure to find state-certified and qualified employees to support the operation of our facilities could put us at risk for, among other things, regulatory penalties (including fines and suspension of operations), operational errors at the facilities, improper billing, and collection processes, claims for personal injury and property damage, and loss of contracts and revenues. We may be unsuccessful in managing our operations and growth.
The rates that the Rangeview District is allowed to charge customers on the Lowry Ranch for water services are limited by the Lease with the Land Board and our contract with the Rangeview District and may not be sufficient to cover our costs of construction and operation. The prices charged by the Rangeview District for water service on the Lowry Ranch are subject to pricing regulations set forth in the Lease with the Land Board. Both the tap fees and usage rates and charges are capped at the average of the rates of three nearby water providers. Annually, the Rangeview District surveys the tap fees and rates of the three nearby providers, and the Rangeview District may adjust tap fees and rates and charges for water service on the Lowry Ranch based on the average of those charged by this group. We receive 100% of tap fees and 98% of water usage fees charged by the Rangeview District to its customers after the deduction of royalties owed to the Land Board. Our costs associated with the construction of water systems and the production, treatment and delivery of water are subject to market conditions and other factors, which may increase at a significantly higher rate than that of the fees we receive from the Rangeview District. Factors beyond our control and which cannot be predicted, such as government regulations, insurance and labor markets, drought, water contamination and severe weather conditions may result in additional labor and material costs that may not be recoverable under the current rate structure. Both increased customer demand and increased water conservation may also impact the overall cost of our operations. If the costs for construction and operation of our wholesale water services, including the cost of extracting our groundwater, exceed our revenues, we would be providing water service to the Rangeview District for use at the Lowry Ranch at a loss. The Rangeview District may petition the Land Board for rate increases; however, there can be no assurance that the Land Board would approve a rate increase request. Further, even if a rate increase were approved, it might not be granted in a timely manner or in an amount sufficient to cover the expenses for which the rate increase was sought.
Our water sales for the past several years have been highly concentrated among companies providing hydraulic fracturing services to the oil and gas industry, and such sales can fluctuate significantly. Our water sales have been historically concentrated directly and indirectly with a limited number of companies providing hydraulic fracturing services to the oil and gas industry in our service area. Generally, investment in oil and gas development is dependent on the price of, and demand for, oil and gas. We have no long-term contractual commitments that will ensure these sales continue in the future. The oil and gas industry has periodically gone through periods when activity has significantly declined due to low oil and gas prices, reduced world-wide demand and other impacts to the world-wide economy such as the COVID-19 pandemic, which have had a negative impact on the water we sell to these operators.
Further sales to this customer base as well as renewals of our oil and gas leases in the future may be impacted by ballot initiatives, new federal and state legislation, regulations by multiple federal and state agencies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Colorado Energy and Carbon Management Commission (formerly the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC)), the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (DPHE), and the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC), local
zoning rules, court interpretations of laws and regulations at all levels of government, fracking technologies, the success of the wells, and the price of oil and gas, among other things. We could see increased opposition and tougher oversight of oil and gas operations, which could reduce the demand for water for fracking and reduce our associated water sales as a result of the enactment and implementation of multiple state bills over the last several years targeting the siting of, emissions from, and chemicals used in oil and gas production, such as Senate Bill 19-181 (SB 19-181) (increased local and state government oversight of oil and gas siting and environmental impacts), SB 22-198 (fees on oil and gas wells for an orphaned well fund), HB 22-1361 (audits of and reporting on oil and gas taxes and emissions), HB 22-1244 (toxic air emissions reporting, permitting, and controls from certain sources, which may be more stringent than the federal Clean Air Act), HB 22-1348 (disclosure of chemicals used in oil and gas operations and ban on use of added perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl chemicals), and HB 22-1345 (ban on PFAS in oil and gas products). The oil and gas industry, and associated demand for water for fracking, may also be impacted by the adoption of new or revised state regulations in recent years, such as: (i) Colorado Energy and Carbon Management Commission fees and financial assurance requirements for oil and gas facilities (adopted in 2022); (ii) AQCC GHG intensity standards that will become more restrictive over time and apply to upstream oil and gas operations, including well sites and production facilities (adopted in 2021), and related “verification” and monitoring requirements (adopted in July 2023) ; (iii) AQCC reporting and emission reduction requirements for GHGs, ozone precursors, and hydrocarbons from oil and gas operations and industrial wastewater treatment, as well as regional haze limit (adopted in 2022); (iv) a list of toxic air contaminants identified by the DPHE in 2022 as a first step in implementing HB 22-1244; and (v) additional maintenance, monitoring, and emissions regulations on the upstream and midstream oil and gas industry facilities in AQCC Regulation Numbers 7 and 22 . Recent federal laws and regulatory initiatives may also impact the oil and gas industry and thus associated water demand and sales. For example, the federal Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 imposes of a fee on methane emissions from certain oil and gas facilities, and it increases certain corporate taxes that could impact the oil and gas industry. The Inflation Reduction Act also increases the amount of federal property available for oil and gas leasing, which could impact the desirability of developing oil and gas on private property. In addition, the EPA proposed a new rule “New Source Performance Standards” rule to regulate methane emissions from the oil and gas industry (initially proposed in 2021; supplemental proposal in 2022). Other future potential laws, regulations, or ballot initiatives may also impact oil and gas development and, therefore, our water sales.
A significant portion of our water supplies come from non-renewable aquifers and inadequate water and wastewater supplies could have a material adverse effect on us. A significant portion of our water supplies comes from non-renewable Denver Basin aquifers. The State of Colorado regulates development and withdrawal of water from the Denver Basin aquifers to a rate of 1 percent of the aggregate amount of water determined to be in storage each year, which means our supply should last approximately 100 years even if no efforts were made to conserve or recharge the supply. Nonetheless, we may need to seek additional water supplies to prove our supply can last for 300 years as our non-renewable supplies are depleted. While the acquisition of Lost Creek water, a renewable “surface” water right that is diverted from an alluvial aquifer that is hydrologically connected to the surface water system, mitigates some of the risk of owning non-renewable supplies, if we are unable to obtain sufficient replacement supplies, it would have a material adverse impact on our business and financial condition. Additionally, the cost of developing and withdrawing water from the aquifers is expected to increase over time, and we may not be able to recover the increased costs through our rates and charges.
In many areas of Colorado, water supplies are limited, and in some cases, current usage rates exceed sustainable levels for certain water resources. We do not currently anticipate any short-term concerns with physical, legal, or continuous availability issues in our service areas. Insufficient availability of water or wastewater treatment capacity could materially and adversely affect our ability to provide for expected customer growth necessary to increase revenues. We continuously look for new sources of water to augment our reserves in our service areas, but our ability to obtain such rights may depend on factors beyond our control. We may not be able to obtain sufficient water or water supplies to increase customer growth necessary to increase or even maintain our revenues. Also, increased costs to develop water from aquifers could have a significant negative impact on our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition.
A failure of the water wells or distribution networks we own, or control could result in losses and damages that may affect our business and financial condition. We distribute water through a network of pipelines and store water in storage tanks and ponds. A failure of these pipelines, tanks or ponds could result in injuries and damage to property for which we may be responsible, in whole or in part. The failure of these pipelines, tanks, or ponds may also result in the need to shut down some facilities or parts of our water distribution network to conduct repairs. Such failures or shutdowns may limit our ability to supply water to our customers and to meet the water delivery requirements prescribed by our contracts, which could adversely affect our business, results of operations, cash flows, and financial condition. Any business interruption or other losses might not be covered by insurance policies or be recoverable through rates and charges, and such losses may make it difficult for us to secure insurance in the future at acceptable rates.
Development on the Lowry Ranch is not within our control and is subject to obstacles. Development on the Lowry Ranch is controlled by the Land Board, which is governed by a five-person citizen board of commissioners, each appointed for a four-year term by the Colorado governor and approved by the Colorado Senate. The Land Board’s focus with respect to issues such as development and conservation on the Lowry Ranch tends to change as membership on the Land Board changes. In addition, there are often significant delays in the adoption and implementation of plans with respect to property administered by the Land Board because the process involves many constituencies with diverse interests. In the event water sales are not forthcoming or development of the Lowry Ranch is delayed or abandoned, we may need to use our capital resources, incur additional short or long-term debt obligations, or seek to sell additional equity. We may not have sufficient capital resources or be successful in obtaining additional operating capital.
Because of the prior use of the Lowry Ranch as a military facility, environmental clean-up may be required prior to development, including the removal of unexploded ordnance. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been conducting unexploded ordnance removal activities at the Lowry Ranch for more than 30 years. Continued activities are dependent on federal appropriations, and the Army Corps of Engineers has no assurance from year to year of such appropriations for its activities at the Lowry Ranch.
We have limited experience with the development of real property. While we have extensive experience designing and constructing water and wastewater facilities and maintaining and operating these facilities, despite having completed Phase 1 and a substantial amount of Phase 2A at Sky Ranch, we have less experience developing real property. We may underestimate the capital expenditures required to complete the development of Sky Ranch, including the costs of certain infrastructure improvements and construction costs related to our single-family home rental business. We have limited experience managing property development and construction activities, including the permitting and other approvals required, which may result in delays in completing Sky Ranch. Furthermore, construction and funding of a new interchange on I-70 may delay the issuance of permits beyond Phase 2.
The funds we are advancing to the Sky Ranch CAB for construction of public improvements might not be repaid, which would negatively impact our income, gross margin on selling lots, and cash flows. Since the start of development at Sky Ranch, we have advanced the Sky Ranch CAB $50.8 million for construction of public improvements and expect to fund an additional estimated $11.7 million to complete the buildout of public improvements in Phases 2A and 2B. At August 31, 2023, of the amounts advanced to the Sky Ranch CAB, $24.9 million has not been repaid, including interest. We expect these amounts will be repaid by the Sky Ranch CAB. No payment is required by the Sky Ranch CAB with respect to construction of public improvements unless and until the Sky Ranch CAB and/or the Sky Ranch Districts have generated sufficient funds from property taxes, fee, or the issuance of municipal bonds in an amount sufficient to reimburse the Company for all or a portion of advances provided or expenses incurred for reimbursables. The ability and obligation of the Sky Ranch CAB to reimburse us is dependent on sufficient home sales and commercial development occurring at Sky Ranch to create a tax base that would enable the Sky Ranch CAB to issue bonds to pay for the improvements. If development at Sky Ranch is delayed or curtailed for any reason, including regulatory restrictions, a downturn in the economy or default by one or more of the builders at Sky Ranch, the Sky Ranch CAB may not have sufficient revenues to issue bonds.
Supply shortages and risks related to the demand for skilled labor and building materials could increase costs and delay closings. The property development and home construction industries are highly competitive for skilled labor and materials. Labor shortages throughout the Unites States including the Colorado Front Range have become more acute in recent years as the supply chain adjusts to uneven industry growth. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated these shortages. Increased costs or shortages of skilled labor and/or concrete, steel, pipe, lumber, and other materials could cause increases in property development and home construction costs and delays, including in our single-family home rental business. We are unable to pass on increases in property development costs to home builders with whom we have already entered purchase and sale contracts for residential lots, at fixed prices, which were signed well in advance of development. Sustained increases in development and construction costs may, over time, erode our margins. Our ability to build new rental homes, even though we outsource the construction, may be adversely affected by circumstances beyond our control, including: work stoppages, labor disputes, and shortages of qualified trades people, such as carpenters, roofers, masons, electricians, and plumbers; changes in laws relating to union organizing activity; lack of availability of adequate utility or infrastructure and services; our need to rely on local subcontractors who may not be adequately capitalized or insured or may not, despite our quality control efforts, engage in proper construction practices or comply with applicable regulations; inadequacies in components purchased from building supply companies; and shortages or delays in availability, or fluctuations in prices of building materials. Any of these circumstances could give rise to delays in the start or completion of, or could increase the cost of, constructing new rental homes.
We may purchase additional land parcels for development or other purposes, thereby exposing us to certain financial risks. We may purchase additional land parcels for development, construction, or other purposes. As noted above, land development and construction require significant cash expenditures before positive cash flows can be generated from the sale of lots, rental of homes, and water and
wastewater tap fees. If there is considerable lag time between when we acquire the land and when we begin selling finished lots or renting homes, we may generate significant operating losses. In addition, if sales of homes on the finished lots are delayed, renters can’t be found in a timely manner, our revenue from water and wastewater resource development services will be delayed. If our cash on hand and future cash flows from operations are not sufficient to fund our operations and the significant capital expenditure requirements to develop any acquired land, construct housing and build water and wastewater systems, we may be forced to seek to obtain additional debt or equity capital. There can be no assurance that financing will be available on acceptable terms or at all.
Delays in property development may extend the time it takes us to recover our property development costs and delay our revenue from water and wastewater resource development services. We incur many costs, such as the costs of preparing land, finishing and entitling lots, installing roads, sewers, water systems and other utilities, taxes and other costs related to ownership of the land and/or developing lots on behalf of builders who purchase the land, before we close on the sale of finished lots to home builders. If the rate at which we develop residential lots slows, we may incur additional costs, and it may take longer for us to recover our costs. In addition, if sales of homes on the finished lots are delayed, or we are unable to find renters in a timely manner, our revenue from water and wastewater resource development services will be delayed. A significant downturn in the housing market could cause our builders to delay building homes on their lots until market conditions improve, and could result in us not renting our single-family rentals for rates that provide a sufficient return. Builders with contracts that do not require purchasing the lot until we deliver a finished, ready-to-build lot, could walk away from the contract prior to closing without consequence other than the forfeiture of their upfront deposits for the lot, utilities and other improvements. If a builder elected to walk away without cause, we would be entitled to keep these deposits as liquidated damages, but the deposits would not be sufficient to cover the expenses we expect to incur to finish the lots for delivery. We would not be able to recover our costs until we were able to sell the finished lots to another builder. If the original builder did not go through with the closing due to a poor housing market, we would likely have difficulty finding another buyer for the same reason. For our single-family rental homes, we incur the costs to construct the home, for which we currently have funding in place, but there are no assurances that funding will remain in place for future growth. The costs of construction of the single-family rentals are anticipated to be paid for over time by the rental income, but we may not be able to rent the homes for amounts sufficient to cover these costs.
Fluctuations in real property values may require us to write-down the book value of our land interests. The land development industry is subject to significant variability and fluctuations in real property values. As a result, we may be required to write-down the value of our Sky Ranch, single-family home rentals, or other land interests in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America, and some of those write-downs could be material. Any material write-downs could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, or results of operations. We assess our land interests when indicators of impairment exist. Indicators of impairment include a decrease in demand for housing due to soft market conditions; competitive pricing pressures that reduce the average sales price of finished lots; sales absorption rates below management expectations; a decrease in the value of homes or the underlying land due to general market conditions, actual or perceived risks due to proximity to oil and gas drilling operations, or other reasons; and a decrease in projected cash flows for a project.
Our land development segment may be subject to risks related to oil and gas operations in the vicinity of our Sky Ranch development, which could have an adverse impact on the marketability and/or value of our Sky Ranch property. We have leased the minerals underlying Sky Ranch to a major exploration and production company, which may limit the location of development on the land. Oil and gas extraction is an inherently dangerous activity that can potentially lead to air and water contamination, fire, explosion, subsidence, and other hazards. While the State of Colorado, local governments, and private operators have regulations and procedures in place intended to mitigate these risks, there can be no assurances that these safeguards will be effective in all cases with respect to any oil and gas activity around Sky Ranch. The existence of oil and gas wells and drilling activity in or near our property and public concern regarding the negative health impacts from emissions near drilling and hydraulic fracturing sites, may adversely impact the marketability and/or value of the lots at Sky Ranch and decrease demand for homes in proximity to oil and gas operations, negatively impacting our land development segment, which could also negatively impact our business and financial condition.
Our single-family home development activities expose us to additional operational and real estate risks, which may adversely affect our financial condition and operating results. In 2021 we launched a new division that involves the construction of single-family homes to be used for rental purposes. We have no track record of building or maintaining homes for rent. Rental home construction can involve substantial up-front costs before a home is available for rent and generates income. In addition to the up-front costs, building rental homes involves potentially significant new risks to our business, such as delays or cost increases due to changes in or failure to meet regulatory requirements, including permitting and zoning regulations, failure of lease rentals on newly-constructed properties to achieve anticipated investment returns, inclement weather, adverse site selection, unforeseen site conditions, construction materials and
labor and other risks described below. We may be unable to achieve our objective of building new rental homes that generate acceptable returns and, as a result, our growth and results of operations may be adversely impacted.
We will depend on our tenants for all of our rental home revenues. Poor tenant selection and defaults and nonrenewal by our tenants may adversely affect our reputation, and financial performance. We are dependent on rental income from tenants for all of our rental home revenues. As a result, the success of this division depends in large part upon our ability to attract and retain qualified tenants for our properties. Our reputation and financial performance would be adversely affected if a significant number of our tenants fail to meet their lease obligations or fail to renew their leases. For example, tenants may default on rent payments, make unreasonable and repeated demands for service or improvements, make unsupported or unjustified complaints to regulatory or political authorities, use our properties for illegal purposes, damage or make unauthorized structural changes to our properties that are not covered by security deposits, refuse to leave the property upon termination of the lease, engage in domestic violence or similar disturbances, disturb nearby residents with noise, trash, odors or eyesores, fail to comply with local regulations, sublet to less desirable individuals in violation of our lease or permit unauthorized persons to live with them. Damage to our properties may delay re-leasing after eviction, necessitate expensive repairs or impair the rental income or value of the property resulting in a lower than expected rate of return. Increases in unemployment levels and other adverse changes in the economic conditions in our market could result in substantial tenant defaults.
Our planned lease terms could require us to re-lease our properties frequently, which we may be unable to do on attractive terms, on a timely basis or at all. We anticipate substantially all of our leases having a duration of one year. As these leases will permit tenants to leave at the end of the lease term without penalty, we anticipate our rental revenues may be affected by declines in market rents more quickly than if our leases were for longer terms. Annual leases may result in high turnover, which involves costs such as restoring the properties, marketing costs and lower occupancy levels. Our tenant turnover rate and related cost estimates may be less accurate than if we had more operating data upon which to base such estimates. Moreover, there are no assurances that our leases will be renewed on equal or better terms or at all. If our tenants do not renew their leases or the rental rates for our properties decrease, our operating results could be adversely affected.
Tenant relief laws, including laws restricting evictions and other regulations could limit our ability to evict bad tenants which may negatively impact our rental income and profitability. Landlords of numerous properties tend to be involved in evicting tenants who are not paying their rent or are otherwise in material violation of the terms of their lease. Eviction activities impose legal and managerial expenses that would raise our costs. The eviction process is typically subject to legal barriers, mandatory “cure” policies and other sources of expense and delay, each of which may delay our ability to gain possession and stabilize the property.
It would be difficult for us to quickly generate cash from sales of our properties. Real estate investments, particularly large portfolios of properties, are relatively illiquid. If we had a sudden need for significant cash, it would be difficult for us to fund such need quickly through a sale of our rental properties.
Products supplied to us and work done by subcontractors can expose us to risks that could adversely affect our business. We rely on subcontractors to perform the property development, including the construction of our single-family rental homes, and in many cases, to select and obtain building materials. Subcontractors may use improper construction processes or defective materials. Defective products can result in the need to perform extensive repairs. The cost of complying with our warranty obligations may be significant if we are unable to recover the cost of repairs from subcontractors, materials suppliers and insurers.
Risks Related to Legal, Regulatory, and Environmental, Health and Safety Matters
Government regulations and legal challenges may delay the closing of the sale of our residential lots, increase our expenses or limit other activities, which could have a negative impact on our results of operations. The approval of numerous governmental authorities must be obtained in connection with both our water and wastewater projects and our land development activities, and these governmental authorities often have broad discretion in exercising their approval authority. We incur substantial costs related to compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. Any increase in legal and regulatory requirements may cause us to incur substantial additional costs. Various local, state and federal statutes, ordinances, rules and regulations concerning health and safety, site and building design, environmental, zoning, and similar matters apply to and/or affect the construction and operation of our water and wastewater systems and our land development activities. For example, as detailed further below, the COGCC adopted regulations that took effect in 2021 which implement SB 19-181 by imposing minimum distances between new oil and gas drilling operations and residences, schools, and childcare centers. SB 19-181 also empowers local governments to enact regulations that are stricter than state requirements pertaining
to the surface impacts of oil and gas operations. Thus, local zoning or other regulations may seek to create stricter setbacks from oil and gas drilling operations or impose other restrictions on the use of land. For example, Arapahoe County adopted oil and gas regulations in November 2021 and amended those regulations in 2023 to include, among other things, a one-mile setback from existing and planned reservoirs, subject to certain exceptions that may allow a 2,000-foot setback. That 2,000-foot minimum setback is proposed to increase to 3,000-feet in a proposed rule under consideration by Arapahoe County as of as of November 2023. Arapahoe County is also considering increasing the setbacks from occupied structures, platted lots, outside activity areas, and water bodies, as well as other proposed rules to address soil contamination, noise, and air pollution from oil and gas facilities. Similarly, in 2021, Adams County adopted a rule requiring oil and gas facilities to be set back 2,000 feet from residences, schools, and certain waterbodies. As these state and local setback regulations are implemented, and to the extent that additional regulations are enacted, the value of the land that we already own or the availability of land that we are looking to acquire may decline, either of which may adversely impact the financial position, results of operations and cash flows of our business. In addition, our ability to obtain or renew permits or approvals and the continued effectiveness of permits already granted or approvals already obtained depends on factors beyond our control, such as changes in federal, state, and local policies, rules and regulations and their interpretations and application. Furthermore, we are subject to various fees and charges of government authorities designed to defray the cost of providing certain governmental services and improvements. For example, local and state governments have broad discretion regarding the imposition of development fees for projects under their jurisdictions, as well as requiring concessions or that the property developer and/or home builder construct certain improvements to public places such as parks and streets or fund schools. New building code energy laws and regulations may also adversely impact our costs of construction. For example, HB 22-1362 requires the Colorado Energy Office to identify by 2025, and local governments to adopt by 2026, more energy efficient and low carbon building codes. In addition, HB 21-1286 requires large (50,000 square feet) multifamily, commercial, and public buildings to meet energy performance and greenhouse gas standards, and the Colorado AQCC adopted implementing regulations in August 2023. Further, HB 23-1161 establishes water and energy efficiency standards for a range of appliances, which could impact appliance costs and, relatedly, costs for finishing new buildings. HB 23-1233 requires the adoption of regulations to wire multifamily buildings to be solar-ready and electric vehicle-ready, which could negatively impact our costs.
Municipalities or state water agencies may restrict or place moratoriums on the availability of utilities, such as water and sewer taps, which could have an adverse effect on our business by causing delays or increasing our costs.
We must provide water that meets all federal and state regulatory water quality standards and operate our water and wastewater facilities in accordance with these standards. Changes in regulations governing the supply of drinking water and treatment of wastewater may have a material adverse impact on our business. For example, on October 18, 2021, the Biden Administration announced a multi-agency, three-year strategy to begin addressing per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), known as “forever chemicals.” As a part of ongoing efforts to implement that initiative, the EPA: (i) finalized a rule in December 2021 pertaining to monitoring of PFAS in drinking water; (ii) issued a proposed rule in March 2023 to establish regulatory levels for PFOA, PFOS, PFNA, PFHzS, PFBS, and GenX chemicals in drinking water; (iii) issued a proposed rule in August 2022 to designate two of the most widely used PFAS as hazardous substances under CERCLA, or Superfund; (iv) announced two rulemaking efforts in October 2021 to address PFAS under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA); (v) and expects to develop additional rules restricting PFAS discharges from industrial sources. These new regulatory initiatives addressing PFAS in drinking water could impact the water side of our business.
With respect to service of customers on the Lowry Ranch, the Rangeview District’s rates might not be sufficient to cover the cost of compliance with additional or more stringent requirements, or we may be required to reserve more water than necessary for use on the Lowry Ranch to ensure the proper level of service to Lowry Ranch customers. If the cost of compliance were to increase, we anticipate that the rates of the nearby water providers that the Rangeview District uses to establish its rates and charges would increase to reflect these cost increases, thereby allowing the Rangeview District to increase its rates and charges. However, these water providers may not raise their rates in an amount that would be sufficient to enable the Rangeview District (and us) to cover any increased compliance costs.
Changes in other environmental laws may also affect, for example, how we manage storm water runoff, wastewater discharges and dust; how we develop or operate on properties on or affecting resources such as wetlands, endangered species, cultural resources, or areas subject to preservation laws; and how we address contamination. With respect to wetlands, the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2023 decision in Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency narrowed federal jurisdiction over wetlands under the Clean Water Act and related permitting requirements, which could simplify our permitting requirements for building near some wetlands. However, it is expected that further clarifications and changes may arise through implementing federal regulations, additional litigation over application of the Court’s decision, and/or state laws and regulations.
Government agencies may initiate audits, reviews, or investigations of our business practices to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations, which can cause us to incur costs or create other disruptions in our business that can be significant. Further, we may experience delays and increased expenses because of legal challenges to our proposed development activities, whether brought by governmental authorities or private parties. In addition, tariffs imposed by the United States on imported steel could increase our property development costs. It is possible that new standards could be imposed that will require additional capital expenditures or raise our operating costs. With respect to service of customers on the Lowry Ranch, the Rangeview District’s rates might not be sufficient to cover the cost of compliance with new requirements. Although we would expect the rates of the nearby water providers that the Rangeview District uses to establish its rates and charges to increase to cover increased compliance costs, such rates may not cover all our costs and our costs of complying with new standards or laws could adversely affect our business, results of operations or financial condition. Our noncompliance with environmental laws could result in fines and penalties, obligations to remediate, permit revocations and other sanctions.
Laws and regulations related to climate change, greenhouse gases, and energy may adversely affect us by directly and indirectly increasing the cost of or restricting our planned future growth activities. A variety of state legislation, regulations, and policies have been enacted in recent years relating to energy, climate change, greenhouse gas emissions reporting and controls, land use, and energy efficient building codes, in addition to the numerous above-discussed state and federal laws and regulations adopted in the past year regulating the siting of, emissions from, and chemicals used in oil and gas production. For example and as mentioned above, HB 22-1362 requires energy efficient and low carbon building codes to be adopted by the state and local governments by 2025 and 2026, respectively. Further, HB 21-1286 requires large (50,000 square feet or more) commercial, multifamily, and public buildings to annually report energy usage and reduce the buildings’ GHG emissions by 7% by 2026 and 20% by 2030. The AQCC adopted regulations implementing HB 21-1286 in 2023. Additionally, HB 23-1233 will require multifamily buildings to be solar-ready and electric vehicle-ready. Our future housing development costs and the cost of operating and maintaining our multifamily housing developments could be negatively impacted by HB 22-1362, HB 21-1286, and HB 23-1233, in conjunction with HB 23-1161 (appliance efficiency standards) and earlier enacted efficiency standards for appliances, plumbing fixtures, and buildings (e.g., HB 19-1231, HB 19-1260).
Colorado has also enacted ambitions GHG reduction targets, initially with HB 19-1261 and recently made yet more stringent with SB 23-016, which aims to reduce the state’s overall greenhouse gas emissions 100% below 2005 levels by 2050 and includes a series of interim targets. These legislated targets could lead to additional regulation impacting the housing development, water, and oil and gas industries in the future, which could increase our costs. There are also ongoing efforts to implement these greenhouse gas targets, other bills (e.g., HB 19-096, requiring GHG emissions reporting by certain entities pursuant to AQCC regulations; SB 23-1210, requiring the Colorado Energy Office to create a “carbon management roadmap”), and the Colorado Governor’s 2021 Colorado Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap identifying strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from a variety of sources, including buildings, transportation, and oil and gas mining and production. For example, pursuant to 19-096 the AQCC adopted and updated its Air Regulation Number 22 and Regulation Number 7 requiring monitoring, reporting, and reduction of GHGs and ozone precursors from certain categories of emitters, such as industrial wastewater treatment facilities and oil and gas operators. In addition, at the federal level, the SEC’s proposed climate risks disclosures and greenhouse gas reporting rule could, if finalized, impose additional compliance costs on our business, as well as for the oil and gas producers with whom we do business. As climate change concerns continue to grow, enactment of additional climate and energy legislation and regulations at the state, local, and federal levels may continue, and compliance with legislation and regulations of this nature is expected to become more costly.
On top of the direct impacts of climate and energy-related policies, there may also be indirect impacts. Energy-related initiatives affect a wide variety of companies throughout the United States and the world and, because our operations are dependent on significant amounts of raw materials, such as pipe, steel, and concrete, they could have an indirect adverse impact on our operations and profitability to the extent the manufacturers and suppliers of the materials used in the development of our properties are burdened with expensive tariffs, cap and trade and similar taxes and regulations.
Our construction of water and wastewater projects and improvements at Sky Ranch may expose us to certain completion, performance, and financial risks. We rely on independent contractors to construct our water and wastewater facilities and Sky Ranch lot improvements. These construction activities involve risks, including shortages of materials and labor, work stoppages, labor relations disputes, injuries to third parties, damages to property, weather interference, engineering, environmental, permitting, or geological problems and unanticipated cost increases. These issues could give rise to delays, cost overruns or performance deficiencies, or otherwise adversely affect the construction or operation of our water and wastewater delivery systems and the construction and delivery of residential lots. In addition, we may experience quality problems in the construction of our systems and facilities, including equipment
failures. We may not meet the required deadlines under our sale and construction contracts. We may face claims from customers or others regarding product quality and installation of equipment placed in service by contractors.
The sales contracts at Sky Ranch and contracts for the water and wastewater facilities that we design and construct are fixed-price contracts, in which we bear all or a significant portion of the risk for cost overruns. Under these fixed-price contracts, contract prices are established in part based on fixed, firm subcontractor quotes on contracts and on cost and scheduling estimates. These quotes or estimates may be based on several assumptions, including assumptions about prices and availability of labor, equipment and materials, and other issues. If these subcontractor quotations or cost estimates prove inaccurate, or if circumstances change, cost overruns may occur, and our financial results would be negatively impacted. In many cases, the incurrence of these additional costs would not be within our control.
Pursuant to various contracts related to the development of Sky Ranch, we guarantee that the project, when completed, will achieve certain performance standards, meet certain quality specifications, and satisfy certain requirements for governmental approvals. If we fail to complete the project as scheduled, meet guaranteed performance standards or quality specifications, or obtain the required governmental approvals, we may be held responsible for cost impacts and/or penalties to the customer resulting from any delay or for the costs to alter the project to achieve the performance standards and the quality specifications and to obtain the required government approvals. To the extent that these events occur and are not due to circumstances for which the customer accepts responsibility or cannot be mitigated by performance bonds or the provisions of our agreements with contractors, the total costs of the project would exceed our original estimates and our financial results would be negatively impacted.
We, or our subcontractors, are required to secure performance and completion bonds for certain contracts and projects. The market for surety companies has become increasingly risk averse. We and our subcontractors secure performance and completion bonds for our contracts from these surety companies. To the extent we or our subcontractors are unable to obtain bonds, we may breach existing agreements and/or not be awarded new contracts. We may not be able to secure performance and completion bonds when required.
The enactment and implementation of SB 19-181 increasing state and local regulatory oversight of oil and gas development could have an adverse effect on our water sales to the oil and gas industry for hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and demand for new homes at Sky Ranch. Enacted in 2019, SB 19-181 authorizes local governments to approve the siting of oil and gas locations and regulate the surface impacts of oil and natural gas development through local requirements that may be more stringent than state requirements. SB 19-181 also changed the mission of the Colorado Energy and Carbon Management Commission (or, at the time, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission) from fostering responsible and balanced development of natural resources and oil and gas, to regulating the development and production of natural resources and oil and gas in order to “protect” and “minimize” “adverse impacts to public health, safety, and welfare, including protection of the environment and wildlife resources. SB 19-181 also requires what is now the Colorado Energy and Carbon Management Commission and the AQCC to undertake rulemakings on environmental protection, facility siting, increased inspections and public disclosures, elimination of hard caps on application fees, increasing required financial assurances, and minimizing emissions of hydrocarbons and other compounds. The COGCC and the AQCC have promulgated several rules pursuant to SB 19-181 over the past several years, as summarized below.
Regulations implemented by the Colorado Energy and Carbon Management Commission pursuant to SB 19-181 could adversely impact our land development activities by limiting the number of lots available for land development in Colorado and could adversely impact our water sales for fracking by limiting the land available for oil and gas production. As a part of implementing SB 19-181, the COGCC approved a rule (Setback Rule) imposing setbacks and siting requirements for well locations. The Setback Rule, which took effect in 2021, prohibits, without exception, working well pad surfaces from being located within 2,000 feet of a school facility or childcare center, or within 500 feet from one or more residential buildings that are not subject to a surface use agreement or waiver. The Setback Rule also generally prohibits any well pad surface from being located greater than 500 feet and less than 2,000 feet from a residential or high occupancy building, but allows such locations to obtain an exemption by satisfying certain requirements (such as consent from owners and tenants) or by obtaining a Commission finding, after a hearing, that the conditions of approval will provide “substantially equivalent protections” to a 2,000 foot setback for public health, safety, welfare, the environment, wildlife resources, and disproportionately impacted communities.
Depending on how the Setback Rule is applied and interpreted, it could have the effect of limiting property development within 2,000 feet of a well pad surface. As noted above, to develop oil and gas near residential or high occupancy buildings, the applicant will need an exception from the Commission by obtaining explicit, informed consent from both the landowner and their tenants (as applicable) to the proposed oil and gas location, or by demonstrating that conditions on approval will provide “substantially equivalent protections” to
a 2,000-foot setback. Applicants who are unable to obtain such an exception may be forced to choose between using their property for oil and gas development or for residential and commercial development. So, under a restrictive interpretation of the Setback Rule and its exceptions, we might have to limit drilling on our mineral rights at Sky Ranch to proceed with the occupancy densities we have planned, which would adversely affect our industrial water sales to the oil and gas industry. The Setback Rule could also reduce the supply of other land acquisition opportunities for development. Alternatively, the Setback Rule could make such residential properties more attractive to people who prefer to live farther from oil and gas developments. Additionally, any rules that would require the Land Board to elect between oil and gas or residential and commercial land development with respect to the Lowry Ranch would likely have an adverse effect on our financial condition, because we have the exclusive right to provide water service to customers on the Lowry Ranch, including both lessees of the oil and gas rights on the Lowry Ranch and future occupants of the Lowry Ranch if the Land Board sells the land for development. Our business could be further impacted by more restrictive local regulations, such as Adams County’s rule requiring oil and gas facilities to be set back 2,000 feet from residences, schools, and certain waterbodies, and Arapahoe County’s recently adopted rule generally requiring a one-mile setback from existing and planned reservoirs, as well as Arapahoe County’s proposed rule that would, if adopted, increase setbacks from occupied structures, platted lots, outside activity areas, and water bodies. These local ordinances, as well as similar ordinances that other local jurisdictions may implement in the future, may adversely impact the buildable area and costs of our development and our clients’ development.
In addition to the Setback Rule, state agencies have recently adopted other regulations on oil and gas development as a part of implementing SB 19-181 and other recently enacted legislation such as HB 22-1244, HB 19-096, and HB 19-1261. For example, the Colorado Energy and Carbon Management Commission in recent years has adopted new rules for testing and ensuring the integrity of oil and gas flow lines and well bores and has imposed new fees and financial assurance requirements for oil and gas facilities. In addition, the AQCC has, in recent years, approved rules calling for more frequent inspections of oil and gas equipment, imposing new GHG intensity standards for oil and gas operators, and requiring reporting and reduction of GHG emissions, ozone precursors, and hydrocarbons by oil and gas operations as well as industrial wastewater treatment facilities, where applicable. Similarly, the AQCC adopted increasingly restrictive GHG intensity standards for upstream oil and gas operations and related “verification” and monitoring requirements. The AQCC also published an initial list of toxic air contaminants as a first step toward regulation under HB 22-1244.
These and related rulemaking activities by state agencies and local governments could lead to delays and additional costs for oil and gas operators, which, in turn, could result in a decline in oil and gas drilling activities. A significant decline in oil and gas drilling activities in and around the Lowry Ranch and our Sky Ranch property would have an adverse effect on our water sales for fracking and our financial condition. Further, a significant decline in oil and gas activities throughout Colorado could negatively impact the Colorado economy, which could have an adverse effect on demand for new homes at Sky Ranch.
Future Ballot Initiatives at the State or Local Level Could Restrict Oil and Gas and Land Development. In the past decade, interest groups in Colorado opposed to oil and natural gas development generally, and hydraulic fracturing in particular, have put forward ballot initiatives that, if approved, would have significantly curtailed oil and natural gas development in the state. For example, in 2018, Proposition 112 would have imposed a 2,500-foot setback from any building or waterway in Colorado. Although Colorado voters rejected that measure, the influential power of even failed ballot initiatives is demonstrated by the fact that the Colorado Legislature and Governor passed SB 19-181 the following year and, pursuant to that law, the Colorado Energy and Carbon Management Commission promulgated the similar, though less restrictive, Setback Rule. In August 2023, environmental groups submitted language for the 2024 ballot that would ban new hydraulic fracturing permits after 2030. It is not yet clear whether this proposal will make it to the ballot, but if it does and if it were to win, that could materially threaten our oil and gas clients and, in turn, our business.
We may be subject to significant potential liabilities because of warranty and liability claims made against us. Design, construction, or system failures related to our water and wastewater delivery systems could result in injury to third parties or damage to property. In addition, as a property developer, we are subject in the ordinary course of our business to warranty claims. We are also subject to claims for losses or injuries that occur during our property development activities. We plan to record warranty and other reserves for the residential lots we sell based on historical trends in our market and our judgment of the qualitative risks associated with the type of lots we sell. We have, and many of our subcontractors have, general liability, property, workers’ compensation, and other business insurance. These insurance policies are intended to protect us against a portion of our risk of loss from claims, subject to certain self-insured retentions, deductibles, and coverage limits. However, it is possible that this insurance will not be adequate to address all warranty and liability claims to which we are subject. Additionally, the coverage offered and the availability of general liability insurance for construction defects are currently limited and policies that can be obtained are costly and often include exclusions based upon past losses insurers suffered as a result of use of defective materials used by other property developers. As a result, our subcontractors may be unable to obtain insurance, and we may have to waive our customary insurance requirements, which increases our and our insurers’
exposure to claims and increases the possibility that our insurance will not be adequate to protect us for all the costs we incur. Any losses that exceed claims against our contractors, the performance bonds and our insurance limits at such facilities could result in claims against us. In addition, if there is a customer dispute regarding performance of our services, the customer may decide to delay or withhold payment to us. No warranty and liability claims have been made against us as of the date of this report.
A major health and safety incident relating to our business could be costly in terms of potential liabilities and reputational damage. Water facility and construction sites are inherently dangerous and pose certain inherent health and safety risks to construction workers and other persons on the site. Any failure in health and safety performance may result in penalties for non-compliance with relevant regulatory requirements, and a failure that results in a major or significant health and safety incident is likely to be costly in terms of potential liabilities incurred as a result. Such a failure could generate significant negative publicity and have a corresponding impact on our reputation, our relationships with relevant regulatory agencies or governmental authorities, and our ability to attract customers and employees, which in turn could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and operating results.
Conflicts of interest may arise relating to the operation of the Rangeview District, the Sky Ranch Districts and the Sky Ranch CAB. Our Chief Executive Officer and two of our employees constitute the majority of the directors of each of the Rangeview District, the Sky Ranch Districts and the Sky Ranch CAB. These officers and employees, along with Pure Cycle, and one unrelated individual, own certain property interests in the 40 acres that constitute the Rangeview District and the acreage that constitutes the Sky Ranch Districts. We have made loans to the Rangeview District to fund its operations. As of August 31, 2023, total principal and interest owed to us by the Rangeview District was just under $1.2 million. Pursuant to our water and wastewater service agreements with the Rangeview District, of the net amounts retained by the Rangeview District, the Rangeview District retains two percent of the revenues from the sale of water to its end-use customers and 10% of the revenues from the provision of wastewater services to its end-use customers. Proceeds from the fee collections will initially be used to repay the Rangeview District’s obligations to us, but after these loans are repaid, the Rangeview District is not required to use the funds to benefit Pure Cycle.
Similarly, we have made loans to and incurred expenses reimbursable by the Sky Ranch Districts and the Sky Ranch CAB. As of August 31, 2023, the Sky Ranch CAB owes us $24.9 million related to construction of public improvements on the Sky Ranch property, including project management fees and interest on these amounts. The Sky Ranch CAB is not required to repay us for advances made or expenses incurred for improvements at Sky Ranch unless and until the Sky Ranch CAB and/or Sky Ranch Districts generate sufficient cash flows from either property taxes, fees or from the issuance of bonds in an amount sufficient to reimburse us for all or a portion of advances made or expenses incurred. We have received benefits from our activities undertaken in conjunction with the Rangeview and Sky Ranch Districts and the Sky Ranch CAB, but conflicts may arise between our interests and those of the Rangeview and Sky Ranch Districts and the Sky Ranch CAB and our officers and employees who are acting in dual capacities in negotiating contracts to which we and a district and/or the Sky Ranch CAB are parties. We expect that the Rangeview and Sky Ranch Districts will expand when more properties are developed and become part of the respective districts, and our officers and employees acting as directors of these districts will have fiduciary obligations to those other constituents. Conflicts may not be resolved in our best interest. In addition, other landowners coming into a district will be eligible to vote and to serve as directors of these districts. Our officers and employees may not remain as directors of these districts, and the actions of subsequently elected boards could have an adverse impact on our operations.
Growth limitations or moratoriums imposed by governmental authorities could adversely affect our land development activities or the land development activities of our customers, which could adversely impact both the land development and water and wastewater segments of our business. The State of Colorado recently enacted HB 23-1255, which generally prohibits local governments from enacting or enforcing local housing growth-restrictions laws that would limit housing supply, development applications, or building permits. However, under certain circumstances, local governments may implement a temporary moratorium of up to 2 years. While this new law alleviates concerns that a local government in our planned development areas might permanently restrict new growth, a temporary moratorium could still have the effect of delaying, limiting or halting development within Sky Ranch or other areas where we may provide water and wastewater services or develop land. Because all of the property in Sky Ranch has been platted, we do not expect future growth moratoriums to restrict Sky Ranch as currently planned; however, if temporary growth moratoriums or restrictions are imposed in the areas in which we provide services or develop land, it could negatively impact our ability to develop our land as planned or our customers’ ability to grow their communities as anticipated, which would also reduce the number of water and wastewater service customers we expect, which would have a negative impact on our business and financial condition.
We could be hurt by efforts to impose liabilities or obligations on us regarding labor law violations by other persons whose employees perform contracted services. The infrastructure and improvements on our water and wastewater systems and on the finished lots we sell or that we must provide pursuant to service agreements and lot development agreements are done by employees of subcontractors and
other contract parties. We do not have the ability to control what these contract parties pay their employees or the work rules they impose on their employees. However, there have been efforts by government agencies including the National Labor Relations Board and the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment to hold contract parties like us responsible for violations of wage and hour laws and other work-related laws by firms whose employees are performing contracted-for services. Governmental rulings that make us responsible for labor practices by our subcontractors could create substantial exposures for us in situations that are not within our control.
Contamination to our water supply may result in disruption in our services and litigation, which could adversely affect our business, operating results and financial condition. Our water supplies are subject to the risk of potential contamination, including contamination from naturally occurring compounds, pollution from man-made sources and intentional sabotage. Our land at Sky Ranch and a portion of the Lowry Ranch have been leased for oil and gas exploration and development. Such exploration and development could expose us to additional contamination risks from related leaks or spills. In addition, we handle certain hazardous materials at our water treatment facilities, primarily sodium hypochlorite. Any failure of our operation of the facilities or any contamination of our supplies, including sewage spills, noncompliance with water quality standards, hazardous materials leaks and spills, and similar events, could expose us to environmental liabilities, claims and litigation costs. If any of these events occur, we may have to interrupt the use of that water supply until we are able to substitute the supply from another source or treat the contaminated supply. We cannot assure that we will successfully manage these issues, and failure to do so could have a material adverse effect on our future results of operations.
We may incur significant costs in order to treat the contaminated source through expansion of our current treatment facilities or development of new treatment methods. If we are unable to substitute water supply from an uncontaminated water source, or to adequately treat the contaminated water source in a cost-effective manner, there may be an adverse effect on our revenues, operating results and financial condition. The costs we incur to decontaminate a water source or an underground water system could be significant and could adversely affect our business, operating results and financial condition and may not be recoverable in rates.
We could also be held liable for consequences arising out of human exposure to hazardous substances in our water supplies or other environmental damage. For example, private plaintiffs could assert personal injury or other toxic tort claims arising from the presence of hazardous substances in our drinking water supplies. Although we have not been a party to any environmental or pollution-related lawsuits, such lawsuits have increased in frequency in recent years. If we are subject to an environmental or pollution-related lawsuit, we might incur significant legal costs, and it is uncertain whether we would be able to recover the legal costs from ratepayers or other third parties. Our insurance policies may not cover or provide sufficient coverage for the losses associated with or the costs of these claims.
We may be adversely affected by any future decision by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to regulate us as a public utility. The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) regulates investor-owned water companies operating for the purpose of supplying water to the public. The CPUC regulates many aspects of public utilities’ operations, including establishing water rates and fees, initiating inspections, enforcement and compliance activities and assisting consumers with complaints. We do not believe that we are a public utility under Colorado law. We currently provide services by contract mainly to the Rangeview District, which supplies the public. Quasi-municipal metropolitan districts, such as the Rangeview District and the Sky Ranch Districts, are exempt by statute from regulation by the CPUC. However, the CPUC could attempt to regulate us as a public utility. If this were to occur, we might incur significant expense challenging the CPUC’s assertion of jurisdiction, and we may be unsuccessful. In the future, existing regulations may be revised or reinterpreted, and new laws and regulations may be adopted or become applicable to us or our facilities. If we become regulated as a public utility, our ability to generate profits could be limited, and we might incur significant costs associated with regulatory compliance.
The Rangeview District’s and our rights under the Lease have been challenged by third parties. In the past the Rangeview District’s and our rights under the Lease have been challenged by third parties, including the Land Board. In 2014, in connection with settling a lawsuit filed by us and the Rangeview District against the Land Board, the Land Board, the Rangeview District and we amended and restated the Lease to clarify and update a number of provisions. However, there are issues still subject to disagreement and negotiation, including our rights with respect to revenue from our Export Water after 2081, and it is likely that during the remaining term (through 2081) of the Lease, the parties will disagree over interpretations of provisions in the Lease again. The Rangeview District’s or our rights under the Lease could be challenged in the future, which could require potentially expensive litigation to enforce our rights.
Our Lowry Ranch surface water rights are “conditional decrees” and require findings of reasonable diligence. Our surface water interests and reservoir sites at the Lowry Ranch are conditionally decreed and are subject to a finding of reasonable diligence from the Colorado water court every six years. To arrive at a finding of reasonable diligence, the water court must determine that we continue to
diligently pursue the development of said water rights. If the water court is unable to make such a finding, we could lose the water right under review. During each of fiscal 2012 and 2018, the Lowry Ranch conditional decrees were granted review by the water court, which determined that we and the Rangeview District met the diligence criteria. The water court entered a finding of reasonable diligence on the Lowry Ranch surface water decrees in January 2019. Our next review for reasonable diligence on the Lowry Ranch surface water decrees will be in January 2025. We believe we will be successful in maintaining our decrees as we continue to develop these rights. If the water court does not make a determination of reasonable diligence, the value of our interests in the Rangeview Water Supply would be materially adversely impacted.
Our operations are affected by local politics and governmental procedures that are beyond our control. We operate in a highly political environment. We market our water rights to municipalities and other governmental entities run by elected or politically appointed officials. Our principal competitors are municipalities and other water districts. Various constituencies, including our competitors, developers, environmental groups, conservation groups, and agricultural interests, have competing agendas with respect to the development of water rights in Colorado, which means that decisions affecting our business are based on many factors other than economic and business considerations. Additional risks associated with dealing with governmental entities include turnover of elected and appointed officials, changes in policies from election to election, and a lack of institutional history in these entities concerning their prior courses of dealing with the Company. We spend significant time and resources educating elected officials, local authorities and others regarding our water rights and the benefits of contracting with us. Political concerns and governmental procedures and policies may hinder or delay our ability to enter into service agreements or develop our water rights or infrastructure to deliver our water. While we have worked to reduce the political risks in our business through our participation as the service provider for the Rangeview District in regional cooperative resource programs, such as the SMWSA and the WISE partnership with Denver Water and Aurora Water, as well as education and communication efforts and community involvement, our efforts may be unsuccessful.
The number of connections we can serve are affected by local governmental policies that are beyond our control. We market our water rights through service agreements to developers, municipalities and other governmental entities. We believe that our water rights can serve approximately 60,000 single family connections based on standards applied to water providers in Arapahoe, Douglas, and Adams Counties. These standards are policy driven, based on assumed life and reliability of water supplies and may become more restrictive at the discretion of the governmental entity. If these standards become more restrictive, our water supplies may not serve the number of connections that we currently estimate we can serve.
We are dependent on the services of a key employee. Our success largely depends on the continuing services of our President and Chief Executive Officer, Mark W. Harding. We believe Mr. Harding possesses valuable knowledge, experience and leadership abilities that would be difficult in the short term to replace. Mr. Harding also serves on the boards of the Rangeview District, the Sky Ranch Districts, and the Sky Ranch CAB. The loss of Mr. Harding as a key employee and as a director of these boards would cause a significant interruption of our operations.
Our stock price has been volatile in the past and may decline in the future. Our common stock has experienced significant price and volume fluctuations in the past and may experience significant fluctuations in the future depending upon several factors, some of which are beyond our control. Factors that could affect our stock price and trading volume include, among others, the perceived prospects of our business; differences between anticipated and actual operating results; changes in analysts’ recommendations or projections; the commencement and/or results of litigation and other legal proceedings; and future sales of our common stock by us or by significant shareholders, officers and directors. In addition, stock markets in general have experienced price and volume volatility from time to time, which may adversely affect the market price of our common stock for reasons unrelated to our performance.
Unauthorized access to confidential information and data on our information technology systems and security and data breaches could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, and operating results. We rely on computer and information technology systems to conduct our business and communicate with our suppliers and other third parties. Our systems require continued and unimpeded access to secure network connections. We have physical, technical and procedural safeguards in place that are designed to protect information and protect against security and data breaches as well as fraudulent transactions and other activities. Despite these safeguards and our other security processes and protections, we cannot be assured that all of our systems and processes are free from vulnerability to security breaches. Cyberattacks are evolving and becoming increasingly sophisticated. Cyberattacks may take various forms, including through hacking, ransomware attacks, malware, viruses and phishing scams.
A significant data security breach, including misappropriation of confidential information, could cause us to incur significant costs, which may include potential costs of investigations, legal, forensic and consulting fees, costs and diversion of management attention required for investigation, remediation and litigation, substantial repair or replacement costs. We could also experience data losses that would impair our ability to manage our business operations, including accounting and project costs, manage our water and wastewater systems or process transactions and have a negative impact on our reputation and loss of confidence of our customers, suppliers and others, any of which could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, operating results and reputation.
Failure to maintain effective internal controls over financial reporting could result in material misstatements in our financial statements and affect our ability to meet our reporting requirements. Our management is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over our financial reporting, as defined in Rule 13a-15(f) under the Exchange Act. A material weakness is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting, such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of the Company’s annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis. As disclosed in Item 9A, during fiscal 2021, we concluded that a material weakness existed in our internal controls resulting from ineffective procedures related to the preparation and review of spreadsheets, which compromised the integrity of the spreadsheets used to support and record transactions related to tracking the public improvement reimbursable amounts and related interest income. To address this material weakness, management has devoted, and plans to continue to devote, significant effort and resources to the remediation and improvement of its internal control over financial reporting by implementing additional steps in the review process of various complex schedules that support accounting entries on a monthly and quarterly basis or moving these manual tracking and reconciliation processes to a more automated software system.
Effective internal controls are necessary for us to provide reasonable assurance with respect to our financial reports and to effectively prevent fraud. Internal controls over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements because of inherent limitations, including the possibility of human error, the circumvention or overriding of controls, or fraud. Therefore, even effective internal controls can provide only reasonable assurance with respect to the preparation and fair presentation of financial statements. If we cannot provide reasonable assurance with respect to our financial reports and effectively prevent fraud, our operating results could be misreported. In addition, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting to future periods are subject to the risk that the control may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate. If we fail to maintain effective internal controls, including any failure to implement required new or improved controls, or if we experience difficulties in their implementation, our business and operating results could be harmed, we could fail to meet our reporting obligations, and there could be a material adverse effect on our share price.
Conflicts, terrorist attacks, public health crises, including the occurrence of a contagious disease or illness, such as the COVID-19 coronavirus and general instability could adversely affect our business. We are vulnerable to the effects of conflicts, terrorist attacks and public health crises. As has been the case with COVID-19, such effects have precipitated economic instability and turmoil in financial markets. The uncertainty and economic disruption resulting from hostilities, acts of terrorism or public health crises may impact our operations or those of our suppliers or customers. Accordingly, any conflict, terrorist attack or public health crisis that impacts us or any of our suppliers or customers, could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Item 1B – Unresolved Staff Comments
Item 2 – Properties
Water Related Assets
In addition to the water rights and adjudicated reservoir sites that are described in Item 1 – Our Water and Land Assets, we own or have exclusive rights to use, through the Rangeview District a 1.0 million-gallon and two 500,000-gallon treated water storage tanks, three storage reservoirs that can store 1.7 million barrels of water (71.4 million gallons), five deep water wells, three alluvial wells, three pump stations, over 50 miles of water transmission and distribution lines, and more than 10 miles of wastewater collection pipelines in Arapahoe County, Colorado. In conjunction with Wild Pointe, and the Elbert 86 District, we have exclusive rights to use, operate and maintain two water tanks with a combined capacity of 438,000 gallons, two deep water wells, a pump station, and 11 miles of transmission lines serving customers at Wild Pointe in Elbert County. These assets are used to provide service to our customers.
Land and Mineral Interests
We own approximately 588 acres of land remaining at our Sky Ranch Master Planned Community as well as approximately 634 net mineral acres at Sky Ranch. We own 40 acres of land that comprise the current boundaries of the Rangeview District (together with all the mineral rights). We own 700 acres of land in the Arkansas River Valley, and we hold 13,900 acres of mineral interests in the Arkansas River Valley in Southeast Colorado in Otero, Bent and Prowers Counties. We also own 261 acres in Weld County together with certain water shares in the Henrylyn Irrigation District and groundwater rights in the Lost Creek Designated Basin.
Item 3 – Legal Proceedings
Item 4 – Mine Safety Disclosures
Item 5 – Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Our common stock is traded on The NASDAQ Stock Market under the symbol “PCYO.”
On November 10, 2023, there were 839 holders of record of our common stock.
We have never paid any dividends on our common stock and expect for the foreseeable future to retain all of our capital and earnings from operations, if any, for use in expanding and developing our water and land development businesses. Any future decision as to the payment of dividends will be at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend upon our earnings, financial position, capital requirements, plans for expansion and such other factors as our board of directors deems relevant. The terms of our Series B Preferred Stock prohibit payment of dividends on common stock unless all dividends accrued on the Series B Preferred Stock have been paid and require dividends to be paid on the Series B Preferred Stock if proceeds from the sale of Export Water exceed $36,026,232. No dividends have been accrued to date as this threshold has not been met. For further discussion, see Note 9 to the accompanying consolidated financial statements.
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
On November 2, 2022, our Board of Directors approved a stock repurchase program. The program is open-ended and authorizes repurchases of up to an aggregate of 200,000 shares of common stock in the open market. As of August 31, 2023, no shares had been repurchased under the repurchase program. The following table presents the number and average price of shares purchased in each month of the first quarter of fiscal 2024 as of November 10, 2023:
Total Number of Shares Purchased
Average Price Paid per Share
Total Number of Shares Purchase as Part of Publicly Announced Plans or Programs
Maximum Number of Shares that May Yet Be Purchased Under the Plans or Programs
Item 6 – Selected Financial Data
Item 7 – Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
The discussion and analysis below includes certain forward-looking statements that are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, as described in “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, that could cause our actual growth, results of operations, performance, financial position and business prospects and opportunities for this fiscal year and the periods that follow to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, those forward-looking statements. Readers are cautioned that forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K should be read in conjunction with our disclosure under the heading “FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS” on page 1.
The following Management’s Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) is intended to help the reader understand the results of operations and our financial condition and should be read in conjunction with the accompanying consolidated financial statements and the notes thereto included in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Due to rapidly rising mortgage interest rates, we saw a slow-down in the demand for housing which impacted our land development segment during fiscal 2023, with a similar cooling to water/wastewater sales. Only our single-family rental business saw an increase in revenue, due the addition of 11 more rental homes during fiscal 2023. Our land development segment was negatively impacted by construction delays in the continued development of our Sky Ranch Master Planned Community. Phase 1 is now complete, with Phase 2A at approximately 93% complete, and Phase 2B at approximately 31% complete. We continue to work on projects to expand our water assets by completing two new wells on the Lowry Ranch that we expect to be placed in service during the second quarter of fiscal 2024. Our notable financial highlights from fiscal 2023 include the following:
|●||Total revenues were $14.5 million, down from $23.0 million in 2022, primarily driven by construction delays related to lot sales at Sky Ranch and reduced water sales to oil and gas operators for use in their drilling operations;|
|◾||Revenue from commercial water sales, which includes selling water to oil and gas operators, was $3.1 million in 2023 compared to $4.1 million in 2022;|
|◾||Recorded lot sales for 2023 were $6.8 million, compared to $12.2 million in 2022, which is due to the construction delays experienced in both Phase 2A and 2B;|
|●||Pre-tax income was $6.2 million in 2023, which is down from $12.7 million in 2022;|
|●||In 2023 we posted $0.19 of earnings per fully diluted common share, which is down from $0.40 in 2022;|
|●||Total assets continue to increase to $133.2 million at August 31, 2023 from $129.2 million at August 31, 2022; and|
|●||Total equity increased to $118.2 million at August 31, 2023 from $113.0 million at August 31, 2022.|
The housing market deteriorated in the third quarter of calendar 2022 and continued through fiscal 2023 as the Federal Reserve remained aggressive in its actions to combat inflation by raising interest rates. As a result, 30-year fixed mortgage rates have continued to rise and are at their highest level in over 15 years. The magnitude and speed of these recent rate increases has caused many buyers to pause and reconsider a home purchase.
We believe several long-term land development and housing market fundamental factors remain positive, including favorable demographics, a lot and housing supply-demand imbalance resulting from a decade-plus underproduction of new homes in relation to population growth, and low resale home inventory. While we remain confident in the long-term growth prospects for the industry given
these factors, the current demand for new homes is subject to continued uncertainty due to many factors. The combination of sharply higher mortgage interest rates since early 2022, several years of rising housing prices, elevated inflation, and various other macroeconomic and geopolitical concerns, is moderating housing demand which is expected to continue into 2024. Given current conditions, we plan to continue to monitor market dynamics and surrounding community performance and adjust the timing of additional construction expenditures at Sky Ranch as necessary. We believe our reasonably priced (entry level) lots and the low inventory of entry level housing in the Denver market will help Sky Ranch navigate the changing market better than other surrounding and significantly higher priced communities.
Our future performance and the strategies we implement (and adjust or refine as necessary or appropriate) will depend significantly on prevailing economics, homebuilding industry, capital, credit and financial market conditions and on a fairly stable and constructive political and regulatory environment (particularly regarding housing and mortgage loan financing policies). The Federal Reserve’s aggressive raising of the federal funds interest rate and other measures during 2022 and 2023 to moderate persistent U.S. inflation, and the further actions it has stated it intends to take, are expected to be an ongoing headwind for the housing market in 2024 and beyond, as they have elevated mortgage loan interest rates, and created macroeconomic uncertainty and volatility across financial markets. Prolonged supply chain disruptions and other production-related challenges could extend or delay our construction cycle times and intensify construction-related cost pressures beyond our experience in fiscal 2023. In addition, consumer demand for our homes, and our ability to grow our scale, revenues and returns in fiscal 2024 could be materially and negatively affected by the above-described monetary policy impacts or other factors that curtail mortgage loan availability, employment or income growth or consumer confidence in the U.S. or in the Colorado markets. The potential extent and effect of these factors on our business is highly uncertain, unpredictable and outside our control, and our past performance, including in fiscal 2023, should not be considered indicative of our future results.
Results of Operations
The results of our operations for the fiscal years ended August 31, 2023 and 2022 were as follows:
(In thousands, except for water deliveries and taps sold)
August 31, 2023
August 31, 2022
Water and wastewater resource revenue
Land development revenue
Project management fees
Water and wastewater resource cost of revenue
Land development cost of revenue
Single-family rental cost of revenue
Total cost of revenue
General and administrative expense and depreciation
Other income, net
Income tax expense
Water delivered (thousands of gallons)
Water taps sold
Wastewater taps sold
Fiscal 2023 vs. Fiscal 2022
Revenue – Total revenue decreased in 2023 as compared to 2022, primarily due to delays in the continued development of our Sky Ranch Master Planned Community because of home builders’ caution in the housing market as a result of rising interest rates. The delays in development resulted in a reduction in water and wastewater tap sales and project management fees. Additionally, commercial
water sales, mainly to oil and gas operators for use in their drilling operations, decreased from $4.1 million in 2022 to $3.1 million in 2023. These decreases include decreased tap revenue (from $4.9 million in 2022 to $3.0 million in 2023), and project management revenue at Sky Ranch (from $0.7 million in 2022 to $0.3 million in 2023). As Sky Ranch continues to grow, we expect lot sales to generate significant revenue in the future, and increasing water and wastewater usage and taps purchased as we continue to add customers to our water resource development segment.
Cost of revenue – Total costs of revenue decreased marginally in 2023 as compared to 2022, primarily due to reduced construction costs in the development of Sky Ranch as construction delays were encountered.
General and administrative expense – General and administrative expense net decreased in 2023 as compared to 2022, primarily due to the receipt of three quarters of qualified Employee Retention Credits from the Internal Revenue Service.
Other income, net – Other income, net increased in 2023 as compared to 2022, primarily due to the receipt of several one-time payments from oil and gas operators primarily for surface use and damage payment agreements. Additionally, in fiscal 2023 we recognized $0.2 million of interest expense, compared to $0.1 million in fiscal 2022, related to three notes payable we entered into with our primary lender for the financing of the rental homes and the Lost Creek Water purchase, which are described in greater detail in Note 8 to the accompanying consolidated financial statements.
Income tax expense – Income tax expense decreased in 2023 as compared to 2022, due to lower pre-tax income primarily from the impact of construction delays in developing Sky Ranch. Our effective tax rate remained relatively consistent year over year.
Water delivered – Water deliveries decreased in 2023 as compared to 2022, primarily due to decreased sales to oil and gas operators, offset by new Sky Ranch customers. Oil and gas operations are highly variable and dependent on oil prices, demand for gas, and timing of other leases in our service areas; therefore, we cannot provide any assurances that we will realize this level of sales to oil and gas customers in the future. As Sky Ranch continues to develop, we anticipate continued growth in our residential water and wastewater service revenues.
Water and wastewater tap sales – Water and wastewater tap sales decreased in 2023 as compared to 2022 due to the timing of closings at Sky Ranch. The decrease in tap sales was offset by an increase in the rate per water tap sold in 2023. Tap sales are driven by the issuance of building permits and the timing of these are not contractually established with the home builders. During fiscal 2023, we sold 90 taps in Phase 2A, with an additional 10 taps allocated to our single-family rental segment. These taps combined with the sale of 113 taps in fiscal 2022 leave a remaining 16 taps which we expect to sell in fiscal 2024 for a total of 229 lots in Phase 2A. We expect to substantially complete the next 211 lots in Phase 2B in fiscal 2024 and expect to realize additional tap sales in fiscal 2024 relating to the delivery of the Phase 2B lots.
Lots delivered – The number of lots delivered (which refers to when title passed on a lot to the homebuilder) decreased in 2023 compared to 2022 due to all lots in Phase 2A being delivered to builders by the end of fiscal 2022. No finished lots were delivered to homebuilders during fiscal 2023; however, we did recognize certain milestone payments from our Lot Delivery Agreements from home builders in 2023 which accounted for $3.8 million in lot sales revenue for Phase 2B and $3.0 million in lot sales revenue for Phase 2A. We expect to be substantially complete with the delivery of all 211 Phase 2B lots during fiscal 2024. Despite lots being transferred to the homebuilders, we still have various construction activities to complete Phase 2A and to turn over the completed infrastructure to the applicable governmental agency for maintenance.
Water and Wastewater Resource Development Results of Operations
(In thousands, except for water deliveries)
August 31, 2023
August 31, 2022
Metered water usage from:
Municipal water usage
Commercial water usage
Wastewater treatment fees
Water and wastewater tap fees
Total segment revenue
Water service costs
Wastewater service costs
Segment operating income
Water deliveries (thousands of gallons)
Commercial sales - export water and other
Total water deliveries
Municipal water usage – Municipal water usage increased in 2023 compared to 2022, primarily due to new Sky Ranch customers in our water and wastewater resource development segment. We anticipate these revenues to continue to increase in the future as more customers are added to our system as Sky Ranch continues to develop.
Commercial water usage – The main component of commercial water usage is from sales to oil and gas operators for use in their drilling process. Commercial water sales decreased during fiscal 2023, primarily due to decreased demand by our oil and gas customers. Because oil and gas is cyclical in nature as demand and prices fluctuate, we have no way of knowing if water provided to oil and gas operators will increase or decrease in the future.
Wastewater treatment fees – Wastewater treatment fees increased in 2023 compared to 2022, primarily due to new Sky Ranch customers in our water and wastewater resource development segment. We anticipate these revenues to continue to increase in the future as more customers are added to our system as Sky Ranch continues to develop.
Water and wastewater tap fees –Water and wastewater tap sales decreased in 2023 compared to 2022, primarily due to a decrease in the number of taps sold due to timing on construction of Phase 2A and the delayed start of Phase 2B, which was partially offset by a price increase of water and wastewater taps. Water and wastewater taps are sold to home builders at the time a building permit is issued and are dependent on when the home builder constructs homes and not contractually driven in terms of timing; therefore, timing of tap sales fluctuate with demand for new construction. During the fiscal year ended 2023, the average price of a Sky Ranch water and wastewater tap was $30,000 compared to $28,000 per tap for the fiscal year 2022.
Other revenue – Other revenue increased in 2023 as compared to 2022, primarily due to increased revenues on the grading, erosion, and sediment control (GESC) and fence contracts at Sky Ranch, offset by reductions in construction management revenue related to the construction of the school in Sky Ranch.
Water service costs – Water service costs decreased in 2023 as compared to 2022, primarily due to fewer additional incurred costs related to lower oil and gas water deliveries this fiscal year.
Wastewater service costs – Wastewater service costs increased in 2023 as compared to 2022, primarily due to additional costs incurred with the servicing of the Ridgeview facility, which required work to be completed in anticipation of new tenants in fiscal 2024.
Other costs of revenue – Other costs of revenue increased in 2023 as compared to 2022, primarily due to costs associated with the GESC and fence contracts in Sky Ranch.
Water delivered – Water deliveries decreased in 2023 as compared to 2022, primarily due to decreased oil and gas operations, offset by new Sky Ranch customers.
Land Development Results of Operations
August 31, 2023
August 31, 2022
Project management revenue
Land development construction and project management costs
Segment operating income
Lot sales – Lot sales decreased in 2023 as compared to 2022, primarily due to construction delays in beginning Phase 2B coupled by the slower completion of Phase 2A, which still has approximately 7% of final landscaping and public improvements to be completed to finalize the phase. We delayed the start of construction on Phase 2B for 90 days due to home builders’ caution in the housing market as a result of rising interest rates.
Project management revenues – Project management revenues decreased in 2023 as compared to 2022, which was primarily due to the construction delays encountered in beginning Phase 2B. We earn a 5% project management fee on construction costs for managing the completion of public improvements at Sky Ranch.
Land development construction and project management costs – Land development construction costs decreased in 2023 as compared to 2022, primarily due construction delays encountered in Phases 2A and 2B. As Phase 2A winds down, more of our costs are anticipated to be public improvements costs, whereas the beginning of Phase 2B is anticipated result in us incurring more lot costs. This is due to the timing of the development of the costs incurred in the beginning of the development phase compared to those costs incurred towards the end.
Lots delivered – The number of lots delivered (which refers to when title is passed to the homebuilder) decreased in 2023 compared to 2022 due to all lots in Phase 2A of Sky Ranch having been delivered by the end of fiscal 2022. No finished lots were delivered to homebuilders during fiscal 2023. Despite the lots being transferred to the homebuilders, we still have various construction activities to complete Phase 2A to turn over the completed infrastructure to the applicable governmental agency that will maintain the infrastructure, and we did receive certain milestone payments for Phase 2B lots. Because we record lot sales as construction progresses, the timing of revenue and lot deliveries are not necessarily correlated.
General and Administrative Expenses
The table below details significant items and changes included in our General and Administrative Expenses (G&A Expenses) as well as the impact that share-based compensation has on our G&A Expenses for the fiscal years ended August 31, 2023 and 2022.
Summary of G&A Expenses
August 31, 2023
August 31, 2022
Significant G&A Expense items:
Salary and salary-related expenses
Public entity-related expenses, including director fees
All other combined
G&A Expenses as reported
Salary and Salary-Related Expenses – Salary and salary-related expenses net decreased in fiscal 2023 compared to fiscal 2022 due to the receipt of three quarters worth of Employee Retention Credits from the Internal Revenue Service. During fiscal 2023, we increased our staff by two employees. Share-based compensation expense decreased due to options and restricted stock grant forfeitures during fiscal 2023.
Professional Fees – Professional fees consist mainly of IT and telecom, legal, consulting and accounting fees. IT, telecom and legal fees increased over the prior year as information technology and cyber security have continued to take on an increased focused, and we amended builder contracts to better time lot delivers to a slowing residential housing market.
Public Entity-Related Expenses, including director fees – Costs associated with being a corporation and costs associated with being a publicly traded entity consist primarily of XBRL and EDGAR conversion fees, stock exchange fees, and press releases. These costs fluctuate from year to year but remained relatively consistent from 2022 to 2023. Compensation including stock grants paid to our board increased in fiscal 2023 compared to fiscal 2022.
Corporate insurance – Corporate insurance costs increased as our operations continue to expand, which is due to adding additional construction and rental home policies, and overall insurance rate increases.
All other – All other expenses include typical operating expenses related to the maintenance of our office and equipment, business development, travel, property taxes, and funding provided to the Rangeview District and the Sky Ranch Districts. Other expenses increased during fiscal 2023 compared to fiscal 2022. The changes were primarily the result of increased equipment maintenance and the timing of various expenses, which will fluctuate year over year.
Liquidity, Capital Resources and Financial Position
We believe we are well-positioned to navigate the ever-evolving market conditions given our strong financial position. At August 31, 2023, our working capital, defined as current assets less current liabilities, was $23.2 million, which includes $26.0 million in cash and cash equivalents. We believe that as of August 31, 2023, and as of the date of the filing of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, we have sufficient working capital to fund our operations for the next 12 months. We have completed Phase 1 and have completed nearly 93% of the work required to deliver Phase 2A at Sky Ranch. Phase 2B is nearly 31% complete and we anticipate starting work on Phase 2C during fiscal 2024. We have sold 219 lots in Phase 2A (retaining 10 lots for ourselves) at Sky Ranch and have just over 7% of the construction related activities remaining for Phase 2A to be finished. We expect to spend $1.5 million in the next twelve months completing the construction of Phase 2A (of which we estimate $1.4 million will be reimbursable by the Sky Ranch CAB). We expect to be substantially complete with Phase 2B during our fiscal 2024 and expect to spend $13.0 million in the next twelve months on remaining Phase 2B construction activities (of which we estimate $10.3 million will be reimbursable by the Sky Ranch CAB). We anticipate receiving nearly $13.0 million in milestone payments and approximately $3 million of water and wastewater taps fees from
the homebuilders over the same period. We believe we can fund such capital expenditures from cash and cash equivalents on hand, phased payments from our lot sales agreements, and payments from the Sky Ranch CAB for reimbursement of public improvements.
Summary Cash Flows
August 31, 2023
August 31, 2022
Cash (used) provided by:
Net Change in cash
Changes in Operating Activities – Operating activities include amounts we receive from the sale of wholesale water and wastewater services, costs incurred in the delivery of those services, the sale of lots, the costs incurred in completing and delivering finished lots, rental income from single-family homes and the cost incurred in constructing our single-family rental homes, and G&A Expenses.
Cash used by operations in fiscal 2023 is primarily comprised of increases to the note receivable from the Sky Ranch CAB for the continued construction costs related to public improvements, partially offset by the timing of cash receipts of trade receivables, payments of payables and accrued liabilities, and federal and state income taxes payable. The Sky Ranch CAB made payments to us totaling $0.9 million in fiscal 2023 from excess funds from higher fees and property taxes collected by the Sky Ranch CAB. In fiscal 2022, cash provided by operations was primarily related to the reimbursement of capitalized reimbursable costs and interest of $24.1 million and cash collections from lot sales, partially offset by the timing differences on payments of payables and accrued liabilities, deferred revenue, and federal and state income taxes payable.
Changes in Investing Activities – Investing activities in fiscal 2023 consisted primarily of the investment in our land and water system of $3.9 million, additions to our single-family rentals of $3.5 million, and investments in future development phases of Sky Ranch for $1.7 million. Investing activities in fiscal 2022 consisted primarily of the investment in our land and water system of $5.5 million. We capitalize costs associated with obtaining, defending, enhancing, and developing our water rights. We capitalize costs incurred to construct infrastructure required to deliver water and wastewater services to our customers, and we capitalize costs to develop our land assets that are not sold to home builders.
Changes in Financing Activities – Financing activities in 2023 consisted of proceeds from debt of $3.0 million to finance the next 11 single-family rental homes. Financing activities in 2022 consisted of proceeds from debt of $4.0 million to finance our single-family rental homes and the acquisition of 370 acre feet of Lost Creek Water.
Critical Accounting Estimates
Our consolidated financial statements have been prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States. Our discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations are based on these consolidated financial statements. The preparation of our consolidated financial statements requires the application of these accounting principles in addition to certain estimates and judgments based on current available information, engineering estimates, historical results, and other assumptions believed to be reasonable. These estimates, assumptions and judgments are affected by our application of accounting policies, which are discussed in Note 2 in the accompanying consolidated financial statements. Estimates are used for, but not limited to, determining the recoverability of notes receivable, measure of progress related to our land development activities, and accrued liabilities. Actual results could differ from these estimates.
Accounting estimates are considered critical if both of the following conditions are met: (1) the nature of the estimates or assumptions is material because of the levels of subjectivity and judgment needed to account for matters that are highly uncertain and susceptible to change and (2) the effect of the estimates and assumptions is material to the financial statements. The following provides a summary of the two critical estimates we identified.
Collectability of the Notes Receivable from the Sky Ranch CAB – The notes receivable from the Sky Ranch CAB are comprised of amounts we incurred and provided to the Sky Ranch CAB for costs related to the construction of public improvements which are
reimbursable to us, along with related project management fees and accrued interest associated with those costs. Collectability of the notes is based on the Sky Ranch CAB generating sufficient cash flows to repay us prior to certain contractual dates, which is deemed probable based on a mill levy increase resulting from the remainder of Sky Ranch being in a different taxing district than Phase 1, higher than projected assessed values of completed homes, and additional houses from the start of the next development phase at Sky Ranch. The notes are reviewed for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate the carrying amount of the note may not be recoverable. Management applies judgment to assess whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate the carrying amount of the notes may not be recoverable giving rise to the requirement to conduct an impairment test. Circumstances which could trigger an impairment test include, but are not limited to: significant decreases in the market price of houses which generate tax payments to the Sky Ranch CAB; significant adverse changes in the business climate or legal factors including significant decreases in housing sales or assessments; significant increase in costs and accumulation of costs significantly in excess of the amount originally expected for the construction of the associated public improvements; and current period cash flow or operating losses combined with a history of losses or a forecast of losses. Recoverability of these notes is measured by comparing the carrying value to the future cash flows expected to be generated by the Sky Ranch CAB which can be used to repay us. When the carrying value of an asset exceeds the related undiscounted cash flows, an impairment loss is recorded by writing down the carrying value of the related asset to its estimated fair value, which is determined using discounted future cash flows or other measures of fair value.
Revenue recognition on lot sales under the percentage-of-completion method – We recognize lot revenue over time as construction progresses for most of our lot development contracts. This involves an estimation of the total project costs which are incurred over several months or even years. This requires management to estimate labor and material costs which could change materially over the life of that construction project and have a material impact on the timing of revenue recognition. Under the percentage of completion method, revenues and related costs from lots sold pursuant to lot development contracts requiring milestone payments as construction occurs are recognized over the course of the construction period based on the completion progress of that project phase (i.e. Phase 2A). In relation to each phase or subphase, revenue is determined by calculating the ratio of incurred construction costs, including construction costs related to public improvements subject to reimbursement, to total estimated costs and applying that ratio to the contracted sales amounts. Current period amounts are calculated based on the difference between the life-to-date project totals and the previously recognized amounts. Cost of sales is the cost incurred related to construction of lots. Any changes in significant judgments and/or estimates used in determining construction and development revenue could significantly change the timing or amount of construction and development revenue recognized. Changes in estimated costs or losses, if any, are recognized in the period in which they are determined.
Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements
Recently Adopted and Issued Accounting Pronouncements
See Note 2 to the accompanying consolidated financial statements for recently adopted and issued accounting pronouncements.
Item 7A – Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
Item 8 – Financial Statements and Supplementary Data
Index to Financial Statements and Supplementary Data
Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm (
Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm (Plante & Moran, PLLC, Broomfield, CO, PCAOB ID 166)
Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm
To the Shareholders, Board of Directors,
and Audit Committee of
Pure Cycle Corporation
Opinion on the Consolidated Financial Statements
We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheet of Pure Cycle Corporation (the Company) as of August 31, 2023, the related consolidated statements of income, shareholders’ equity, and cash flows for the year ended August 31, 2023, and the related notes (collectively referred to as the financial statements). In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company as of August 31, 2023, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for the year ended August 31, 2023, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.
Basis for Opinion
These financial statements are the responsibility of the Company’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s financial statements based on our audit.
We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB) and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.
We conducted our audit in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud. The Company is not required to have, nor were we engaged to perform, an audit of its internal control over financial reporting. As part of our audit, we are required to obtain an understanding of internal control over financial reporting but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the Company’s internal control over financial reporting. Accordingly, we express no such opinion.
Our audit included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures include examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. Our audit also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements. We believe that our audit provides a reasonable basis for our opinion.
Critical Audit Matters
The critical audit matters communicated below are matters arising from the current-period audit of the financial statements that were communicated or required to be communicated to the audit committee and that: (1) relate to accounts or disclosures that are material to the financial statements and (2) involved our especially challenging, subjective, or complex judgments. The communication of critical audit matters does not alter in any way our opinion on the financial statements, taken as a whole, and we are not, by communicating the critical audit matters below, providing separate opinions on the critical audit matters or on the accounts or disclosures to which they relate.
Revenue Recognition of Lot Sales
As described in Note 2 to the consolidated financial statements, the Company accounts for lot sales revenue over time as construction progresses, with progress measured based upon costs incurred to date compared to total expected costs for each particular construction phase. Any revenue in excess of amounts entitled to be billed is reflected on the balance sheet as a contract asset, and amounts received in excess of revenue recognized are recorded as deferred revenue. For the year ended August 31, 2023, the Company recognized $6.8 million of lot sale revenue, over time, using the percentage of completion method.
Auditing lot sales revenue recognized under the percentage of complete method required a high degree of auditor judgment due to the use of significant assumptions developed by the management team, most notably the estimated budgeted cost for any particular phase to be developed and the estimated remaining cost to complete the phase being developed.
Our audit procedures related to the revenue recognition of lot sales included the following procedures:
|●||Obtained an understanding and evaluated the design effectiveness of the Company’s processes over the development of estimated budgeted and remaining cost to complete the phase being developed.|
|●||Evaluated the reasonableness of management’s estimated budgeted and remaining cost to complete the phase being developed by performing the following:|
|o||Inspected contracts with customers|
|o||Tested a sample of actual costs incurred by phase|
|o||Physically observed the development sites|
|o||Interviewed the management team to gain an understanding of the budgeting process and project status|
|o||Performed a lookback analysis by comparing actual costs incurred to budgeted costs on historical, completed phases for similar projects|
Collectability of Related-party Note Receivable – Reimbursable Public Improvements
As described in Note 2 and Note 5 to the consolidated financial statements, the Sky Ranch Community Authority Board (the Sky Ranch CAB) is responsible for building certain public improvements at Sky Ranch, for which the Company provided the funding to the Sky Ranch CAB and which is reimbursable to the Company. The Company has determined the reimbursement of public improvement costs, for which the Company has an enforceable right to payment, are probable of collection. The note receivable from
the Sky Ranch CAB reports the balances owed by the Sky Ranch CAB to the Company for public improvements paid for by the Company, project management fees, and interest accrued on the unpaid balances related to the ongoing development of the Sky Ranch master planned community. As of August 31, 2023, the Company’s related-party note receivable was approximately $25 million.
Management’s estimate of collectability and whether the Sky Ranch CAB will have sufficient sources of liquidity to support the payment of the note receivable balance involves a long-term projection of the development of the Sky Ranch master planned community, and the future revenues that will be available for repayment of the note. Auditing this estimate requires complex auditor judgment because of the subjective and long-term nature of the estimation, and the specialized knowledge needed to address the
Our audit procedures related to the collectability of the related party note receivable included the following procedures:
|●||Obtained an understanding and evaluated the design effectiveness of the Company’s processes over the valuation analysis of the notes receivable.|
|●||Obtained and reviewed a legal analysis of the enforceability of the Company’s right to payment from the Sky Ranch CAB for the reimbursable costs.|
|●||Obtained and reviewed the valuation analysis of notes receivable report of management’s outside vendor and challenged management’s review of the appropriateness of the valuation; including but not limited to, testing all critical inputs, reasonableness of assumptions applied, and valuation models utilized by the outside vendor.|
|●||Utilized internal valuation specialists to assist with testing the reasonableness of the valuation analysis of notes receivable.|
/s/ FORVIS, LLP
We have served as the Company’s auditor since 2022.
November 15, 2023
Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm
To the Shareholders and Board of Directors of Pure Cycle Corporation
Opinion on the Financial Statements
We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheet of Pure Cycle Corporation (the “Company”) as of August 31, 2022, the related consolidated statements of income, shareholders' equity, and cash flows for the year ended August 31, 2022, and the related notes (collectively referred to as the “financial statements”). In our opinion, the financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company as of August 31, 2022, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for the year ended August 31, 2022, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.
Basis for Opinion
The Company's management is responsible for these financial statements. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s financial statements based on our audit. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (“PCAOB”) and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.
We conducted our audit in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud. The Company is not required to have, nor were we engaged to perform, an audit of its internal control over financial reporting. As part of our audit, we are required to obtain an understanding of internal control over financial reporting but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the Company's internal control over financial reporting. Accordingly, we express no such opinion.
Our audit included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. Our audit also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements. We believe that our audit provides a reasonable basis for our opinion.
/s/ Plante & Moran, PLLC
We served as the Company’s auditor from 2017 to 2022.
November 14, 2022