How do challenges facing rural water utilities affect you? Read below to find out how current laws and regulations may impact your water rates. These are problems impacting the entire state.
GCDs: Groundwater conservation districts
Wickson Creek Special Utility District
Wickson Creek is a system that provides water service to a population of approximately 21,000 customers in rural parts of Brazos, Robertson and Grimes Counties. The population of Brazos County is expected to double in the next 50 years, and as its customer base has increased, Wickson Creek has needed to drill new wells. Due to Brazos Valley GCD’s permitting rules, Wickson Creek is unable to fully utilize its existing well because it was unable to purchase additional land adjacent to the well site. It had to purchase 191.27 acres of land at a separate location at a total cost of $1,530,839.28 to obtain the water its customers require. Wickson Creek will now have to drill wells at the new location. These substantial costs are passed on to rate payers.
Coryell City Water Supply District
Coryell City Water Supply District serves a population of approximately 5,200 in Coryell County in Central Texas. Coryell was unable to fully utilize one of its existing wells due to a change in GCD rules that require the utility to own or lease land adjacent to the well to be able to pump the amount required to serve the community. The neighboring landowners would not sell the land, so Coryell had to enter into a 20-year lease agreement at the asking price. These costs are being passed on to the rate payers.
CCNs: certificates of convenience & necessity
Johnson County Special Utility District
Johnson County SUD serves a population of approximately 50,000 in rural and suburban North Central Texas and had 1,000 acres taken from its service area in 2015. In anticipation of growth, the district had entered a joint investment with another district in 2012 whereby they purchased a surface water treatment plant from the Brazos River Authority. Johnson County SUD has received no compensation for the lost area and the substantial investment, leaving rate payers with increased water costs.
Mustang Special Utility District
Mustang currently serves a population of approximately 33,000 in a very high-growth area in Denton County in North Texas. Mustang was stripped of 1,000 acres through four separate actions by developers between 2015 and 2016. A small nearby city worked with developers to take one area, but later determined they could not serve it. This required additional time and money to undo the process so that Mustang could legally serve those residents, passing the wasted funds onto rate payers.
Marilee Special Utility District
Marilee serves a population of approximately 7,800 in rural parts of Collin and Grayson Counties in North Texas. It has had about 900 acres taken from its service area in three separate actions by developers in collaboration with a nearby city. The city utilized current law to circumvent an agreement Marilee upon annexation of territory by the city. Marilee has yet to receive any compensation for these areas, leaving residents to foot the bill with higher water rates.