Groundwater and surface water wholesale rates will be reduced beginning this September for customers participating in the San Jacinto River Authority's Groundwater Reduction Plan, according to a June 27 decision by the SJRA board of directors.

What you need to know

According to a news release from the SJRA, for GRP customers:
  • The groundwater rate will be reduced from $2.99 to $2.67 per 1,000 gallons of groundwater pumped by GRP participants.
  • The surface water rate will be reduced from $3.41 to $3.26 per 1,000 gallons of treated surface water delivered from Lake Conroe to participants.
GRP members pay annual dues to the SJRA for the procurement and management of surface water assets, such as Lake Conroe and the San Jacinto basin.

There are a total of 80 GRP customers, according to the SJRA, of which seven receive surface water. The customers include retail water providers, such as cities, municipal utility districts and independently owned utilities, according to the news release.

The context

According to the news release, the lower rates follow a March board decision to refund $12 million to SJRA wholesale water customers. The decision was made after two customers through the GRP paid back money owed to the SJRA, and the GRP also had an increase in revenue following recent droughts. Community Impact previously reported the rebate followed back payment of water fees by Quadvest Water & Sewer as well as Woodland Oaks Utility from a multiyear lawsuit that ended in 2022.

GRP participants received a credit in March based on water use during the drought, and the SJRA will use remaining funds to pay down bonds from 2012 and 2013 that were used to construct the GRP surface water treatment plant on Lake Conroe and other facilities, according to the news release.

The SJRA does not charge retail rates, which are directly charged by individual retail water providers or municipalities to customers, according to the SJRA.

Quote of note

“These rate decreases are made possible by a reduction in chemical, operational and staffing costs,” SJRA General Manager Aubrey Spear said in the news release. “I appreciate our staff’s efforts to be cost effective and efficient in the GRP facility operations. The reductions will benefit all our wholesale customers throughout Montgomery County.”