Water rates on the rise in Cy-Fair

Image description
Image description
Water bills across Cy-Fair have incrementally increased in recent years with some residents paying as much as 50%-100% more since 2015.

Rate increases can be tied to several projects underway within the boundaries of the North Harris County and West Harris County regional water authorities to decrease the region’s groundwater usage through more surface water resources, according to Al Rendl, president of the North Harris County Regional Water Authority.

Rates at the NHCRWA will rise again, effective April 1, from $3.85 to $4.25 per 1,000 gallons of groundwater and from $4.30 to $4.70 per 1,000 gallons of surface water. At the WHCRWA, rates rose Jan. 1 from $2.95 to $3.20 per 1,000 gallons of groundwater and from $3.35 to $3.60 per 1,000 gallons of surface water.

“We have an additional $1.69 billion of debt that we are taking on to convert 60% of all the water that’s used in the North Harris County Regional Water Authority to surface water,” Rendl said. “And in order to pay for that, we have to increase the fees, ... and we will probably go up in the range of 45-50 cents [per 1,000 gallons] for the next three or four years before it’ll start to level off.”

The water authorities teamed up with the North Fort Bend and Central regional water authorities and the city of Houston to build the $385 million Luce Bayou Interbasin Transfer Project, which will bring water through the Trinity River to Lake Houston down to the water purification site. This project is slated to wrap up by the end of 2020 or early 2021, Rendl said.


The current water purification site is able to produce up to 70 million gallons daily, but Rendl said a new $1.78 billion plant is under construction with the capacity to treat 400 million gallons daily by the time it is completed in mid-2024.

“We’re not going to be using all of that capacity to start with, but as we convert more and more [water] in the area, we’ll be using more of that,” he said.

Once the water meets standard, it will be transmitted 26 miles to the water storage and pump station at Beltway 8 and Hwy. 249. Shared with the city of Houston, this transmission line will cost around $445 million. From there, Rendl said more lines would be built for an additional $635 million for 50-60 utility districts in the area to receive surface water by 2025.

Starting in 2003, the Harris-Galveston Subsidence District mandated the NHCRWA and WHCRWA, among other entities, reach at least 30%, 60% and 80% surface water reliance in 2010, 2025 and 2035, respectively.

Rendl said as underground water sources known as aquifers begin to dry up, the ground’s surface has gradually settled downward, a process known as subsidence. This led to the subsidence district’s formation in 1975 and later the mandate that if not met by 2025, water authorities will pay a penalty of around $9 per 1,000 gallons of additional groundwater used, he said.

“We’re doing it to meet the subsidence district mandates, but we’re doing it also because if we do not do it, we will not have water in the future,” he said.
By Danica Lloyd
Danica joined Community Impact Newspaper as a Cy-Fair reporter in May 2016 after graduating with a journalism degree from Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. She became editor of the Cy-Fair edition in March 2020 and continues to cover education, local government, business, demographic trends, real estate development and nonprofits.


MOST RECENT

COMMERCIAL DATA: Office rents drop in Cy-Fair, retail rents hold steady to close out 2020

Vacancy rates are up across Cy-Fair, but the retail sector held steady to close out 2020.

Tara Gates owns The Rustic House Boutique with her mother, Teresa Dornak. (Danica Lloyd/Community Impact Newspaper)
Mother-daughter team operates The Rustic House Boutique in unexpected Cypress location

Popular merchandise ranges from Judy Blue jeans and custom T-shirts to dough bowl candles, bags made from military tents and porcelain diffusers.

Armando Rivera (right) launched his own business in 2020. (Courtesy Arc Electric   Lighting)
Local family launches Arc Electric + Lighting in Cypress

Armando and Tina Rivera own and operate the business, which offers residential and commercial services.

Despite a global pandemic, Houston home sales broke records in 2020 and saw 10% more sales overall compared to 2019. (Courtesy Houston Association of Realtors)
Report: Houston home sales surpassed 2019 volumes despite pandemic

2020 single-family home sales surpassed 2019’s volume by more than 10%.

La Cocina de Roberto launched its second eatery in The Woodlands area in January. (Courtesy La Cocina de Roberto)
La Cocina de Roberto restaurant opens in The Woodlands and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Greater Houston area.

From Jan. 19-29, Coalition for the Homeless and staff from The Way Home will conduct the 2021 Homeless Count & Survey, in which they will work to identify sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessness across Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties. (Adobe Stock)
Coalition for the Homeless, The Way Home to conduct annual Greater Houston-area homeless count Jan. 19-29

The results of the 2021 homeless count and survey are expected to be released to the public this spring.

Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Glenn Hegar shared a new revenue estimate for the 2022-23 biennium Jan. 11. (Courtesy Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts)
Comptroller projects drop in state revenue, potential for economic uptick for next biennium

Despite the slight reduction in expected revenue for the state's 2022-23 budget, recovery could be on the horizon.

Harris County continues to report more confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Cy-Fair area. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Active COVID-19 cases at all-time high in Cy-Fair; 2,788 new cases confirmed from Jan. 6-12

About a month ago, the number of active cases in Cy-Fair reached highs previously seen over the summer and has only continued to climb since.

This will be the 43rd annual event known as the nation’s original MLK Day parade sanctioned by Martin Luther King Sr. in 1978. (Courtesy Black Heritage Society)
Houston’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade goes virtual for 2021 event

This will be the 43rd annual event known as the nation’s original MLK Day parade sanctioned by Martin Luther King Sr. in 1978.

New home construction continues in the Bridlecreek neighborhood, featuring builders such as Coventry Homes. (Danica Lloyd/Community Impact Newspaper)
Low inventory, interest rates influence Cy-Fair's real estate market throughout pandemic

While local home sales dipped in the spring, Cy-Fair’s market began to bounce back in June and ended up reaching about the same level of sales as the previous year.

A Taco Cabana location has closed at FM 1960 and Jones Road in Cy-Fair. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Taco Cabana closes location at Jones Road and FM 1960 in Cy-Fair

A Taco Cabana location at 11006 FM 1960, Houston, has recently closed, according to a sign posted to the front of the eatery.