The Texas Senate and House approved legislation during the 84th legislative session—which ended June 1—that will modify the makeup of the Gulf Coast Water Authority’s board of directors and give the organization the ability to get more water through retail service agreements. The GCWA represents water users in Brazoria, Fort Bend and Galveston counties.

House Bill 4168, authored by state Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, will provide more equal representation between the three counties on the GCWA board, Brazoria County Judge Matt Sebesta said.

The bill will reorganize the board of directors from seven Galveston County representatives and one each from Brazoria and Fort Bend counties to five Galveston County representatives, three Brazoria County representatives and two from Fort Bend County.

“No one county can control that water authority,” Sebesta said. “If Galveston County wants to do something that’s detrimental to Fort Bend and Brazoria [counties], there are the votes there to stalemate that.”

Four years ago the GCWA had no representation from Brazoria or Fort Bend counties, Sebesta said. Recent rapid population growth in both counties, however, has prompted the need for them to be represented.

“Brazoria and Fort Bend counties are both growing at a higher rate than Galveston County,” he said. “Within the next couple of years more water will be going to those two counties than retained by Galveston County.”

HB 4168 also authorizes the GCWA to engage in retail service agreements within the Electric Reliability Council of Texas for the purchase of electricity in connection with the acquisition, treatment, storage or transportation of water.