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At the Monday, Sept. 21 Virtual Regular Meeting, the City Council passed a resolution amending the utility schedule of fees. With this amendment, there is an increase in the Groundwater Reduction Plan (GRP) pumpage fee and to explain the plan, staff has compiled a list of frequently asked questions:
In 1989, the Texas State Legislature created the Fort Bend Subsidence District (FBSD) to regulate the withdrawal of groundwater to minimize land subsidence (sinking) and associated risks such as flooding. The subsidence district required all cities in the County (as applicable) to develop and implement a Groundwater Reduction Plan with goals of reducing groundwater pumpage, permitting procedures/guidelines and implementing permit fees for groundwater withdrawal.
Missouri City is unique in that the majority of water utility customers within City limits and surrounding areas are served by various Municipal Utility Districts (MUDs), with a small percentage of customers being served by the City directly. After careful consideration of the cost that many of these smaller water districts would have to bear independently, the City led the task of uniting these entities in a mutually agreed upon plan for meeting the groundwater reduction requirements set by FBSD.
As a result, Missouri City administers the joint Groundwater Reduction Plan that includes the City and the following entities/MUDs within City limits and in the ETJ:
The City then created the GRP Oversight Committee with representatives from all entities to manage the Groundwater Reduction Plan and to collectively evaluate/recommend changes to City Council, including pumpage fees.
Yes, the City was required by FBSD to be at 30 percent groundwater reduction by 2013. To accomplish this mandate, the City led the effort with the GRP Oversight Committee to construct the Regional Surface Water Treatment Plant in 2012, which is the City’s largest capital improvement project. Also, with the current RSWTP expansion and other water reuse projects, the City is projecting to satisfy the next groundwater reduction target of 60 percent by 2025. These capital improvement projects and the operation and maintenance of the surface water treatment plant facilities are funded by pumpage fees.
The water users in the joint GRP (listed above) contribute proportionally to the cost associated with meeting the FBSD mandate, which includes construction and operation of a RSWTP and the purchase of raw surface water from Gulf Coast Water Authority. The GRP passes the surface water pumpage fee and groundwater pumpage fee to the City and mentioned MUDs. These GRP fees are based on the actual metered water usage. The City and MUDs may in-turn adjust their water rates to account for their operational expenses.
The pervious wholesale pumpage fee charged by the GRP was $1.72 per 1,000 gallons, and is now increased to $1.79. The previous surface water pumpage fee was $2.19 and is now increased to $2.38 per 1,000 gallons. The previous ground water user’s fee was $0.47 and is now increased to $0.59 per 1,000 gallons.
The need for these fee increases was substantiated after a detailed financial analysis that took into account the projected revenues, expenses, debt service obligations and operational reserves needed to maintain and expand the water treatment infrastructure to meet the mentioned requirements.
To get more details on the GRP fees, citizens may contact Utilities Manager Todd Hoover at firstname.lastname@example.org or 281.403.8543.
Both the current fee and increased fee are lower than other GRP fees in Fort Bend County, and significantly lower than the FBSD disincentive fee of $6.50 per thousand gallons which is charged to entities not meeting the groundwater reduction mandates. As a comparison, the new pumpage fee of $2.38 is less than the City of Rosenberg at $2.60, City of Richmond at $2.42, and North Fort Bend Water Authority at $4.30. The GRP fee is a result of the FBSD mandate and not an additional tax levied by the City or the MUDs.
Residents may see a list of water operators that manage the various MUDs in Missouri City, Click Here.
To learn more about the resolution and to see staff’s presentation to Council regarding GRP, click the below links:
For more information about Missouri City, please watch the City website: www.missouricitytx.gov, like us on Facebook—fb/MissouriCityTX, follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat—@MissouriCityTX and Nextdoor, watch Missouri City Television (Ch. 16 on Comcast and Ch. 99 on AT&T U-verse) or download the MCTX Mobile app (available for free in Google Play and the Apple app store).