By Tom Kula
From serving 32,000 in 1956 to over 1.6 million today – NTMWD is working hard to keep up with our growing cities’ needs
As the population of the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) service area grows over the years, the District and its Board of Directors continue to make major capital improvements in partnership with Member and Customer cities to keep up with those needs. According to a recent report by Updater.com, 80,000 people are moving to the DFW area annually. This is yet more evidence of the pressure the District faces to take action today to meet the needs of tomorrow.
In the last four years alone, the NTMWD Capital Improvement Program (CIP) has grown significantly to meet the needs of the almost 1.7 million people served today, a number that is expected to double over the next 50 years.
In 2013, the CIP budget was approximately $150 million. As part of the 2018 budget, the NTMWD Board has authorized $700 million for capital projects. Many involve making critical upgrades to aging treatment facilities, pumps and pipelines dating back to the 1950s when the District began operations and served only 32,000 customers across the entire region. These capital projects focus on improvements for public health and safety, environmental protection and reliability of service. Other projects are critical for future water and wastewater needs.
To make sure the District is addressing the specific needs of our Member and Customer cities, regular partnering meetings are held with city managers and key department heads of both the District and our cities. Collaboration between the District and city staffs involves all aspects of services: water, wastewater and solid waste systems.
Effective planning and management of capital improvement projects not only requires additional staff time and resources, but also commitment and involvement by the NTMWD Board of Directors appointed by the 13 Member Cities. Our board members bring diverse business and city government expertise to the District, and many have served multiple terms which provides a greater understanding of the complexities of the services we provide.
As we look to the future, NTMWD is preparing to begin work on the largest capital project in its history — the over $1 billion Bois d’Arc Lake project. NTMWD is expecting the final permit to be issued in early 2018, and once it is granted, construction will begin with a targeted completion in 2022. Working together, the NTMWD Board, District staff, and city leaders are focusing on the projects necessary to deliver water, wastewater and solid waste services now and well into the future.