Water has been one thing during the COVID-19 pandemic that our communities have not needed to worry about. Thanks to our dedicated team of employees, water keeps flowing to taps 24/7 and remains our first line of defense for public health. The CDC’s top advice to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Without safe tap water, this simple but critical step would not be possible. And without essential treatment of the water that goes down our drains, we would not be able to prevent the spread of waterborne diseases.
North Texas Municipal Water District provides both these critical services for nearly 80 North Texas communities. We continually balance maintaining and investing in these large utility systems — spanning 2,200 square miles — with keeping these service costs affordable.
Since NTMWD was founded over 60 years ago, many of our plants, pumps and pipes are showing signs of age. Additionally, we serve some of the fastest-growing cities in the nation. We must address both these needs to avoid impacts to the services our communities rely on every day. To provide drinking water to a population projected to double in the decades ahead, we are building a new reservoir to store water, installing pumps and pipes to move it and a treatment plant to clean it. NTMWD was formed so that cities in North Texas could share infrastructure costs. This visionary approach to regional cooperation and sharing of these vital systems helps spread those investments across all the communities we serve.
NTMWD’s wholesale water rates are lower or comparable to other Texas water suppliers and much lower than other similar utility services. Nationally, our rates are lower than average for combined water and sewer services. Compared to other utilities, water service is a good value. Electricity, mobile phones and cable/internet all cost significantly more than water services, and of them all, safe drinking water is the one thing we truly can’t live without.
NTMWD charges its 13 Member Cities $2.99 per 1,000 gallons of treated water. Customer Cities pay $3.04 per 1,000 gallons. Only about 15% of the costs our cities pay is for the actual water used (including treatment chemicals and power to move the water). About 85% of the rate funds the fixed costs to operate, maintain and expand the shared water system. Residents in our cities pay on average about one penny per gallon of treated water for combined NTMWD and city costs.
NTMWD has been working hard to adjust capital improvement plans and cut operations costs in recognition of the revenue constraints on our cities due to COVID-19 impacts. For FY21, NTMWD will not be proposing an increase to the wholesale water rate for our cities.