The North Texas Municipal Water District serves 1.7 million people across 2,200 square miles. Whether you live in one of our larger, bustling suburbs or enjoy the quiet life in a smaller town, we all have one thing in common – we need safe, reliable water delivered to our homes and business every day. We also need dependable services to take care of our wastewater and solid waste. It’s hard to imagine getting up in the morning to brush our teeth, use the bathroom and make coffee or tea without these essential services. We couldn’t bathe, feed and care for our families, do laundry or wash the dishes. None of these daily tasks would be possible without the safe and reliable water, wastewater and solid waste infrastructure we provide.
YEAR OF SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS
We had numerous accomplishments over this year on the road to ensuring the future of essential services for generations to come. We received our permit and began construction on Bois d’Arc Lake, a major new water supply that will begin delivering water in 2022. Planning and permitting is underway for a new regional water resource recovery facility to be located northeast of McKinney. And, through a unique public-private partnership with Morrow Renewables, we began harvesting the methane produced by the landfill and converting it to clean-burning renewable natural gas for energy.
Other important projects on the horizon include Leonard Water Treatment Plant, Bois d’Arc pipelines, improvements to the South Mesquite Wastewater Treatment Plant, and improvements to the McKinney and Wilson Creek lift stations. Solid Waste will see improvement coming to the Parkway Transfer Station as well as the 121 Regional Disposal Facility access road.
SOLID FINANCIAL FOOTING
The NTMWD Board approved the FY 19 budget and a 14-cent increase to the wholesale water rate to fund critical projects to maintain reliability of the regional water system and increase available supplies. The Board also approved over $5.9 million in rebates back to the cities/entities it serves for avoided costs of chemicals and power during the 2017-2018 water year. Effective Oct. 1, the wholesale rate will be $2.92 per thousand gallons of treated water delivered to the 13 Member Cities. Customer entities pay five cents more per thousand gallons.
The 14-cent increase to the wholesale water rate is half of the amount originally projected. We were able to scale back the rate increase by adjusting the way NTMWD develops its budget to reflect actual annual system-wide water demands (operations funding) and more certainty for the capital program (capital funding). In FY19, variable costs were budgeted based on 90% of the total contract amounts to more closely align with projected total demands across all the cities served by the District.
Each city’s contractual amount also determines its proportional share of the regional water system costs. Variable costs funding only makes up about 15% of the NTMWD wholesale water rate. The remaining 85% of the rate covers fixed costs. Cities using less water than their contractual amount will still receive a rebate for those “variable” operations costs.
COMMITMENT AND COLLABORATION
Effective planning and management of daily operations, maintenance and 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. Many of our board members have served multiple terms which has allowed them time to become familiar with the intricacies and complexity of a regional, multi-service public utility such as ours including the challenges we face with water rights, permitting, regulatory compliance, long-term financial planning, and more. Our Board bring diverse business and city government expertise to the District, which gives them the ability to build strong working relationships with our Member Cities and Customers organizations.
Our regular partnering meetings with city managers and key department heads of both the District and our cities have also made a positive impact addressing the specific needs of our Member Cities and Customers. We will continue this collaboration between the District and city staffs involving all aspects of services: water, wastewater and solid waste systems.
WATER BILLS FUND #MORETHANWATER
We have expanded on our #MoreThanWater awareness campaign with an informative, whiteboard-style video on the value of water. This video was developed with content to remain relevant year-over-year. It highlights the numerous factors that drive water rates for NTMWD and water utilities in general. It explains all that water bills help fund for clean, reliable water 24/7/365.
Every year, numerous North Texas communities receive national recognition for quality of life, economic development opportunities, and population growth. NTMWD is proud to be a major contributor to the success of the region, and we are dedicated to providing safe, reliable water, wastewater and solid waste services at a reasonable cost.