The North Fort Bend Water Authority (NFBWA) was created in 2005 to prevent subsidence as part of the Fort Bend Subsidence District (FBSD) Regulatory Plan. The Texas legislature created the NFBWA, determined the 141 square mile boundary, and regulated how it would receive the funding necessary to accomplish its mission of preventing subsidence. The FBSD mandates groundwater reduction requirements that the NFBWA must achieve.
The work of the NFBWA has already reduced groundwater usage in the area by more than 30%, exceeding the first FBSD 2014 requirement. To meet the next FBSD milestone, they are currently constructing the necessary infrastructure to reduce groundwater usage by 60% by 2025.
The NFBWA serves as an umbrella for its Groundwater Reduction Plan (“GRP”) Participants In order to secure a plentiful and cost-effective source of water that is not groundwater, termed “alternative water”. The cost would be exponential if each retail water provider had to secure their own water rights to an alternative water source and build the infrastructure necessary to convey the water. The NFBWA takes the responsibility and accountability to meet the FBSD mandates.
Unlike retail water providers, the NFBWA does not collect tax dollars to help fund our infrastructure and operations costs. Our water usage fees are the only funds NFBWA receives in order to accomplish the important mission of preventing subsidence in our community. Fees are collected from retail providers, which are passed on to the consumers.
The vast majority of the NFBWA fee is used to pay for the large-scale infrastructure projects necessary to deliver a reliable source of surface water to our area in order to prevent over pumping our precious groundwater aquifers, which causes subsidence.
Effective January 01, 2021:
Groundwater – $4.25 per 1,000 gallons
Surface Water – $4.60 per 1,000 gallons
Subsidence is the gradual sinking or settling of the ground over time. This sinking occurs when water is withdrawn from the ground faster than it is replenished, causing the soil to physically compact. Soil compaction is not fully reversible, so prevention is key because subsidence can cause significant flooding and costly infrastructure damage.
The Greater Houston Area experienced tremendous growth over many decades. That growth increased groundwater consumption proportionately, such that some areas of Houston sank as much as 10 feet before groundwater pumpage was first regulated in 1975. The regional water authorities, including the North Fort Bend Water Authority (NFBWA), were created to protect our area from future subsidence and preserve our groundwater resources.