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Local water bills are increasing

NORTHEAST HARRIS COUNTY – San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) is increasing groundwater and surface water rates, according to its press release.

It is the first time in 16 years that it is increased and over a decade since the Texas Legislature enacted the 3-2-1 Act that relates to subsidence and using thee tons to one of surface water to subsurface water.

The wholesale water sales entity with a facility in Highlands attributes some of the increase to groundwater conservation rules from the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District ( in Montgomery County) (LSGCD) not being clearly defined. Uncollected funds and to finance a new surface water treatment plant are other factors for increase noted in the press release.

The rate adjustment is after the Texas Water Development Board voted down a LSGCD’s proposed groundwater management plan for Montgomery County back in May, requiring the LSGCD to submit a new management plan and standards.

Last month water rates increased slightly in Crosby Municipal Utility District and just about all other water sellers with notation that the increase must be funded for Crosby to continue purchasing the water.

The subsurface rate jumped from $2.64 per 1,000 gallons to $2.73 per 1,000 gallons. Surface water increased from $2.83 per 1,000 gallons to $3.15 per 1,000 gallons.

The rate adjustment applies to all utilities participating in the SJRA’s Groundwater Reduction Plan (GRP.)

“The GRP water plant was built to satisfy requirements that we develop a plan to use less groundwater, ” SJRA General Manager Jace Houston said in the release. “Utilities throughout the Greater Houston region have been working to achieve stable, reliable groundwater levels for almost 50 years. We expect Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District to work with all utilities in Montgomery County on a way to manage groundwater responsibly instead of changing their requirements and creating risks and uncertainty. Changing the rules is costly for utilities, cities and MUDs. Ultimately everyone’s water bills go up, not down.”