The Board of Directors for Montgomery County Municipal Utility District (the “District”) wishes to clarify inaccurate information that was stated in an e-mail sent out by the Legends Ranch Property Owners Association (“POA”) on October 9, 2023.
The District did not increase its water rates for residential users and did not increase the POA’s water bill by 422%. The District did not, and has no plans to, increase its residential water rate. At its August meeting, the District increased its “Public Space User” water rate, which applies equally to the POA and the Legends Run Homeowners Association–thirteen irrigation meters in total. These irrigation meters irrigate public space/common areas. The District increased this rate from $0.45 per 1,000 gallons of water used to $1.90, which equals the District’s cost to produce such water and the first “Public Space User” rate increase since creation of the District in 2001. While this component of the water bill was raised by approximately 422%, the total water rate includes components from the San Jacinto River Authority (“SJRA”) and Lonestar Groundwater Conservation District (“LSGCD”) which are out of the District’s control. The POA’s e-mail misstated the impact this increase will have on its total water rate – which will rise from approximately $3.825 per 1,000 gallons of water used to $5.275. This “Public Space User” rate increase reflects an approximate 38% increase to the POA’s water bill – not a 422% change.
The increase will not increase the POA’s irrigation water bill by “hundreds of thousands of dollars” as stated by the POA. Based on the previous two-year history of water use by the POA, should the POA continue to use similar amounts of water, its water bill would increase by approximately $1,504.00 per month. Should the POA choose to pass this cost onto its residents (which is a discretionary choice by the POA, not the District), it could do so by charging each lot within the POA an additional $11.95 per year, or less than $1 per month. Should the POA reduce their average water usage by 28%, there would be no financial impact to its annual bill. For more detail, please visit the linked presentation, specifically, slides 12, 13 and 14: mcmud089_townhallpresentation_20231010.pdf – Google Drive.
This was not done to “punish” the POA. The “Public Space User” water rate increase was enacted by all the MUDs that share our water facilities (the District, Spring Creek Utility District, and Montgomery County Municipal Utility District No. 88) and applies to all homeowner associations in those districts. The District’s goal in increasing the “Public Space User” water rate was to put a financial incentive in place to encourage homeowner associations to practice water conservation. Conservation is our biggest tool to lower water production costs and protect the groundwater resources we all share. We look forward to working with the POA to ensure our wells and water supply are protected for years to come. The District appreciates the recent efforts by the POA to conserve water.
The District’s water supply has been impacted by the summer droughts, which have occurred over the past two years. The District has three water wells, which supply water to the District, Spring Creek Utility District, and Montgomery County Municipal Utility District No. 88. The District performs active maintenance and testing of the wells to ensure we are able to continue providing water to our customers, and to prolong the life of our water supply. Unfortunately, during the previous two years, Montgomery County and Harris County have experienced periods of severe drought which have impacted the aquifers static water levels, which we pump our water from. The District has been and will be continuously be looking into other sources of water such as surface water from the SJRA, reclaimed water from wastewater treatment plants for irrigation, and even a new well drilled into a deeper aquifer. But these potential sources are expensive and might represent a reduction in water quality. Any other water sources would take several years to enact. Conservation is our biggest tool to lower water production costs and protect the groundwater resources we all share.
For more information on the water supply please visit the District’s website for a Water Supply Frequently Asked Questions: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ipf-YwWFun5mkgj_YswzC3W1W6bdsVQr/view.
The District Board of Directors