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Rosenberg Officials: City Not in Danger of Running Out of Water

(ROSENBERG) - City of Rosenberg officials are clarifying the future of water in the city and where the water is sourced following reports of a water shortage.

Officials say the city is not facing a water shortage and is not running out of water. Residents may be asked to conserve water to lessen the demand on the water system, but that is not due to a shortage of water.


The Brazosport Water Authority attended a recent City Council Workshop Meeting to provide an update on BWA’s current and future area surface water supply and storage and the FY2024 BWA water rates.


At that meeting, BWA explained that BWA, Dow and Local Industrial Users have just two months of reliable local water storage. BWA stated that the State of Texas models and Dow modeling both indicate at least six months of storage are needed. The Texas Commission of Environmental Quality requires all surface water users to maintain a minimum of 120 days of storage.


BWA is recommending the Harris Reservoir Expansion Project to increase its customers’ current and future water supply – including the City of Rosenberg. The city is not building a $650 million reservoir, city officials said. The Harris Reservoir already exists in Brazoria County. The project would be an expansion of the existing reservoir by BWA and Dow – not the City of Rosenberg.


If the BWA Reservoir is completed, Rosenberg’s water rates could increase by $10 per month over eight years. The proposed reservoir is a long-term solution to help shore up anticipated water demands that will be created by continued growth and development well into the future, 50 years and beyond.


The surface water from Brazosport Water Authority only makes up about 45 percent of the city’s current water supply. Surface water is required to meet the Fort Bend Subsidence District groundwater reduction requirement of 30 percent - meaning 30 percent of the water supply must come from surface water, not groundwater or wells. The city has a contract with BWA for up to 5.7 million gallons of water daily.


The majority of the city’s water supply is currently from groundwater, and the city would continue to rely on groundwater as a stable source for the city’s water supply should the surface water from BWA be reduced or disrupted, officials said. The city would not run out of water. The city would shift the water source from surface water (BWA) to groundwater (city wells).

The city is designing the construction of an additional water well as part of Rosenberg’s overall plan for future growth and development. The water well construction is scheduled to begin in early 2024. A second new water well is proposed in the FY2025 Capital Improvement Plan

The city has an additional contract with Brazos River Authority for 4,500-acre feet of raw water per year or approximately 4 million gallons per day.


Periods of drought are always a possibility and conservation may be necessary during these periods, officials said. The city may ask for water conservation measures when there is an observed drop in annual rainfall amounts, higher-than-normal daily temperatures and an increase in water demand. This does not mean the city is running out of water, officials said. This means the demand on the water system is greater than normal.


The Drought Contingency Plan is implemented to reduce non-critical water usage (such as lawn irrigation) to ensure the supply for necessary and emergency uses is adequate and reduce the demand for water system equipment in hopes of preventing a system failure.


Rosenberg recently passed the first water/sewer rate increase in seven years that, in total, will cost the average resident about $4 per month. Of that, $4, $1.20 of the increase is for subsidence fees. The subsidence fee increase approved by the city would cover the first year of BWA’s proposed increases over eight years. Should BWA build a reservoir, the rates could increase by $10 per month over an 8-year period.


“The water rates were not increased for the city to build a reservoir,” officials said. “The water rates were not increased because of water usage at the Travis Park Splash Pad. The city understands the importance of water and the effect of water on our daily lives, which is why we have several long-term and short-term plans for water, including supply for consumption, sanitary sewer, stormwater, flooding, drainage, detention, development, infrastructure and more. The city prioritizes and takes great care in the critical management of this precious natural resource.”


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