Are the days of cheap water gone?

Spring Texas homes sprinkler systemsWhat’s on the mind of Spring Texas homeowners these days?  Water.  Not water in the form of rain.  Although it could be because this summer has certainly been drier than most.

But instead it is the increase we are seeing in our water bills that has captured our attention.  At first I thought maybe I was just using more water but since I had not changed the settings on my sprinkler system and real estate has kept me too busy for Calgon take me away baths, I knew my water usage couldn’t have increased. There had to be some other reason for the increase in my MUD’s water bill.

After a quick comparison between my 2008 and 2009 water bills, I identified the cause of the increase.  On my water bill the line item named Region Water Authority went from being 30% of the total charges in 2008 to 42% in 2009.  Due to a mandate to reduce our dependence on groundwater, the North Harris County Regional Water Authority had been created.  For the last couple of years, I have known about the mandate and the Regional Water Authority’s construction activity as I had been delayed by their work crews during the installation of the pipes along Louetta in Spring Texas.

But like the Christmas present you purchase in July and forget where you put it by the time December rolls around I forgot about the mandate and its fast approaching deadlines to reduce our reliance on groundwater.  The first deadline of January 1, 2010 requires 30% of our water to come from surface water. In 2020, 70% of of water is mandated to come from surface water and by 2030 the surface water requirement increases to 80%.

The increase in mine and my Spring Texas neighbors water bills is because we all have to pay to construct the infrastructure needed to connect our MUDs with Lake Houston which will become our source of surface water.  Currently the fee is $1.50 per 1,000 gallons through December 31,2009.  What will the fee be in 2010?  The North Harris County Regional Water Authority’s website does not say but I think it is a pretty safe guess to say it is going to increase.

Are the days of cheap water gone?  Yes but with its departure will come a renewed interest in water conservation. I am only hoping my neighbors won’t take water conservation to the extreme and stop watering all together because I prefer the look of green grass much more than brown grass.

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