Water Rates

Cities of Mesquite, Garland, Plano and Richardson request review of NTMWD water rates

On December 14, 2016, the Mayors of Garland, Mesquite, Plano and Richardson announced their cities are asking the Public Utility Commission (PUC) to conduct a review of their water rates with the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD).

This action was taken because the rates set by the NTMWD under the six-decade old water supply contract are discriminatory, are inconsistent with water conservation and are not in the public interest. As a result, the four cities have paid a total of $178 million for water they did not use.
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"North Texas Municipal Water District member cities pay for water based on a "take or pay" system, which means that we pay based on the year of our greatest annual use," Mesquite Mayor Stan Pickett said. "This level cannot be reduced based on subsequent water use patterns."

For Garland, Mesquite, Plano and Richardson, the greatest use took place during a time when water conservation was not anticipated. Years of drought and the successful adoption of water conservation strategies have changed the amount and way water is used; and it is unlikely the cities will ever again use the minimums that were set by their greatest annual usage.

"As a result of this current structure, Mesquite has paid 36 million dollars over the past 14 years for water it did not use. A number of Mesquite citizens have expressed concern about these rates during our City Council meetings, and we have an obligation to these residents and businesses to be responsible financial stewards," Pickett said.

The NTMWD is composed of 13 NTMWD member cities and includes approximately 34 NTMWD customer cities. The customer cities have individual contracts with the NTMWD and some of their effective rates are lower than some of the member cities. At the same time, the cost of water is rising as the NTMWD has raised rates 69.8 percent since fiscal year 2012. Additionally, it plans to raise rates by approximately 10 percent per year for the next seven years.

"Forcing member cities to pay continually increasing rates for a fixed quantity, regardless of actual consumption, has locked us into a rate model that cannot be sustained," said Pickett. "It is inconsistent with conservation initiatives and is contrary to the public interest.