I request that the PUC move to rate review on Docket No. 46662, regarding the wholesale water rates of the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD).
Member cities have voiced what appear to be legitimate concerns that the current “take-or-pay” rate structure at NTMWD unreasonably locks older member cities and customer cities into unjustifiably high rates, which in practical effect forces slow-growing cities to subsidize the water costs of rapidly-growing cities, and disincentivizes the conservation of water.
For example, the city of Rowlett had little choice but to begin purchasing water from the NTMWD due to the district’s monopoly on the provision of water in the area. Rowlett is now locked into the “take-or-pay” arrangement and is too small for representation on the district’s board. In 2019, Rowlett paid $2.4m for water it did not use. That amount equals almost 10% of the city’s total water and sewer operating budget. The city has a compelling interest in keeping local taxpayer dollars at home rather than sending them to subsidize water rates elsewhere.
Because resolution among the water districts members has proved practically impossible due to the structure and terms of the 1988 agreement, it is necessary and appropriate for the PUC to exercise its jurisdiction to set just and reasonable rates for the District. Thank you for your time and consideration. If you have any questions, please contact my office at (512) 463-0116.
Senator Nathan Johnson
Texas State Senator, District 16