Deeper Dive into Water Rates and Infrastructure
Every day, in countless ways, we depend on a well-functioning infrastructure. The Public Works Department is the backbone of any city, and their multifaceted roles and responsibilities touch almost every aspect of daily life. Without their relentless work, we would struggle to function effectively, and residents would face significant challenges in their daily routines. Their work might often go unnoticed, but its impact is felt by every single resident, every single day. As we begin a new budget year, we would like to take this opportunity to dive into the following topics: Water rates and infrastructure.
On September 12, the City Council voted to increase water rates by 13% and sewer rates by 5%. Why is the increase needed?
This increase is needed for two reasons. The first being to fund the increases from Brazosport Water Authority (BWA). There was an 8% increase from BWA as the cost to treat the water has increased, and there are also increases for a new reservoir. This reservoir is necessary to increase the capacity of the water BWA can provide. As population increases in the region, there is more of a demand for water. These increases are inevitable and are ultimately passed down to the end user. The 5% increase for water and sewer is for infrastructure improvements. See approved ordinance here: https://www.angleton.tx.us/DocumentCenter/View/6751/Signed-Water-Rates-9-2023
There seems to be an abundance of service line breaks. How does the number of breaks compare to past years?
Service line breaks occur when there is a failure in the piping materials. The age of the material, the type of material, the installation methods, and even weather conditions as we are experiencing now are all potential causes of these breaks. The current drought we are experiencing is causing the ground below to shift and causing them to break. In comparison, we had 472 water breaks in all of 2022. Versus this year where we have had 301 since June of 2023.
When we talk about infrastructure improvements needed, what does that mean?
Overall, there is a giant list of improvements. Approximately $50M dollars’ worth of water line replacements to put it into perspective. This includes all the lines that are not up to date and made with obsolete material. The most needed of course are those that have many leaks occur on them, pose a critical failure threat, and pose an environmental threat.
How are we addressing these in the short term and long term?
In the short term we are identifying water lines for replacements that are the most critical. We currently have $3.5M dollars’ worth of water lines identified for immediate replacement. Once these projects are engineered, we can begin them. The long-term plan is to continue this trend of replacing water lines with the budget allowed from these increased revenues, and other sources of funding.
What is the timeline for these projects?
From conception to completion can depend on the timing of the funding. However, 12-16 months is a relevant timeline.
This photo demonstrates the sizing difference between a pipe installed 60 years ago, and the current pipe to be installed today. It demonstrates over time how the old iron pipe not only had leaks and failures but collected build up on the inside restricting the flow of water. It is a great demonstration of the improvement of replacing an old water line.
What is a recent water line replacement project?
The latest water line replacement we are working on is Wimberly Street. We began this project to replace this small iron water line. It has the same appearance as the photo above. This one has caused maintenance issues with leaks, but also this small line cannot accommodate fire protection. With the replacement and increase in size it will provide better flow of water and provide better fire protection.
Thank you, City of Angleton Public Works Department. Through the quality of your work, you demonstrate a deep love and respect for our community, and we want you to know that this does not go unnoticed.