Cost of Water / Sewer / Trash Service
MUD 501 provides three separate charges to residents on its monthly water billing statement which includes the following services: 1) the District’s operational costs for the water supply and distribution system, 2) the surface water and groundwater pumpage fees charged by the West Harris County Regional Water Authority, and 3) the costs to provide sewer and trash service. All are explained in more detail below:
Water Service Costs
The line item on a resident’s bill indicating “Water Charges” reflects the costs associated with delivering the water to the resident. These costs include MUD 501’s water operating costs, which include the District’s share of MUD 500’s (in its capacity as the Master District) operating costs, legal fees, operator fees, administrative fees and other consultant fees. In order to recover the costs, MUD 501 charges residents a rate per thousand gallons used each month set by the Board in its Amended Rate Order. The rate schedule includes a minimum charge that all residents must pay regardless of their usage. Occasionally residents question the minimum charge, but some of MUD 501’s operating costs are fixed regardless of usage, thus the minimum charge helps to ensure MUD 501’s costs will be recovered. MUD 501’s current monthly single family residential water service rates are as follows:
- 0-7,000 gallons $22.00 per month
- 7,001-15,000 gallons $2.25 per thousand gallons
- 15,001-25,000 gallons $2.50 per thousand gallons
- Over 25,000 gallons $3.00 per thousand gallons
An important point to mention is the methodology of increasing the water rate as consumption increases is done, in part, to encourage water conservation. It is estimated that 70% of water consumption is used for outside irrigation purposes, and from this number approximately 50% of the residential irrigation ends up down the storm sewer drains. In other words the water is wasted.
The Harris Galveston Subsidence District and West Harris County Regional Water Authority Fees
MUD 501’s water supply comes from MUD 500 (in its capacity as the Master District), which purchases surface water from the West Harris County Regional Water Authority (WHCRWA). Because of the significant infrastructure costs associated with reducing groundwater withdrawal through the delivery of surface water to the Northwest and Western portions of Harris County, as required by the Harris Galveston Subsidence District (the Subsidence District), the actual cost of surface water is expected to continue to increase for at least the next five years. For more information on the Subsidence District and the WHCRWA, please visit https://www.hcmud501.org/harris-galveston-subsidence-district-and-west-harris-county-regional-water-authority/.
The current WHCRWA rate which appears on a resident’s bills as “W Harris Co Reg Wtr Authority” is $4.24 per 1,000 gallons. This incorporates a small fee in addition to the rate charged by the WHCRWA to cover any costs associated with water loss. Residents should expect this rate to increase by approximately $0.25 each year for at least the next five years. Because of the significant capital costs associated with the delivery and treatment of surface water, required to comply with the Subsidence District’s regulations, MUD 501 (or any other MUD using surface water) has NO ABILITY to reduce the actual cost of water from this source. As a result MUD 501 will direct its attention on educating its customers on the importance of using water wisely and efficiently.
Sewer and Trash Service Costs
Sewer and trash service costs are combined into a flat monthly fee which appears on a resident’s bill as “Sewer Charge” which is currently $30 per month for single family residential customers. MUD 501 charges this flat monthly fee in order to recover its sewer operating costs, which include the District’s share of MUD 500’s (in its capacity as the Master District) operating costs, legal fees, operator fees, administrative fees and other consultant fees as well as the direct cost it incurs from its trash provider.
The MUD 501 board is committed to keeping all of its costs as low as possible and is continually analyzing ways to improve efficiencies while maintaining high quality and safe water services. We encourage residents to participate in this process by attending board meetings, reviewing information on the MUD 501 website, and providing input and ideas to the board.