New Rate Schedule Effective August 1, 2024 (July Bill) and Changes to Drought Stages

This will be an insert in your May bill, but I thought I’d get it out early for those registered on the website. As always address any questions to your favorite board member listed below or to team@wswsc.org.

 

To Our Neighbors and Water Customers:

The Whitewater Springs Water Supply Corporation (WSWSC) is dedicated to ensuring the availability of water to our community now and into the future. To that end, the WSWSC regularly monitors the water system and consumer demand to assess what actions should be taken to meet the community’s needs. Recently, our community has experienced additional population growth, inflation has increased operating costs, and irrigation has continued to drive our peak usage in the summer months. For these reasons, WSWSC is taking action to stay “ahead of the curve,” to assure a stable water supply for the future. 

We will be making three major changes this summer to help with these efforts:

1.       First, we will be adopting the Central Texas Groundwater Conservation District (CTGCD) drought stages and actions. This means that our drought stage will no longer be set according to our community experience. Rather, it will be set by what the district is experiencing as a whole. Because of this change we will be going immediately to drought stage III as that is where the CTGCD drought stage is currently set. There are links at the WSWSC website (WSWSC.org) that will take you to information about the CTGCD drought stages and actions. Importantly, the board will still retain the ability to override the stage in the case of an emergency community issue.

2.       Secondly, we will be implementing a seasonal rate structure for the highest tier of water usage. During the months of June through September the highest rate tier (for usage of 12,000 gallons and above) will be set by the board of directors. This seasonal rate will be set annually in the Spring.  Depending on current conditions, the Board will have the flexibility to set the seasonal rate from $0 to as high as $150 per 1,000 gallons of usage. This year, the Board has set the Seasonal Rate at $60 per 1,000 gallons for use above 12,000 gallons effective August 1. This will give owners an extra two months to evaluate their usage.  As of October 1 the rate for this tier will to back to the normal $29.75 per 1,000 gallons until next spring when the seasonal rate will be set by the board and go into effect in June 2025.

3.       Finally, we are increasing the monthly base rate for water service from $98 to $105. This $7 adjustment reflects the increases in costs to maintain the water system.

What does this mean for me?

For most customers the main impact will be the increase to the base rate from $98 to $105 per month. For those customers that use more water, the change to the highest usage tier (more than 12,000 gallons) could have a significant impact on their bill. By way of example a customer using 20,000 gallons of water in a month under the old rate structure would have a bill of $431.15. Under the 2024 seasonal rate plus the base rate change the new bill would be $681.39. For a customer using 4,000 gallons the bill under the old rate structure was $114.57. The bill under the new rate structure will be $121.61.

How do I avoid a large water bill?

The biggest water impact for many customers is irrigation. We strongly discourage anyone from planting a lawn or other plants that require heavy irrigation. Our climate does not support large-scale irrigation very well. If you really want a traditional lawn the best action would be to implement a rainwater collection system. As a point of reference, for every 1,000 square feet of roof area on your house you could be collecting 18,690 gallons of water in a normal rain year. Use of collected water during the peak months of June through September could help you to avoid the higher rates and a higher bill. Please note that any rainwater collection system must be approved by the Whitewater Springs Architectural Control Committee.

If you want to avoid irrigation altogether, look at the environment around you and mimic it in your own landscaping. The Hill Country has a rugged natural beauty that includes all the vegetation that naturally grows here. You can have a yard that mimics the environment which needs little or no irrigation to support it.

What else is the WSWSC is doing to keep costs down?

Leak Identification and Remediation – Together with our partner, Professional General Management Services (PGMS), WSWSC actively identifies and fixes water leaks in the distribution system as well as at the residential meters. This issue has been diminished due to rapid response to leaks and better-quality repair processes.

Monitoring Usage – 91% of our customers use less than 8,000 gallons per month. This is excellent. 97% of our customers use less than 12,000 gallons per month. This is the level at which only basic irrigation occurs. Anything above 12,000 gallons we’d like to suggest using rainwater collection for. Our new rate structure both encourages this reduction in usage and funds the additional costs of being able to provide this peak usage in the summer months. 

Maintenance of Current Infrastructure – The WSWSC is committed to providing responsive and reliable service to all our customers. We have implemented a SCADA system to help us more quickly react to leaks that emerge in the system. This will help us keep our water loss down.

Exploration and Well Development – The WSWSC has been working hard to find and develop new wells to keep up with the demand in our growing community.  In 2023 we completed one well project that added 20 gallons per minute to our pumping capacity. This summer we expect an additional 13 gallons per minute to come online and in the next two years we expect another 40 gallons per minute to be added. We implemented an increase in the cost of a water tap for all new meters last year to help fund these and other projects. This does not impact existing customers.

New Rate Schedule – effective with the July 2024 bill (first week in August reading)

Monthly base rate (including 0 gallons)

Residential Meter Size:

·       ⅝” or ¾” -$105.00 (Old rate $98.00)

·       1” – $210.00 (Old rate $196.00)

Gallonage Charge: (Per 1,000 Gallons)   

·       0 – 4,000 gallons – $4.00 (No change)        

·       4,001-8,000 gallons – $7.00 (No change)

·       8,001-12,000 gallons – $12.25 (No change)

·       Greater than 12,000 gallons (October – May) – $29.75 (No change)

·       Greater than 12,000 gallons (June – September) – $0 – $150 (New – set by Board each year)

Regulatory Assessment Fee …….0.5% (No change)

 

 

Meter and Transfer FeesNo change

NEW Water Meter          Transfer of Existing House

Membership Fee (refundable)    $500                                  $500

Meter Installation Fee                  $900                                  N/A

Connection Fee                              $22,400                            N/A

Engineering Installation Fee        $50                                    N/A

Customer Inspection Fee             $150                                  N/A

Transfer Fee                                   N/A                                    $100

Total Fees                                       $24,000                             $600

 What can customers do to help us keep down costs?

Conserve Water – In the short-term, conservation is becoming more important than ever. The long, hot Hill Country summers are particularly taxing on our current wells. The TCEQ website has some excellent tips to help everyone conserve water and we encourage you to visit their site to learn more.  https://www.tceq.texas.gov/response/drought/conservation.html.

If you are using water for irrigation, we ask that you consider installing a rainwater collection system to lower your dependence on WSWSC wells. The majority of our customers use less than 12,000 gallons per month. Using March of 2024 as an example, if those that consumed more than 12,000 gallons utilized rainwater collection to supply their needs over 12,000 gallons, we would have reduced demand by more than 190,0000 gallons for the month. This would represent 25% of the total water provided in March!

Please note that Stage III water restrictions are now in effect as we are following the Central Texas Groundwater Conservation District (CTGCD) drought stages. For more details please view the CTGCD website here Drought Status – Central Texas Groundwater Conservation District (centraltexasgcd.org)

Learn More – WSWSC encourages all members to attend Board Meetings to learn more about our water system, exploration plans, and conservation efforts.  Meetings are held quarterly and meeting dates and times are posted on the Information Board at the front of the development.  Information is also available on our website at www.WSWSC.org  If you aren’t able to attend meetings in person, meeting notes are also posted there.

As always, it is a pleasure serving you, our customers.  If you have any questions feel free to reach out to a Board member or attend an upcoming meeting.

Sincerely,

The WSWSC Board

Gregg Thompson – President                                  John Kovach – Director

Frank Caramanica – VP                                             Michael Spehar – Director

David Giles – Treasurer                                             Ken Ripperger-Suhler – Director

John Steczkowski – Secretary