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What is the North Fort Bend Water Authority (NFBWA)?
The North Fort Bend Water Authority (NFBWA), along with the Fort Bend Subsidence District, was created by the State of Texas to reduce subsidence and provide a reliable, enduring source of potable water. The NFBWA covers approximately 141 square miles in Fort Bend County. This includes the City of Fulshear and more than eighty MUDs. The NFBWA is not a “for profit” business.
Monthly water bills from Big Oaks MUD include a line item titled “NFBWA Fee”. This fee pays for water used as measured by the individual water meter. By State mandate, Big Oaks MUD purchases fresh water from the NFBWA. The NFBWA provides its constituents cleaned, sanitary surface water from lakes in place of the well water that has previously been the main source of supply for much of Fort Bend County.
Subsidence refers to the gradual sinking of the ground over time. It can be a primary cause of costly flooding and infrastructure damage. Subsidence occurs when well water is drawn from the ground faster than it is replenished, causing the soil to physically compact. Soil compaction cannot be fully reversed, so prevention is vital. Replacing well water with surface water greatly reduces the rate of subsidence in our area.
The past extensive use of well water has been a primary cause of serious subsidence issues in the Gulf Coast region of Texas. In at least one case (Baytown’s Brownwood subdivision), subsidence resulted in the complete abandonment of the area. The once beautiful neighborhood is now fully underwater and has been repurposed as the Baytown Nature Center.
The NFBWA does not have the authority to levy taxes, so it must use fees to construct and operate the necessary infrastructure to deliver surface water to areas within the NFBWA’s boundaries. It gets surface water in partnership with the Central Harris County Regional Water Authority, the City of Houston, the Coastal Water Authority, the North Harris County Regional Water Authority, and the West Harris County Regional Water Authority.
The NFBWA charges Big Oaks MUD a single amount each month for the total amount of water used by the MUD. The NFBWA does not charge the residents individually. Big Oaks MUD passes the NFBWA fee through to residents based on their individual water usage. Big Oaks MUD does not add to nor subsidize the NFBWA fee, so residents of the MUD are billed their actual share (based on their monthly usage) of the total NFBWA fee paid by the MUD. The amount charged per gallon is set by the NFBWA, not by Big Oaks MUD.
Big Oaks MUD is the only source of fresh water for its residents. There are no alternative sources of fresh water within the District.
The North Fort Bend Water Authority has an excellent website. You may access their website at https://www.nfbwa.com. NFBWA meetings are open to the public. See their website for meeting details and much other useful information.