Reclaimed Water Use Program FAQs
Where does Fort Bend Municipal Utility District No. 118 get its water from?
Fort Bend Municipal Utility District No. 118 (FBMUD118) has three (3) ground water wells which supplies the service area with drinking water in addition to surface water from the North Fort Bend Water Authority (NFBWA).
Why not just use the ground water wells to supply water to FBMUD118?
The Water District (FBCMUD118) resides in the Fort Bend Subsidence District (FBSD). FBSD received a mandate from the Texas Legislature to reduce subsidence moving away from groundwater to an alternative supply of water. The FBSD Area A Groundwater Reduction Plan required a reduction of groundwater pumpage of 30% by 2014. A 60% reduction is required by 2025. If not reduced, then the water provider must pay a disincentive fee which greatly raises the cost of groundwater.
The North Fort Bend Water Authority (NFBWA) was set up in response to the legislative mandate to FBSD and is the entity responsible for supplying surface water to areas within its boundaries. NFBWA assesses a groundwater reduction plan fee for the water that is pumped from FBMUD118’s water wells, and this fee has been increasing in amount each year for the last several years. The NFBWA and FBMUD118 have entered into an agreement whereby FBMUD118 will receive from NFBWA an annual credit of $0.75 / 1000 gallons for reclaimed water used.
Where does FBCMUD 118 irrigation water come from?
Currently the irrigation systems owned and operated by the HOA and FBCMUD118 is supplied by potable water. This water is a combination of both ground water and surface water. In order to reduce the dependency of purchased water from NFBWA and to minimize groundwater withdrawals the Reclaimed Water Project was funded by FBCMUD118. By using reclaimed water, the effects of subsidence can be minimized and ultimately the cost of water is reduced. Once the Reclaimed Water Project is complete several of the irrigation systems around the subdivision will be transferred to non-potable water.
What is reclaimed water and are there different types?
Reclaimed water, also known as recycled water or reuse water, is former domestic wastewater that has been disinfected and treated to remove solids and certain impurities. After treatment at a wastewater treatment plant, the water can be safely piped into the community and utilized for irrigation purposes. Reuse is a conservative approach to recycle and save potable water resources from being used for activities such as lawn and landscaping irrigation. There are two (2) classifications of reclaimed water: nonpotable and potable reuse. FBCMUD118 selected the nonpotable reuse system where this distribution system is completely separate from the potable or drinking water supply. Specifically, the District will operate a Type 1 Reclaimed Water System intended for irrigation purposes in public areas. While this type is not intended for direct human contact it is safe for public areas.
Where will the reclaimed water be used?
The water will be used for landscaping and lawn irrigation for certain HOA & MUD common areas within Waterside Estates. Specifically, the current irrigation system along Waterside Estates Circle from Lake Edinburg to Lewisville Drive will receive reclaimed water. A large portion of the irrigation system around Figure Four Lake will also be transferred to reuse.
Is this reclaimed water safe to drink?
This nonpotable water is safe for human contact it should NOT be used as drinking water. While it meets many of the standards for potable water it does not meet all of them.
How does the public know that this is reclaimed water?
All reclaimed water distribution lines and above ground sprinkler heads are colored purple for identification and are separate from the potable drinking water system. Also, for public safety, there are to be posted signs in the areas being irrigated by the reclaimed water.
How much water will be saved by this reuse program?
The system has the capability to supply 300 gallons per minute (gpm). The irrigation meters scheduled to be converted to reclaimed water use on average 8,500 gallons per day (gpd) based on 36-months of historical data. This equates to approximately 3 million gallons of water per year in FBMUD118. These water conservation efforts are beneficial to the environment while improving the Districts overall water supply.
If the water was not reclaimed, what would happen to it?
The current effluent from the wastewater treatment plant discharges to Oyster Creek rather than a portion being reused for irrigation purposes.
What is the cost for this “reclaimed” water program?
The construction cost of the reclaimed water system is approximately $2.5 Million.
How is this project paid for?
Bonds were sold to pay for the wastewater treatment plant upgrades and the reclaimed water distribution system.
Will there be a need to increase taxes or water rates for using reclaimed water?
There will be no tax increase or water rate increase due to the implementation of the reclaimed water system.
Will pharmaceuticals be in the water?
There is the possibility there are traces of very low concentrations of pharmaceuticals in the water that were taken and passed through from the residents of the community. However, these concentrations are very low and meet all regulations mandated by the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality.
What if my dog drinks water from a sprinkler head?
Although there should be no problem because of the standard of treatment to the water, we advise against this and potable water should be used for drinking.