City of Pearland
Pearland reports a low rate of per capita water use – an annual average of 117 GPCD – and a goal of reducing that to 109 GPCD by 2019. However, Pearland’s low water use rate may be a reflection of its location in a wet part of the state. The City has not had an extensive water conservation program. Moreover, the City has not provided a clear game plan for achieving its five-year water use reduction goal. Without pursuing new initiatives the City may be hard-pressed to keep water use low as residential development continues at breakneck speed.
Pearland as of 2010 had a population of slightly over 91,000 according to the U. S. Census; but the city is growing at an extremely rapid rate, and the most recent figure from the State of Texas indicates that the population already has surpassed 110,000. Most of the City of Pearland is located in Brazoria County although parts of the City extend into Fort Bend and Harris Counties. The City of Pearland provides only retail water service. It has two main sources of supply: eleven groundwater wells that the City owns and operates and surface water purchased from the City of Houston at three connections.
The City of Pearland has not implemented a robust suite of water conservation measures. A positive note is that the 2014 WCP and tips for water conservation are easily accessible on the City’s website. This latest WCP, however, discusses a number of basic water conservation measures only in terms of the City “considering” them. For example, the 2014 plan says the City will “consider” the following:
However, no timetable is provided in the plan for developing and moving forward on any of these initiatives, and the City’s website as of early 2016 does not indicate that any of them have been pursued. Most of the other activities that the City cites in its 2014 WCP as conservation measures are fairly standard items for most Texas municipal water suppliers, including, for example, universal metering and an inverted block water rate structure.
One of the conservation measures that the City discusses in its 2014 WCP is “leak detection and repair” of the City’s water distribution lines, which is aimed at keeping what is termed “unaccounted for water” (water leaks, illegal diversions, etc.) below 10%. However, it is hard to determine how active and effective this effort is. One of the figures in the City’s 2014 WCP (page 2-2) shows a wildly ranging incidence of “water loss” during the period from 2008 through 2014. The figure shows a low of approximately 2.5% in 2014 and a high of approximately 24% in 2012 (as best can be judged from looking at the figure), but there is no discernible trend – the water loss rates go up and down from year to year. Moreover, for some years there is a discrepancy between what the figure in the text of the 2014 WCP shows as annual water loss and what the City’s Utility Profile included as an appendix to the 2014 WCP shows as annual water loss (page D-4).