North Alamo Water Supply Corp.
The North Alamo Water Supply Corporation (North Alamo WSC) does not appear to take water conservation seriously. This utility’s most recent WCP (2012) is very short and general and may have been filed merely to meet a state requirement. The “plan” sets a reasonable target for water use reduction but identifies no specific measures for achieving it. Indeed, the utility has not filed the required annual reports on the implementation of its “plan.” On its website North Alamo WSC provides a link to its drought contingency plan but absolutely no information about water conservation.
North Alamo WSC, with headquarters in Edinburg, provides water and wastewater service to about 125,000 residents (according to its 2012 WCP) in eastern Hidalgo County, Willacy County, and northwestern Cameron County in the Lower Rio Grande Valley – a service area of almost 1000 square miles. On its website North Alamo WSC states that it has over 43,000 water meter connections serving households, businesses, county facilities, schools, and other water systems. North Alamo WSC is in the Region M water planning area and draws its water from the Rio Grande and from brackish groundwater recovered using reverse osmosis treatment plants.
Apparently the first water conservation “plan” filed by North Alamo WSC with the State of Texas was its 2012 WCP, although statutorily a plan should have been submitted in 2009 and revised in 2014. The 2012 WCP sets a goal of reducing residential (not total) GPCD to 103 by 2018 (down from 117 GPCD in 2011). No target is indicated for reducing total GPCD, which was 160 in 2011. The plan provides no information about water conservation programs being implemented or considered to reach the residential GPCD goal.
The only “continuing public education” on conservation mentioned in the 2012 WCP is having materials available at the utility’s office to encourage residential water conservation and cooperating with other agencies in promoting water conservation. This does not constitute a robust public outreach on water conservation, and a word search for “water conservation” on the utility’s website produces no results. North Alamo WSC does say that it has an inclining block water rate structure, which should provide an incentive for customers to curb water use.
In its 2012 Utility Profile North Alamo WSC reported a five-year average water loss rate of 14.28%, including a high of 16.38% in 2011. The utility’s 2012 WCP sets a target of 15% water loss (termed “unaccounted-for use of water” in the plan) by 2018, which really is no reduction whatsoever from historic rates. To be fair, maintaining water distribution pipelines to prevent leaks is a major challenge for water utilities such as North Alamo WSC serving a large area with a limited revenue base; but curbing water loss in this utility would provide the potential for substantial progress in conserving water while making additional water available for sale that would produce revenue (and avoid the cost of developing new water supplies).