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The City has not increased water or wastewater rates since 2011, and surface water rates have not increased since 2014. These rates are the main source of funding for the utility system. If the operating and capital needs of the system exceed the capacity generated by revenues (payments), then rates have to be increased to maintain a financially sound, self-supporting utility system.
The rate increases are necessary to support the City in meeting the 60% groundwater reduction mandate as recommended by the Integrated Water Resources Plan.
Each year, a long-range financial forecast for the utility system is prepared using an updated model from the last rate study. This update provides guidance on revenues necessary to support the operating and capital needs of the system moving forward. The model builds in the capital projects identified through the Integrated Water Resources Plan and Capital Improvement Program.
The utility system is operated like a business and supported through charges to users of the system. Revenues are generated by the rates set by City Council.
When rate increases are necessary, they are recommended through the annual budget, discussed with City Council during budget workshops, and then adopted by City Ordinance.
City Council approved utility rate increases in September of 2019 to be effective January 1, 2020. Residents can expect to see the rate changes on bills issued after that date.
If you need help paying your bill, there is a Utility Assistance Program through Fort Bend Social Services. Please call 281-342-7300 to learn more about possible assistance.
Please visit our water-saving tips page to help control the cost of your water bill.
In a 2018 survey conducted by the Texas Municipal League (TML), Sugar Land’s residential water and wastewater bills ranked 15% to 20% less than the average bill for 45 cities over 50,000 in population (including costs for mandatory groundwater reduction).
The City is being required to convert 60% of its total water demand to alternative or non-groundwater supplies by 2025. This conversion is an unfunded mandate by the Fort Bend Subsidence District (FBSD) Regulatory Plan. The City is committed to meeting the mandate in a way that best fits our communities’ vision for the future.
The Integrated Water Resources Plan (IWRP) is a comprehensive water supply plan, approved by City Council in 2019. The IWRP examined the City’s available water supplies and infrastructure and developed a clear, strategic, and cost-effective road map that allows the City to meet future water demands and regulations. The recommendations include partial expansion of the City’s Surface Water Treatment Plant, expanding reclaimed water facilities, water conservation programs, implementing advanced metering infrastructure and controlling water loss.
The costs of these projects will be phased over the next several years. In order to fund these projects and meet the regulatory requirements, the City will be increasing rates incrementally over the next few years. Please visit the IWRP page.
Beginning in 2014, the City had to meet FBSD regulations requiring the City to supply 30-percent of its water demand from alternative (non-groundwater) sources. In 2025, this water supply requirement will increase to 60-percent alternative sources.
Learn more about the IWRP.
The City has not increased water or wastewater rates since 2011, and surface water rates have not increased since 2014. The Integrated Water Resources Plan identifies substantial capital investment ahead of the mandated 60% reduction in groundwater. Continued capital and operating investment into the system is necessary to ensure the safest and most reliable utility system for our customers.
The utility rate study will help the City design a rate structure to achieve the revenues needed based on industry best practices, and only recommend the rate increases that are necessary to maintain a self-supporting utility system. While necessary, future increases will be structured to ensure the financial sustainability of the system around smaller annual increases instead of larger less frequent increases.