We are happy to say that your water board has been busy trying to maintain our facilities to their optimum level.
First let me pass on the information from North Harris County Regional Water Authority. They were going to raise the rate they charge us for surface water on April 1, and we then direct pass on to you. They have agreed due to the virus to delay the start of the increase to July 1 of this year.
Many of you have seen trucks in the community over the last few months. They have been slip lining our waste lines to improve water flow and prolong the life of our system.
You may know that we have two water wells in the community, one off Schroeder road near the Prestonwood town homes and the other at the end of the 8200 block of Camborne. A few years ago we built a new concrete 500,000 gallon tank and a wall around it at the Camborne location, but left the galvanized tank in place. It has been out of service for a while since it has reached its useful service life. Because of this and the fact that it was built when we opened the subdivision, we have decided to take it down which happened the first week of May. (See attached pictures)
The other major project being done the same week is taking down the elevated belt press at our water treatment plant on Cypresswood at the Prestonwood Forest intersection. For those of us that live closest to Cypresswood it has been an eyesore for a long time. When it was built Cypresswood did not exist so it was a non-issue. It was used to process sludge from the water treatment process, but the board based on a financial analysis has decided to remove sludge by an alternate method. To remove the building it was planned to just lift off the canopy housing and then the press itself. Best plans sometimes have an OOP’S. The computer on the crane miscalculated and locked up causing the crane to be lifted up. (See attached pictures) The contractor then had to bring in two MUCH BIGGER cranes to save the original one and then lift off the press. There were no damages or injuries. Concrete columns will come down the second week of May.
The good news for all of us is that the board has been planning on all this work for a long time and we have the funds to do it without raising rates, taxes, or issue bonds!
For a reprint of this article and more pictures of the work done please see our web page at PrestonwoodforestUD.org.
The current rate charged Prestonwood water users by the North Harris County Regional Water Authority (NHCRWA) is $4.10 per thousand gallons usage, this is a $.25 per 1,000-gallon increase over last year. NHCRWA has indicated they plan to implement annual increases in $.50 increments beginning July 1st. This cost is billed to Prestonwood Forest Utility District (PFUD) and will be passed on to the user unchanged. It shows up on your bill as a line item, “NHCRWA”.
Coincidental to these actions, PFUD is facing increased costs for the maintenance of the water and sewer infrastructure. Hurricane Harvey losses were partially recovered through our insurance. However, the need to implement mitigation measures to attempt to reduce any future flood damages from “Harvey”-like or even lesser storm events, plus the strain of maintaining a nearly 50-year-old infrastructure has caused the Board to rethink the water rates currently in place.
The Board has developed a 5-year plan to accomplish repairs, replacements and “Harvey” mitigation improvements with the intent of pay as you go, with no additional tax burden on Prestonwood users. This plan will require adjustments to the water and sewer rates for users.
Prestonwood will still maintain one of the lowest water and sewer rates in the region if not in the United States. The rates reflect the effort to promote conservation as required by State Law. Costs for usage above 5,000 gallons per month will increase incrementally as usage increases. Also, the board reluctantly determined that the “rebate”, which has been given for the last seven years, should also be eliminated to assist in funding improvements to our utility systems. The complete Rate Order is available on the Prestonwood Forest UD website at PrestonwoodForestud.org click on “Rate Order.”
The bottom line – water remains one of the best values we enjoy today. In view of the rising costs, the most effective way for everyone to keep their water costs low is to conserve this precious resource. The cost of water in the future is going to grow. The Board asks that you please read and consider the water conservation materials that we include as inserts in our mail-out bills, on-line at our web-site and as articles in the Prestonwood Press.
∼ Prestonwood Forest Utility District Board of Directors