Stage I Water Conservation Period (May 1 – Sept. 30) - Voluntary Reduction in Pumping

Conservation Rate Structures

What are Conservation Oriented Rate Structures?

Public water suppliers (PWS) set rates to achieve the core objectives of collecting revenue to operate the water utility, investing in infrastructure, and protecting public health. In addition to those objectives, many PWSs are exploring other objectives such as using water pricing to achieve water conservation. Water conservation is critical to meeting the water needs of Texas and there are many types of public awareness and incentive type programs that are implemented to advance water conservation. In combination with additional efforts many utilities are using conservation oriented rates and financial policies to encourage customers to reduce their water use while maintaining financial viability.

Does District Rule 3-6.1 apply to me?

Public Water Suppliers (PWS) who are permitted for groundwater production within the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District are subject to the requirements of this rule. District Rule 3-6.1 encourages the use of conservation-oriented rate structures and states all permitted PWSs are required to provide information about their water rate structures to the District for a qualitative evaluation. This information will be used by the District to provide an assessment of the relative effectiveness of your rate structure in reducing water demand during declared drought. Pdf of District Rule 3-6.1

What does my PWS need to do?

To satisfy this District rule requirement you should submit the following information to the District by:

  • PWS Water Rates Survey Form (must use Internet Explorer) file updated 6/30/14
  • A copy of your Rate Structure
  • Written description of why rate structure is effective in reducing water demand.

The deadline to submit your rate information was July 15, 2014

Why is the District evaluating my rates?

This qualitative evaluation is intended to provide expert feedback on how your rate structure could be designed to prepare your utility for handling extreme drought.  This qualitative evaluation is not intended to establish, modify or approve your rate structure. Nor should this evaluation be seen as an attempt to further restrict or curtail your utility’s production permit. The evaluation report is intended to serve as an informative resource to facilitate drought planning and compliance.  The report will also become a part of your permittee profile and will be referenced as a management tool when assessing any noncompliance with monthly pumping curtailments during District-declared drought.

Who can I contact for assistance or guidance?

If you have any further questions, please contact the regulatory compliance program at 512.282.8441 or by email at


Additional Resources

This webinar discusses the findings and recommendations of a recent report that explores the relationship between water pricing, water use, and revenue stability in the State of Texas. The webinar addresses how utilities can strike a balance between conservation and revenue stability and introduce rate structures, billing options, and financial practices that will help utilities advance water conservation objectives without undercutting needed revenue stability. Water utilities and their stakeholders will find it useful in evaluating how water rates compare within the state and identifying additional steps that can be taken to promote conservation and ensure revenue stability.

•Mary Tiger, Chief Operating Officer, Environmental Finance Center at UNC Chapel Hill
•Jeff Hughes, Director, Environmental Finance Center at UNC Chapel Hill
•Jennifer Walker, Water Resources Coordinator, Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter, Texas Living Waters Project

Click Here for pdf Report: Designing Water Rate Structures for Conservation & Revenue Stability


Texas Water Rates Dashboard ~ 2013 residential rates for more than 560 utilities across Texas can be compared with:
All other utilities in the dashboard, Utilities with similar population, Utilities with similar revenue generation, Utilities with similar household income, Utilities with residential water use, Utilities within 50 miles distance.

The following measures for the selected utility are compared to key indicators or to the utilities within the selected comparison group:
• Monthly water/wastewater bills,
• Monthly bill as a percentage of Median Household Income for the service community,
• Conservation pricing signal,
• Debt service coverage ratio.
• Average household water use.