HCMUD 18 begins phased installation of Smart Water Meters

Harris County MUD 18 will begin a phased installation of smart water meters beginning November 2019 and concluding at the end of February 2020.

This is a planned installation funded by the District’s existing capital improvement funds.

The installation will be accomplished in batches throughout the neighborhoods until all older mechanical water meters are replaced. There is nothing a homeowner needs do to prepare for the installation – District crews will do all the work.

Smart meters allow both the District’s Operator and its customers to track water their use. This is an advance in the ability to lower water costs and increase water conservation. The District saves money on manual meter readings as each home’s data are transmitted directly to the District Operator.

These new meters will be installed inside existing customer water meter boxes and do not require extensive modifications or disruptions of water service. Digital smart meters are far more accurate than older mechanical meters and are calibrated during installation to insure accuracy.

Smart meters quickly remember water use to establish individual use histories that can alert our Operator and the customer to periods of high water use, or even the possible presence of leaks in a customer’s home system. If a leak is suspected, the system can be programmed to contact a customer by email or SMS text message alerts.

Customers can download a free, mobile application for Apple or Android phones to track their own water use before a monthly bill is even received.

This software displays clear and concise graphics of water use displayed in monthly, weekly, daily or even hourly periods, which can be compared to a previous week’s use. Additionally, the data displays temperature and rainfall overlays to help explain water use patterns.

What is a MUD?

MUDs or ‘Municipal Utility Districts’ are authorized by Texas law to finance, construct, own, operate and maintain all the facilities necessary to supply water and to provide wastewater treatment for the District’s customers. In addition to providing water, sewer and drainage services, MUDs may also choose to provide certain community services like supplemental security patrols, trash collection, and fire service. The law also allows MUDs to enhance their communities by funding parks and recreational facilities.

Who regulates MUD operations?

MUD18 delivers quality drinking water and sewer services under the supervision of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ, 512-239-1000). This state regulatory agency is responsible for protecting our state’s natural resources consistent with sustainable economic development, the goals of clean air, clean water, and the safe management of waste. TCEQ issues a wide range of operations permits, accomplishes key research, enforces water quality standards and aggressively promotes water conservation.

At the national level, the Environmental Protection Agency has jurisdiction over water utilities. It is charged with issuing and enforcing federal clean water and safe drinking water laws. In this role it supports for municipal wastewater treatment plants, and pollution prevention efforts aimed at protecting watersheds and sources of drinking water.

NHCRWA Rate Increase

Effective April 1, 2019, the North Harris County Regional Water Authority (“NHCRWA”) has increased the surface water fee from $3.85 per 1,000 gallons to $4.30 per 1,000 gallons.

For additional information, the NHCRWA holds a public meeting the first Monday of the month, the address is on their website, and the phone number is 281-440-3924.

Notes to New Residents

When you move into one of the neighborhoods in our District, you’ll note our water bill often contains suggestions on how you can realize direct savings by using water more effectively. Our common sense suggestions cover 5 main areas of household water use: the Kitchen, Clothes Washing, Bathrooms, Swimming Pools and Landscaping.

Conservation is especially important during hot weather because of increased water use. Outdoor irrigation uses significantly more water during peak daytime hours than household water. And, about 50 percent of the water used on lawns and gardens during the summer can be wasted due to overwatering, irrigation leaks or running during or immediately after rain showers. Please familiarize yourself with your irrigation controls, or have your yard service inspect and repair them seasonally.