Water loss reductions continued in September

Another update on the progress which our water company manager and Corix Utilities have made in reducing the amount of water lost in September compared to water lost in September of last year.

Look for more information on water conservation and water process expansion projects in future posts. Every opportunity is being looked at closely so that our system can keep pace with new demand from 46 new homes/taps in the last few years.

With regard to the benefits of reducing loss, utilities produce water using chemicals, processes, and pumping equipment. So any leaks that take processed water out of the system before reaching paying customers’ homes cause real financial loss to the water company.

As mentioned in my last post on this topic, KXAN has done stories on water loss at the city of Austin’s water company due to their aging pipes and valves. They lost 6.1 billion gallons in 2018 costing Austin’s utility $2.37 million. https://www.kxan.com/investigations/austins-losing-more-water-through-leaks/ Our system is aging as well and we occassionaly have valves that fail or tree roots that break pipes.

Congratulations to our water manager and Corix operators for greatly reducing our losses in September.

NextDoor post misstates rate case particulars

More cleanup work here regarding what you may have seen on NextDoor.

The water company lawyers recently asked a judge to “abate” the ratecase to a time when judgements on a previously filed case against the company are final.

The word “Abate” does not mean “dismissed,” which is how the poster on NextDoor interpreted it.

“Halted” or “postponed” might be better synonyms in the context of the water company’s actual request. You be the judge. The water company pleading said: “WOWSC respectfully requests that the Honorable ALJ issue an order granting this motion and abating this proceeding and the procedural schedule set forth in SOAH Order No. 2 until all pending related litigation is final and no longer appealable.” (emphasis added)

Such abatement to a future date would have saved the corporation and our ratepayers money, by deferring the lawyers’ rate case fees to a future date. By opposing this postponement, the ratepayer reps are adding to the company’s legal bills in the near term.

The following link provides the water company’s motion for abatement. It also provides an informative history of the multiple lawsuits which a small group of people have lodged against the water company over the years.


The same poster on NextDoor then asked a rhetorical question, “Why would WOWSC try to halt mediation.”

A mediation had already been set for early October. It had to be postponed due to the need for rulings on these matters, particularly with regard to disclosure of lawyer invoices.

The administrative law judge did not rule against the water company in the matter of disclosure of the invoices which contain attorney-client privileged content. The Texas attorney general’s office agrees that these invoices are privileged.

The Administrative Law Judge in the rate case hopes that a future mediation can bridge the two parties’ concerns. Another mediation is being scheduled.

For reference, here is what the NextDoor post said, in part:

“WOWSC tried to get the rate case abated (dismissed). Late yesterday the PUC judge ruled the case must go to mediation. 1) Why would WOWSC try to halt mediation?”

Another Fiction — $600 bill due to rate increase

Last week another water company hater took a swipe, contending her $600 water bill was due to the rate increase enacted by the Board earlier this year.

$600 indicates that a lot of water was used, but the rate for water consumed did not increase.

Instead, the monthly increase was about $70 and was made to the “Monthly Base Rate.”

The monthly base rate is the amount we all pay regardless of whether we even turn on the water in a given month. The monthly base rate is $156.80. You can view all the rate information here.

As the Board discussed in February, the extra $70 per month adds about $16,000 to the amount of income the water company receives, and was needed for the reasons explained here. A few excerpts:

The amount of increase was determined after analysis performed in consultation with Texas Rural Water Association (TRWA) staff of the WSC’s 2019 operating expenses, which included $169,000 in legal fees, and of the FY2020 budget for WOWSC.

The analysis considered all expenses, specifically taking into account unprecedented legal expenses facing WOWSC. These historically high legal fees have been and will be incurred in large part due to two lawsuits brought against WOWSC by TOMA Integrity, Inc., and by Rene Ffrench, John Richard Dial, and Stuart Bruce Sorgen.

FAQs regarding WOWSC 2020 Rate Increase

We hope the person who had the $600 water bill will find a plumber to see whether they have a leak somewhere. Even a running toilet, with worn-out flapper gasket, can add hundreds of gallons to your usage. Other common water losses are caused by broken pipes due to shifting ground.