What is the NHCRWA?

The North Harris County Regional Water Authority (NHCRWA) is a wholesale water provider created by the Texas Legislature and approved by voters in 2000. Its primary mission was to manage compliance with regulatory groundwater reduction mandates. It is not a retail water provider like a Municipal Utility District (MUD), nor does it have any oversight of MUD operations (e.g., delivering water to homes and businesses, sewer services, retail billing, etc.).

The MUDs that supply our neighborhoods with drinking water have traditionally pumped groundwater from individual wells drilled into the aquifers below. Dramatically increasing population and decades of aggressive water usage have caused the aquifers to decline, resulting in land subsidence and causing increased flooding.

In 1975, the Texas Legislature created the Harris Galveston Subsidence District (HGSD) and gave it the power to restrict groundwater withdrawals as a method to minimize subsidence and to help give aquifers an opportunity to recharge. The HGSD began its efforts in the Baytown Pasadena area, which proved to be extremely successful, and later extended its phased groundwater regulation to include north and west Harris County in 2000.

Texas Legislature

Compliance with the HGSD’s mandated conversion from groundwater to surface water to mitigate subsidence is being accomplished in phases:

30% reduction of groundwater usage by 2010
60% reduction of groundwater usage by 2025
80% reduction of groundwater usage by 2035

The initial mandate was met in 2010, which reduced reliance on groundwater in the area by 30 percent.*

*Failure to meet these deadlines would trigger a HGSD (“Disincentive”) penalty of $11.86/1000 gallons pumped, which is significantly higher than the NHCRWA water pumpage Fee.

Did You Know?

Did You Know?

If Municipal Utility Districts in Harris-Galveston Subsidence Regulatory (HGSD) Area 3 DID NOT convert to surface water as mandated by the Texas Legislature, water users in those districts would be forced to pay the HGSD’s $11.86 per 1000 gallons disincentive fee instead of the NHCRWA’s $3.60 per 1000 gallons groundwater pumpage fees.


Groundwater $3.60 /1000 gallons
Surface Water $4.05/1,000 gallons


$11.86 /1000 gallons

Q. Where does our surface water come from?

For the past two decades, the NHCRWA has partnered with the City of Houston and other area water Authorities to deliver available water supplies to where they are needed most. This involves constructing new pipelines and more infrastructure to receive and deliver water treated at the Northeast Water Purification Plant (NEWPP) to the MUDs/water providers within the Authority’s boundaries.

Click here to see more detailed information about current and future water resources and construction projects.

Northeast Water Purification Plant Expansion Project

Q. How do we pay for converting to surface water?

The Texas Legislature did not give NHCRWA taxing authority when it was created. To generate sufficient revenue to cover debt service and pay operating and construction costs for the infrastructure already in the ground, the NHCRWA adds a usage charge for groundwater pumped by the utility districts and delivered to its customers, and for sales of surface water provided to the district.

The Authority has had numerous bond sales over the past 20 years to fund the 2010 distribution system and other construction and operating costs. As more bonds are sold to fund the 2025 conversion projects, the debt service will continue to rise.

The Authority has also had access to the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas. The NHCRWA has been one of the largest recipients of subsidized, multi-year funding through the SWIFT Program in the state! This will save the Authority’s rate payers millions of dollars in interest payments over the next 30 years.

Q. What is the NHCRWA Water Pumpage Fee on my bill?

NHCRWA does not bill any individual homeowner/customer for the water they use; that is the responsibility of the MUD – their retail water provider.

NHCRWA charges each MUD for the (metered) groundwater they pump from their well(s) and the surface water delivered to them by the Authority.


Rates effective 10-01-2023*

Groundwater – $3.60/1,000 gallons and
Surface Water – $4.05/1,000 gallons

Based on meter readings, the District in turn applies the NHCRWA water pumpage fee to their customers’ bills based on how much water the customer uses, so the amount may change monthly depending on your water use.

*Some utility districts modify the NHCRWA water pumpage fee charged to their customers to cover such things as leaks in their system, fire hydrant use, etc.  Which will make the NHCRWA fee on your water bill higher than what the Authority actually charges.

NHCRWA Charges each MUD for metered groundwater pumped
NHCRWA charges each MUD for the surface water delivered to the MUD by the NHCRWA
The MUD then applies the NHCRWA Water Usage Fee to their customers water bill
The more water you use, the higher your bill will be

Want to save money on your water bill?


  • May 1975

    HGSD Established

    HGSD established by the Texas Legislature
  • April 1999

    HGSD Regulatory Plan

    On April 14, 1999 the Harris-Galveston Subsidence District adopted a...
  • June 1999

    NHCRWA Created

    On June 18, 1999, George W. Bush, the Governor of...
  • 2000

    Voters Approve

    Voters confirmed the creation of the North Harris County Regional...
  • January 2000

    Original Board

    Voters approved NHCRWA’s original board members that were elected to...
  • June 2000

    Ed Shackelford GM

    General Manager June 2000 to January 2003
  • March 2001

    HB 1110

    Passage of H.B. 1110 – (1) Revised Authority boundaries by...
  • May 2001

    SB 2 & SB 1444

    Passage of SB2 and SB 1444: Provisions needed by the...
  • April 2001

    Chocolate Bayou

    Entered into Agreement with Chocolate Bayou
  • Oct 2001

    COH Talks Begin

    The City of Houston approached the Authority regarding an Agreement.
  • 2002

    COH Agreement

    The Authority signs agreement with the City of Houston
  • 2003


    Groundwater Transfer Program Established Districts with excess capacity sell water...
  • January 2003

    Jimmie Schindewolf GM

    General Manager January 2003 – December 2020
  • 2004


    Groundbreaking on first project
  • 2004


    Workshop with School Superintendents
  • 2006

    GTP Complete

    Groundwater Transfer Program Complete Authority makes up supply deficits. System...
  • April 2009

    Reuse Incentive Program

    NHCRWA adopts Reuse Incentive Program
  • 2010

    30 %

    Met the HGSD’s mandate to 30% conversion by January 2010
  • 2011


    Historic Drought hits Texas
  • July 2012
  • 2013

    Incentive Program

    Alternative Water Use Incentive Program
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • Aug 2017


    Hurricane Harvey was a devastating Category 4 hurricane that made...
  • Feb 2017

    LBITP Groundbreaking

    Groundbreaking of the Luce Bayou Interbasin Transfer Project (LBITP) was...
  • Sept 2017

    NEWPP Groundbreaking

    Groundbreaking of the Northeast Water Purification Plant Expansion Project was...
  • 2019


    Covid-19 Pandemic
  • Feb 2021


    An unprecedented winter freeze hits the Houston area with wide...
  • June 2021

    LBITP Complete

    A ribbon-cutting celebration was held on June 16, 2021 celebrating...
  • September 2022

    Pump stations named

    The Board adopted Resolutions Naming pump stations
  • December 5, 2022

    New board members sworn in

    State Representative Tom Oliverson swears in the NHCRWA Board of...
  • January 9, 2023

    Board votes to reduce water rates

    Board voted to reduce water rates for the first time...