IntroductionThrough regulatory mandates, the Fort Bend Subsidence District (FBSD) requires the City of Sugar Land and other groundwater users in Fort Bend County to reduce groundwater withdrawals and convert to an alternative water supply. Sugar Land is now using surface water sources in addition to the groundwater that prior to 2013 was our primary drinking water source.
The FBSD was created in 1989 to address land subsidence that contributes to increased flooding and regulate groundwater withdrawals that contributes to land subsidence. The FBSD 2003 Regulatory Plan divides the County into three regulatory areas, each with a schedule for conversion to an alternative water supply. The City of Sugar Land lies in Regulatory Area A, which requires a conversion from groundwater to alternative water sources on the following schedule:
Water DemandThe City’s total water demand must be supplied by:
- 30% non-groundwater sources by year 2014 *
- 60% non-groundwater sources by 2025
The City created and filed a Groundwater Reduction Plan (GRP) which lays out the City’s planned strategies for meeting the FBSD's conversion timeline. For the City to meet the FBSD regulatory mandate, it was determined that significant reductions in groundwater consumption could only be accomplished by conversion from groundwater to surface water sources.
It is our goal to meet the challenge to ensure the security of our water future while at the same time ensuring the continued low cost, best quality drinking water for our residents. As a regional leader in this process, the City partners with 18 other entities, our combined systems representing 74 wells in total. These entities include our extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) communities and select private well owners in the City and the ETJ.
Surface Water: The Future Is NowThe primary focus of Sugar Land’s GRP is the surface water treatment plant that is located near Gannoway Lake and draws its water supply from Oyster Creek. Construction of the 9 million gallon-a-day treatment plant began March 2011 and was completed in August 2013.
The plant was designed to ensure that treatment minimizes any differences in taste and odor between surface water and ground water sources by employing state of the art water treatment technology and implementing a multiple barrier approach to ensure our residents continually receive safe and superior quality drinking water. The City has also initiated several raw water projects that will help reduce the costs of our conversion process. These projects supply untreated surface water for lake filling and irrigation and contribute to an average two million gallon a day reduction in groundwater withdrawals.