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Posted October 20th, 2021

What is a FWSD?


Fresh Water Supply Districts, or FWSDs, are political subdivisions of the State of Texas, overseen by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). They are formed as the primary tool for financing the construction and maintenance of water, sewer, and storm drainage infrastructure within their boundaries. These are also often referred to as Special Purpose Districts.

Water has always played a vital role in the development of Texas and as early as 1904, the Texas Legislature recognized the need for the creation of Special Purpose Districts to better manage the availability of water, especially for its inhabitants, crops, and livestock. These early Districts primarily addressed rural agricultural issues. Later, they expanded and began providing water services to small communities. Substantial growth of metropolitan areas during the 1950s and 1960s brought about the need for more advanced water, sewer, and drainage infrastructure that cities were financially unprepared to handle. The Texas Legislature responded by passing new legislation granting the Special Purpose Districts the authority to finance utility infrastructure and support the needs of the growing population.

Fresh Water Supply Districts (FWSDs) have been in existence in Texas since 1919. They were first created by the Texas Legislature in the 1917 Conservation Amendment. In 1971, Texas Legislature adopted Chapter 53 of the Texas Water Code, further defining Fresh Water Supply District’s roles and powers. In 1995, Chapter 49 was added to the Code, which further standardized the administrative provisions of FWSDs to include qualifications, restrictions for their operations, and requirements for their Boards of Directors and Consultants.

Today, Special Purpose Districts are the primary tool used in Texas to finance and construct utilities and infrastructure for new development. A Fresh Water Supply District may provide a broad range of services and improvements such as water supply and conservation, drainage, solid waste collection and disposal, firefighting, neighborhood security, roads, recreational facilities, and more.