North Fort Bend Water Authority Program Management

Client: North Fort Bend Water Authority
County: Fort Bend County
State: Texas
Services: Construction Management, Environmental Services, Public Works, Surveying, Technology Solutions

Since 2005, BGE has served as North Fort Bend Water Authority’s (NFBWA) Program Manager, helping to achieve its short- and long-term goals. Encompassing 141 square miles, the NFBWA includes significant rural and undeveloped areas but is rapidly being developed. Its assets include more than 50 miles of water transmission pipelines as well as a 40 million gallon per day (MGD) pump station. NFBWA has secured a total of $889 million in SWIFT funding and a total of $10 million in CWSRF funding through the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) and sold open market bonds. With an annual budget between $2 to $3 million, BGE has provided general engineering services, water conservation and reuse management, communications and public outreach services, and the oversight or execution of several major projects, including:

Groundwater to Surface Water Conversion – BGE’s initial task was developing the NFBWA’s Groundwater Reduction Plan (GRP) to meet alternative water conversion requirements mandated by the Fort Bend Subsidence District. These requirements included a conversion of 30 percent of total usage by 2014 and 60 percent by 2025. BGE identified and assisted in the procurement of water rights from the City of Houston, planning, design and construction of the initial system to meet the 2014 requirements, and ongoing planning, design, and construction to expand the NFBWA’s system to meet 2025 requirements including coordination and involvement in several large-scale regional projects in which NFBWA participates: the Luce Bayou Interbasin Transfer Project, the expansion of the City of Houston’s Northeast Water Purification Plant, and the Surface Water Supply Project.

Water Transmission System – As Program Manager, BGE planned for the routing, property acquisition, design, and construction of the initial transmission system to start early delivery of surface water to 25 wholesale customers. Coordination with the City of Houston put an out-of-service water plant, near the future Bellaire Pump Station site, back into service with only minor upgrades. This allowed NFBWA to start pumping water and accumulating water credits two years ahead of the initial conversion requirement. BGE planned and is implementing the design and construction of the 28-mile expansion of the transmission system to deliver surface water to an additional 12 wholesale customers.

Population and Water Demand Projections – Preparing the NFBWA system to provide 60 percent alternative water to a growing population requires projecting population, water supply, water demand, water conservation, and water rates several decades into the future. BGE created a customized water demand and population forecasting tool for the NFBWA that was featured at the regional Texas Water 2020 conference. The projection tool simplifies the often-complicated process of evaluating water demands, infrastructure needs, and construction schedules so the NFBWA is prepared for future conditions and can continue to meet its alternative water requirements. A summary graph visually communicates the impacts of changes to the NFBWA Board and consultants.

Bellaire Pump Station – The pump station was designed to deliver surface water from the City of Houston to MUDs and cities within NFBWA. BGE managed the overall design, including civil, structural, mechanical, electrical instrumentation and control, site development, building architectural design, landscape architecture, geotechnical engineering, surveying, and environmental services. BGE conducted thorough internal quality control and peer reviews of the pump station design and provided construction management services. Now BGE assists the NFBWA operator in ongoing operation and maintenance. BGE will manage the future expansion of the pump station to serve more of NFBWA as well as portions of West Harris County Regional Water Authority.

48-Inch Water Transmission Line (Segment 0) – BGE designed 9,000 linear feet of 48-inch water transmission main. The project is a critical segment of NFBWA’s overall system that conveys surface water from a City of Houston pipeline to the Bellaire Pump Station. This project is part of a conversion program to extend surface water into the NFBWA’s service area. The project involved a survey, geotechnical investigation, design drawings, specifications, bid documents, and cost estimates, as well as construction management.

Conservation and Reuse – NFBWA is consistently recognized as a leader in the region for two of its core missions: conservation and education. As Program Manager, BGE has developed and successfully implemented innovative conservation and educational programs for NFBWA. BGE conceptualized the Larry’s Water Conservation Toolbox Program (“Larry’s Toolbox”). Larry’s Toolbox involves core water conservation initiatives that Municipal Utility Districts (MUDs) and cities located within the NFBWA may complete to earn credits toward their water fee. The program has been widely successful with 52 entities enrolled. NFBWA actively promotes water reuse through financial incentives for MUDs and cities with water reclamation systems. By January 2021, over two billion gallons of reclaimed water had been used for irrigation and amenity lake fill within NFBWA. BGE is also developing an Integrated Water Management Plan for developing water providers within the NFBWA boundaries to further promote water reclamation and water conservation. NFBWA engages with all sectors of the public by providing educational lectures, lessons and activities through multiple venues.