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Project ID: 2004TX151B

Title: Assessment of Four Economic and Managerial Models for Operation of Public Water Systems in Texas

Project Type: Research

Focus Categories: Management and Planning, Law, Institutions, and Policy, Treatment

Keywords: Rural water systems, drinking water, privatization of water utilities, water treatment and distribution

Start Date: 03/01/2004

End Date: 02/28/2005

Federal Funds: $5,000

Non-Federal Matching Funds: $12,300

Congressional District: 19th

Principal Investigators:
Greg Landreth
University of Texas at Austin

David J. Eaton


This study will attempt to compare various aspects of the performance of four distinct types of water utilities now commonly used throughout Texas to serve small communities—private for-profit systems, non-profit systems, municipal utilities, and special purpose water districts. The project will focus on seeking to understand the complex reasons that drinking water supplied by the private sector seems to be much more expensive than drinking water provided by non-profit water supply corporations and other entities.

To develop these comparisons, the project will apply four methods in parallel—examining economic theory, investigating performance, comparing the amount and nature of violations of drinking water standards by utilizing data from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Texas Department of Health, and convening a series of focus groups, where managers of each of these systems will provide feedback and discuss key issues.

The project will seek to develop extensive data on several of the costs facing mangers of each of these systems, including expenses related to acquiring raw water, treatment, distribution, wastewater collection and treatment, personnel, and investments in capital improvements. In addition, data will be gathered and analyzed about the extent to which utilities in each of these four classes have programs in place to comply with new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations for disinfection byproducts.

Results of this project are expected to provide valuable insights into the state of rural water systems throughout Texas, and will help identify the priority concerns facing customers of small water utilities.

Progress/Completion Report PDF

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Maintained by: John Schefter
Last Updated: Wednesday July 13, 2005 5:28 PM
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