Texas Rural Water Rate Hikes Draw Scrutiny

Some Texans in rural areas face huge rate increases from private water providers, and they are hoping the Legislature will do something about it.

At a hearing Wednesday in Austin, lawmakers on the Senate Natural Resources Committee heard testimony from regulators, water companies and ratepayer groups about proposed changes to address the problem. David Burghard, a Hays County resident, told the committee that his water rates rose more than 200 percent in February.

“I do have a concern that the rates — prices — will have no limits,” he said.

In big cities, local water utilities generally operate water infrastructure and billing ...

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