BLUE MOUND — Minnie Wengert does not have a washing machine or a dishwasher. The 94-year-old conserves water by hand-washing dishes, using her shower sparingly and not watering the lawn.
Despite these efforts, she says, her monthly water bill averages about $125 for 5,000 gallons.
“I have had to cut back on everything just to pay for that water bill,” Wengert said.
In this small North Texas town, the water infrastructure and billing are owned by Monarch Utilities, a private corporation. Residents say this privatized structure, which is duplicated in a number of other rural communities around Texas, results in ...