The Drainage Utility was created by the Waco City Council in November of 2020 to manage the City’s drainage infrastructure, address water quality and environmental issues, manage floodplains.
The City of Waco’s drainage system is a valuable asset, worth more than $750 million. It is also aging, portions of which are more than 100 years old. The system requires on-going maintenance, repair and replacement. Not to mention upgrades in areas of the City where localized flooding is a problem. In the past, these needs competed for funding with other functions of the City funded by the General Fund (parks, police, roads, library, etc.). Repairs were often delayed until they became emergencies, and emergency repairs are often more costly than planned repairs. The Drainage Utility and associated Drainage Fee creates a dedicated fund to properly maintain this valuable asset with customers contributing based on the amount of runoff they generate. This will help City staff better plan and fund the more than $100,000,000 in needs that have already been identified.
In addition, The Clean Water Act requires cities to develop and implement a plan to reduce stormwater pollution. To comply with this requirement, the City has a permit for the Municipal Separate Stormwater System (MS4) from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The Drainage Utility is charged with monitoring activities associated with this permit and ensuring compliance.
The Drainage Utility is also responsible to reviewing and permitting development and construction in the floodplain.