Accounting is a fundamental element of any business, whether it’s a multinational corporation, a mom-and-pop shop, or Fort Worth Water.
Water’s customer relations accounting services is a steward to Fort Worth residents. This team of four accountants and an accounting services supervisor work very hard to make sure bills are accurate and that every penny of revenue is properly accounted for.
The team is responsible for the accounting tasks and financial reporting of $600 million for the water/ wastewater, environmental protection, solid waste and stormwater funds.
“It is our responsibility to safeguard the City’s financial assets. This is done by establishing processes, procedures, quality internal controls and ensuring we are in compliance with the City’s financial guidelines.”
-Noreen Mitchell, Billing & Accounting Manager
Stewardship is a core value and is reflected in how we engage with our customers.
If the pandemic taught us one thing, it’s that the workforce is evolving and changing at a faster pace than ever imagined. Planning how the future workforce at Fort Worth Water will look took precedence in 2022.
In a challenging job market two years out from the start of the pandemic, a record 292 water employees were hired in 2022. Of the current staff, 44% have been with the Utility for five or fewer years.
Fort Worth Water focused on many workforce areas in 2022, including creating employee growth programs, leadership and management development, and using data and analytics to make workforce management decisions.
The data will provide a better understanding of who our employees are and where they are in the employee lifecycle, making it easier to develop programs that meet employee and Utility needs.
“We’ve experienced unprecedented increases in retirements and turnover.”
-Shane Zondor, Workforce Initiatives Manager
"Having real-time access to this data allows us to stay on the leading edge of workforce trends,” Zondor said. During the year, the Utility focused on expanding career ladders for promotion and recognition of expertise gained, as well as providing opportunities for employees to grow and develop into positions outside of their current role.
Incentive programs were also enhanced for some divisions.
In addition, because of anticipated retirements, the Utility instituted a system to capture deep institutional knowledge and improved succession planning.
The one-two punch of major winter storms in 2021 and 2022 have brought about changes and improvements to the Utility’s efforts in maintaining service and communications with our customers during storms, power outages and other disasters.
In 2022, the Utility fulfilled a requirement to file an emergency preparedness plan with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The plan spells out how we will provide water during extended power outages, as well as infrastructure replacement or upgrades needed.
Work continues to enclose the open air, high service pump stations at the Eagle Mountain and Westside water treatment plants. Emergency electric generators for the Westside plant and emergency power plans at the North Holly and South Holly plants are being completed.
Plans also include adding emergency generators at certain pump stations. Additionally, our call center capacity was increased to 250 phone lines to better handle calls during an emergency.
Water Supply and Conservation
Protecting the environment is an important part of protecting public health.
Fort Worth’s raw water provider, Tarrant Regional Water District, is contractually obligated to ensure Fort Worth has an adequate water supply.
We recognize our role to extend the life of existing supplies as a part of our obligation to protect the environment.
Fort Worth joins other TRWD customers in coordinating a drought plan and manages a strong
year-round conservation program. In 2006, the City Council enacted time-of-day watering restrictions to reduce water lost to evaporation. In 2014, the Council also limited outdoor watering to twice a week as a conservation measure in effect year-round.
And starting in 2018, Fort Worth Water outlined four pillars that play a key role in reducing water loss, including pressure management; speed and quality of repairs; active leakage control; and, pipeline and asset management.
Equity & Affordability
Water equity advances the idea that all people should have access to reliable water services at an affordable price. Affordability and equity were priority focus areas for the Utility in 2022.
Within the water industry, the standard definition of affordability has been based on the percentage of a household’s income that goes toward paying water bills.
Water costs that are 2.5% or less of median household income are considered affordable by the EPA.
Although the rates paid by Fort Worth Water customers are generally affordable, the Utility has
policies and assistance programs to help customers by offering payment assistance and conservation programs, including a 4-tier rate structure that encourages water conservation and provides a “lifeline rate” that is below our cost of service and benefiting customers that use water for only essential needs.