Clean Water for All Texans



In 2020, millions of Texans still do not have safe, reliable drinking water at home – whether due to a lack of indoor plumbing or contaminated source water. That is why Texas Water Trade is partnering with the University of Texas – El Paso, Columbia University’s Water Center, and Antelope Water Management to design a nonprofit water service provider that can provide clean water to any Texas household. Our proposal for the Lone Star Prize can deploy thousands of onsite water treatment systems to close the clean water gap—bringing clean water to more than 100,000 Texans in a five-year period.


The Solution
We have designed a clean water service provider that can deploy onsite water treatment technologies to households at an affordable price using a subscription payment system. Water services are traditionally delivered by centralized water systems that are expensive to build, maintain, and update. Using onsite water technologies validated to remove heavy metals, carcinogens, emerging contaminants of concern and pathogens can be a more affordable, targeted, and scalable approach to ensuring that all Texans have water that is safe to drink.


Target Communities

Community 3: Hays County
Tens of thousands of households in this relatively wealthy, rapidly growing county rely on private wells for drinking water. These wells are vulnerable to wastewater contamination.
Community 2: DFW Metroplex
Lead service lines in older metropolitan areas can pose serious health risks. Utilities like those in the Metroplex face significant regulatory and financial burdens to replace these lines under proposed revisions to federal drinking water rules.
Community 1: El Paso Colonias
Colonias across Texas lack connections to centralized water systems. This forces residents to purchase hauled or bottled water at high prices.

If selected for the Lone Star Prize, we will launch a subscription service to meet drinking water needs in three communities: El Paso County, Hays County and the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. This service provider represents the next step in our team’s existing work to deliver clean water solutions to communities in Central and West Texas.

Our subscription model improves upon existing water service providers, which put the cost of buying and installing the system on the customer—costs that can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. With our model, we can install and maintain onsite water treatment with no upfront cost to the customer, recovering our costs through a monthly fee designed to beat what the lowest-income Texans pay today each month for bottled water.

Our solution also addresses the critical need for more skilled water labor in the Texas workforce. Over the five-year grant period, we will enable more than 50 individuals from these communities to receive training and certification as licensed operators and licensed plumbers—thereby building a workforce to install and maintain our onsite water systems.

Our model is scalable. With centralized management, a decentralized labor force and continual capital reinvestment from customer subscription payments, overtime our nonprofit service provider can bring clean water to any Texas household, no matter their income or zip code.

Project Partners

Texas Water Trade
Texas Water Trade is a nonprofit organization harnessing the power of markets and technological innovation to build a future of clean, flowing water for all Texans. We focus on two mechanisms: deploying voluntary water market transactions to benefit the environment, and advancing onsite water solutions that can enable new growth to increase Texas’ reliable water supply and empower households to secure clean drinking water.

University of Texas El Paso
The Center for Environmental Resource Management (CERM) is a university-wide research and outreach center established in 1990 at UTEP. CERM provides university-wide leadership in research and outreach that focuses on solutions to improve environmental conditions and sustainability in the border region and beyond. Priority areas include water resources management, water and wastewater treatment, and environmental health.

Columbia University Water Center
Columbia University’s Water Center aims to creatively tackle water challenges of a rapidly changing world where water and climate interact with food, energy, ecosystems and urbanization. Combining the rigor of scientific research with the impact of effective policy, they aim to design reliable, sustainable models of water management and development that can be implemented on local, regional and global levels.

Antelope Water Management
Antelope Water Management is a privately-held growth capital investor focused on sustainable water infrastructure and related services in Texas and New Mexico. Antelope partners with industries to deliver water infrastructure, treatment and sourcing services. Its water solutions are tailored to meet the evolving environmental and economic changes facing the water industries today.