GULF COAST WATER AUTHORITY
Gulf Coast Water Authority (GCWA) provides water for industry, agriculture and municipalities in Brazoria,
Fort Bend and Galveston counties. This includes more than 185,000 customers just in Galveston County.
You can trace the beginnings of the Gulf Coast
Water Authority back to 1908 with the creation of the
Cane and Rice Belt Irrigation Company and
construction of a pump station on the Brazos River.
In the early 1930s, additional pump stations and
relift stations on the system were added as well as
extensions to the canal system, eventually running
through Brazoria County and reaching into
Galveston County. The Briscoe Irrigation System,
consisting of an additional pump station on the
Brazos and more canals, was established in 1940.
The Brazos River Authority purchased these two systems in 1966 and 1967.
In 1988, GCWA bought the Canal Division from the BRA. This allowed the GCWA to provide water supply
for industry, irrigation, and municipal use in what had expanded to its current three-county area. Then in
2006, GCWA purchased the Chocolate Bayou Water Company, also known as the Juliff Canal System,
which included another pump station on the Brazos River as well as pump stations on three bayous in
Brazoria County, Chocolate, Mustang and Halls.
GCWA’s Administrative Office is located in Texas City.
The GCWA Canal Division operates out of its Alvin office. The division operates the American, Briscoe
and Juliff canal systems. This includes about 400 miles of main-line canals and laterals, and about
400,000 acre-feet of water rights. Roughly 18,000 acres of commercial and hybrid seed rice are irrigated
annually in Brazoria and Galveston counties as well as at a rice research facility which provides worldwide
technology for the rice industry. Industrial customers served by the Canal Division include Ineos and
Ascend Performance Materials. Municipal customers served include the cities of Sugar Land, Pearland
and Missouri City, as well as Fort Bend WCID #2 and Pecan Grove MUD.
GCWA owns and operates the Thomas S. Mackey Water
Treatment Plant in Texas City. This 50 million gallon-per-day
conventional surface water plant serves13 water utilities in
Galveston County. The plant was built by Texas City in 1978
and acquired by the GCWA in 1983. Its customers include
Texas City, La Marque, Galveston, Hitchcock, League City,
GCWCID #1, GCWCID #8, GCWCID #12, GCFWD #6,
GCMUD 12, Bacliff MUD, Bayview MUD and San Leon
Through acquisitions and exchanges, the Industrial Division in Texas City was acquired by GCWA in
1971. The division operates a 900 acre off-channel reservoir, a canal system and a pump station
delivering an average of 60 million gallons of surface water per day to Texas City industries. These
industries include DOW/UCC, Marathon Galveston Bay Refinery, Marathon Petroleum, Valero, Eastman
Chemical and Ashland.
To learn more about GCWA, please click here.