Service Boundary Editor
The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) has developed a statewide public water system service area mapping application called the Texas Water Service Boundary Viewer (Viewer) through a grant from the U.S. Geologic Survey (USGS) Water Availability and Use Science Program. While several water system mapping applications exist in the state, they do not necessarily represent the actual retail water service areas or include all the public water systems (PWS) within the state. This mapping application strives to collect and provide the most up-to-date and best data available on the water service areas for all community PWS within Texas.
Partnering with the Water User Survey program each year, water systems are asked to update or verify their service boundaries to reflect the current retail water service areas using the Viewer application. The data collected within the Viewer application is specifically used in the regional and state water planning process. The Viewer application for editors is accessible through the Water Use Survey and only for qualified personnel with access to the survey. Chrome is the preferred browser.
The application will also be available to the public to view the water service boundaries and related reports including historical water use and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality public water system information.
For more information, please read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) below for general users as well as editors of the Viewer application. For more information on how to edit boundaries, please also read or review the instructions and tutorials provided in in the User Guide.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why was the Viewer developed?
- How is TWDB intending to use these maps? Will they be used for the regional water planning process?
- Where does the draft boundary data come from?
- Who is responsible for developing and maintaining this tool?
- How often will boundaries be updated?
- Why are there missing boundaries?
- Why do some water system boundaries appear to overlap?
- What does water service boundary mean?
- Why is my water system boundary incorrect?
- Is the information I am providing a security concern?
- My boundary is correct, do I need to do anything?
- Who can register to edit boundaries? And what is the registration process?
- There is not a boundary for my PWS to be verified in the application. What do I do?
- Can I submit my boundary if it has an overlap warning?
- Who do I contact if I have any questions?
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
1) Why was the Viewer developed?
The Viewer mapping application was developed by the TWDB to facilitate the collection of digital maps for retail water service areas of all community PWSs in the state of Texas. There is currently no complete map of the 4,000+ PWS in the state, and the collection of this essential information is not required by the state. Without this resource, it can be challenging to answer basic questions about public water supply. This map can aid in answering questions such as, which PWS supplies water to a specific address or which populations are served by a PWS.
Through this mapping tool and cooperation from authorized PWS contacts, they can update and verify the service area boundaries for their water systems throughout the state. This cooperation will make it possible to develop a high-resolution digital map of the most up-to-date PWS service area boundaries.
The Viewer application was funded through a grant from the U.S. Geologic Survey (USGS) Water Availability and Use Science Program under Cooperative Agreement No. G17AC00016
2) How is TWDB intending to use these maps? Will they be used for the regional water planning process?
The primary purposes of this application are:
- To collect accurate retail water service boundaries to better estimate and project population for utilities for the regional water planning process. This boundary viewer will also help in estimating rural population not served by any PWS (and solely relying on private wells).
- To develop a GIS database and reporting tool to improve the delivery of water data and PWS information collected by the State to the public as part of the Texas Water Use Data Workplan funded by the USGS, which recommended priorities for the state’s water use data improvement.
- The TWDB will be continually working to update, enhance, and associate relevant public water system information to the geographic boundaries.
3) Where does the draft boundary data come from?
The boundaries that preceded the Viewer were developed through a research grant for the TWDB in 2009. This layer was created using a conglomerate of data sources, including governmental and self-reported boundaries. The Viewer application provides authorized water system personnel a starting point to verify or update boundaries for their retail water service areas. The last update date represents when the last time the boundary was submitted by the water system or reviewed by state representatives through the Viewer.
4) Who is responsible for developing and maintaining this tool?
The Water Use, Projections, & Planning Division at the TWDB is responsible for collecting and maintaining the boundary data in the Viewer application.
5) How often will boundaries be updated?
Public water systems will be asked to update boundaries annually in partnership with TWDB’s annual Water Use Survey program. The application will be open from January through July every year with the survey cycle. During that time, any boundary changes made by authorized PWS personnel will be updated to the application for the public to view after it is reviewed by TWDB staff for known inaccuracies. Once the boundary editing period is closed, no changes will be made until the following year. Each system’s boundary will display the last updated (or PWS verified) date.
6) Why are there missing boundaries?
The Viewer application does not initially have draft boundaries for all PWS within the state. While the best effort was made to include a boundary for every system, some did not have enough information available to develop an initial boundary for each PWS personnel to review. An authorized PWS personnel will be contacted to add a boundary during the editing period (January-July).
7) Why do some water system boundaries appear to overlap?
While service areas should never overlap (i.e. only one utility can be serving each connection) some boundaries initially developed do overlap, even though an effort has been made to remove any user errors in overlapped boundaries. Authorized PWS personnel will have an opportunity to review and verify any overlapped boundary areas through this application.
8) What does water service boundary mean?
For the purpose of this application the definition of a water service boundary is a boundary that includes all areas where the retail customers are currently served by the PWS, including residential, commercial, institutional and industrial customers with retail connections with your system. Please note that the current service boundary might cover smaller areas than your CCN boundary. Please see the questions below for further explanation on water service boundary definition:
- How should users handle projected service areas they plan to serve in the future?
Areas that your system does not currently serve at the time of verifying or editing your service boundary through the application should not be included (those areas can be included in the next years’ boundaries once the system starts providing retail water service).
- Should we include any of our wholesale customers?
No. The intention of this application is to collect retail water service boundaries. For any public water systems that your PWS provides water on a wholesale basis, they will be asked to update their own retail water service boundary individually.
- Should we include areas where we currently provide wastewater service or hold a wastewater CCN for?
No. For the current application we are only concerned with retail drinking water customers not wastewater customers. Only retail water service areas should be included.
- Should we include any of our wholesale customers that could become retail in the future?
No, not until the wholesale water system customers are annexed or acquired by your water system and officially become retail water customers of your system.
- Should we include any of our emergency backup customers?
9) Why is my water system boundary incorrect?
While every effort is made to provide users with the accurate draft boundaries for editing, it is not always possible to do so. Therefore, you are asked to review and make necessary changes to the boundaries. Boundaries should be reviewed, edited, or resubmitted annually to reflect any change or no changes that have occurred.
10) Is the information I am providing a security concern?
The information you are providing to the Viewer is not a security concern. You are only reporting the geographical area that your water system serves customers. We are not collecting information on transmission, storage facilities, or any other sensitive geographical information.
11) My boundary is correct, do I need to do anything?
If the boundary on file is already correct, you will still need to submit the current boundary as is. This will allow the data to be represented as ‘reviewed by water system’ allowing the public, staff, and other state agencies to know this boundary has been verified by an authorized personnel of that public water system. Each boundary that is ‘reviewed by water system’ will also have the year it was last verified by the system.
12) Who can register to edit boundaries? And what is the registration process?
To be able to edit a service area boundary for your water system, you must first be a registered and authorized user associated with the water system through the online Water Use Survey. The direct link to the Viewer application is listed on the first page of the online water survey once you log in through the TWDB Application Program Management (APM) system. For more information on how to register for the online water use survey, visit: Online Water Use Survey webpage.
Once you are registered, we recommend you review the User Guide for getting started. This guide will explain the tools of the application, how to edit or draw a boundary and how to upload a shapefile. Besides reviewing the User Guide, maps or other relevant geographical information can aid in editing and drawing the boundaries.
13) There is not a boundary for my PWS to be verified in the application. What do I do?
If there is not a boundary for your PWS, the list of boundaries will display ‘no polygon’ in the status field. For those boundaries, once a PWS is selected, the viewer will zoom to the principal county served as recorded by the TCEQ. From there you will be able to zoom to your service area and upload a shapefile of your boundary or add your boundary by drawing it on the map.
For more information about how to create a new boundary for your water system please see the User Guide for detailed instructions.
14) Can I submit my boundary if it has an overlap warning?
If you are submitting a boundary with any overlaps, please include a comment explaining the nature of the overlap to aid in TWDB review. It is the goal of the Viewer to eliminate overlaps that are incorrect, and to aid in that effort, an overlap tool will locate and draw your attention to overlaps in boundaries.
Please see the User Guide for further information on the overlap tools and tips to remove overlaps.
15) Who do I contact if I have any questions?
If you have questions that are not addressed in this FAQ or the Help Guide, please contact us at WSBviewer@twdb.texas.gov or call 512-463-6867.