A Texas Scorecard investigation has recently revealed that the Tarrant Regional Water District has drained taxpayers of at least $20,000.

Last month, Texas Scorecard learned that fifth-graders at Fort Worth-area Benbrook Elementary School received “WaterWise” conservation boxes. These boxes, with the logo of the TRWD emblazoned on them, contained items such as showerheads, faucets, rain/drip gauges, and digital thermometers.

Texas Scorecard filed an open records request with the TRWD to discover if taxpayers paid to give miscellaneous plumbing devices to kids, and learned not only the steep price tag but also that Benbrook Elementary was not the only participant. Records show that WaterWise kits were delivered to the following schools:

  • Snow Heights Elementary School in North Richland Hills
  • Bedford Heights Elementary School in Bedford
  • Della Icenhower Intermediate School in Arlington
  • Oaklawn Elementary School in Fort Worth
  • Oakhurst Elementary School in Fort Worth
  • Comanche Springs Elementary School in Fort Worth
  • Western Hills Elementary School in Fort Worth

The kits were ordered from Resource Action Programs, based in Nevada and described as a company that “designs, develops, and implements educational-based energy efficiency and water conservation programs.” Its WaterWise program is described as “a measure-based program that helps customers understand water use and the role conservation plays in reducing their monthly bills.”

For the kits, TRWD was invoiced a grand total of $21,217.60. In an age of skyrocketing property taxes, where many local governments across the state are taxing citizens out of their homes, TRWD is clearly not demonstrating wise stewardship of taxpayers’ money.

RAP also offers EnergyWise, LivingWise, and HomeWise programs, which all teach conservation in differing aspects of life. It is not yet known whether Metroplex taxpayers are also paying for participation in any of these programs.

This is only the latest of TRWD’s long history of draining taxpayers’ money for projects that have nothing to do with its primary duty—flood control.

Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.