The Authority is a government entity created by the state legislature under Article 16, Section 59 of the Texas state constitution. Its enabling statutes are codified in Chapter 8501 of the Special District and Local Laws Code. It is recognized as an independent governmental entity authorized to construct, maintain, and operate any and all works necessary for the purpose of controlling, storing, and preserving water resources in the 17-county jurisdiction in the Neches River Basin.


The Authority receives no tax revenues from the state, nor can it levy any taxes. Revenues are derived solely from services provided to its wholesale and retail customers. It is authorized to issue revenue bonds for the purpose of financing projects to be paid by its customers through contracts that obligate the customer to pay its share of the debt obligation, or through retail rates for goods and services.


The Authority is governed by a nine-member Board of Directors, appointed by the Governor of Texas, to serve six-year terms. Traditionally, the Directors are residents of the Neches River basin and one third of the Board is appointed every two years. Directors serve until reappointed or replaced. Board Members serve in an interim capacity until they confirmed by the Texas Senate. The Board sets policy, provides oversight, establishes rates and fees, and employs a General Manager.


The Authority’s major functions are water quality protection, water quality management, water resource development, and conservation of water resources. The Authority administers several water quality related environmental programs including the Middle and Upper Neches basin surface water quality monitoring programs, On-Site Sewage Facility licensing program, industrial pre-treatment program, and a NELAP accredited laboratory testing facility. In addition, the Authority provides wholesale and retail water and sewer services.


The Authority’s Central Office is located in Lufkin, Texas. The Authority’s territorial jurisdiction consists of 8,500 square miles that lie wholly or in part of the following counties: Van Zandt, Smith, Henderson, Newton, Cherokee, Anderson, Rusk, Houston, Nacogdoches, San Augustine, Shelby, Angelina, Trinity, Sabine, Polk, Jasper, and Orange.