Skip to content

OVER

100 Years

OF SERVICE

At the turn of the 20th century, Brownsville was lit by kerosene lamps while water was hauled in from the Rio Grande for all purposes. Community leaders knew that in order for Brownsville to prosper, they needed modern conveniences, including water and electric service. After being presented with a petition signed by 150 citizens, the City Council approved an election for a utility system in 1907. Local residents made their choice clear as they unanimously voted for the issuance of bonds to construct a local system that they would build, own, and manage themselves.

In this spirit, the utility system continued to develop and grow, gaining the attention of private companies that began to make offers for its purchase.

After several attempts from these larger companies to acquire the system, Brownsville’s City Commission authorized a charter amendment election proposing the creation of a public utilities board in 1960.

A heated debate quickly ensued between groups in favor of and against the charter amendment. In the end, Brownsville residents voted for the amendment and the Brownsville Public Utilities Board was created. This was yet another official declaration of customer wishes to control and manage their own local utility. Decisions are made by a local board and city commission instead of outside interests, such as private companies.

PLAY VIDEO

1848

Brownsville is founded. Residents depend on horse-drawn carts from the Rio Grande River to deliver water and kerosene lamps to light their homes.

1848-2_WaterCart_StreetScene
1900_JamesWells

1900

Brownsville citizens ask for an election to create a municipal system after a franchise awarded by the Brownsville City Council to John Maxcy fails to begin construction.

1907

Brownsville citizens approve a $70,000 bond issue to build a water-works and an electric
light plant.

1907(2)_ThreeMen
1907-1910(1)_FourMenPerfumary

1908

Brownsville builds an electric and water utility. The first electric light plant cost $11,000. Brownsville’s first 16 street lights are not lit during the full moon to save money.

1910

Brownsville builds new water filtration plant.

1931

Brownsville builds a new water filtration plant at the cost of $152,000. It can supply 4 million
gallons of water daily and is called "one of the best in the state."

1937

Brownsville puts Municipal
Electric Plant into operation.

1950

Brownsville constructs Water
Treatment Plant No. 2.

1907-1910(2)_ShamrockBar
1907(3)_Wagons

1960

Brownsville’s City Commission authorizes a charter amendment proposing the creation of a public utilities board; residents vote for the amendment, resulting in the creation of the Public Utilities Board (BPUB) of the City of Brownsville, Texas.

1960(2)_5MenDesk

1970

BPUB expands Water Treatment Plant No. 1 to match Brownsville residential and industrial expansion.

1976

BPUB completes Southside Wastewater Treatment Plant improvements to treat 10,000 gallons of wastewater.

1980

BPUB builds Robindale (North Plant) Wastewater Treatment Plant to treat 5 million gallons a day.

1983

BPUB creates a Public Utilities Board Consumer Advisory Panel (PUBCAP) to create a communications channel for its customers. The panel soon became a model for other electrical utilities’ consumer advisory boards.

BPUB_Timeline_Display_69-5x45_PROOF
1970-1990_Plant

1986

BPUB acquires 18% share of Oklaunion Power Plant near Vernon, Texas.

1992

BPUB constructs a 36-inch raw water pipeline from the Rio Grande to BPUB Water Treatment Plant No. 2. Resaca de la Guerra waterway is no longer needed to carry raw water to the treatment plant.

1999

BPUB buys 21% of the natural gas-powered
Hidalgo Energy Center in Edinburg, Texas.

2000

The Brownsville Public Utilities Board rebrands itself with the introduction of a new logo.

hidaldo
srwa

2004

BPUB begins Southmost Regional Water Authority (Brackish Groundwater) Desalination Water Treatment Plant operations.

2009

BPUB uses a $46 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus grant to upgrade much of the city’s wastewater infrastructure.

2014

BPUB renovates and expands Robindale Wastewater Treatment Plant to increase treatment capacity to 14.5 million gallons daily. It is the first design-build plant in Texas.

2009
2015

2015

BPUB enters a purchase agreement with Sendero Wind Farm in Hebbronville, Texas to bring 78 megawatts of electricity to Brownsville residents.

Font Resize
Contrast